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Where does the newborn go from here?

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August 15th will be my last day at Uber, after a little over five years and three teams. I could say much about my time at Uber, and perhaps in time I'll have vocabulary for it, but the last few years have been net-positive for me and have left me in a generously privileged position. I plan to take advantage of that a bit.

At the end of 2017, I left an organization that could most kindly be described as "struggling" and moved to Uber's Privacy Engineering team. Among other responsibilities, we're responsible for some aspects of the company's compliance with the EU's GDPR. I lead the design and development of our data portability tool's backend after years in the desert of "Next Quarter We'll Make Sure There's Some Automation Work for Your Team To Do." I finally got to build a complex piece of software largely from first principles. Our team grew and changed and morphed to something nearly unrecognizable but still fundamentally good. It lined up with my principles and my priorities. And so I'd been content to build a team that cared deeply about developing and raising the status of the data rights of our users.

Last year, my roommate and I moved to Seattle, largely unhappy in San Francisco and struggling with finances even as two software developers. My team wanted to build out a Seattle site after losing multiple candidates who were unwilling to relocate to San Francisco, and so we did that. We're still building a hell of a team. Please excuse the plug.

Seattle has been kind to me. By virtue of regressive tax policies, I got an 11% pay raise. By virtue of not being San Francisco, my rent was 40% of what it was. My coworkers leave work at reasonable times now. I can go out to the mountains. I can go to concerts. I can ride a bike and sit in the sun with a nice coffee. Largely the same things I could do in San Francisco, but I can afford it, and I have the mental energy to do it.

And so now here I am, with six or twelve months in front of me, no dependencies or dependents, and an energy and calmness I haven't felt in years. I've got some ideas of what to do with that, but it's fuzzy. I feel blessed to be able to do this and to be able to get here in my own fashion.

I plan to spend the next six to twelve months focusing on

What else should I do? It'll be a busy year off, but I think it'll be fun. Where should I get coffee and what books should I read? What should I do in a year?

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Ryan Rix is a privacy rights advocate and net-art wannabe. Reach them on the Fediverse as @rrix@cybre.space, twitter as @rrrrrrrix, via email to ryan@whatthefuck.computer or on Facebook or on Matrix as @rrix:whatthefuck.computer.