By John Sonmez February 2, 2013

Leaving the Safety of a Regular Job

My routine is pretty crazy.

I get up in the morning, make my strict bodybuilding diet breakfast, and get to work at my first job by around 8:00 AM.

I’ll take a few short breaks before lunch to cook usually some fish or chicken in order to fit in my 6 to 7 meals a day.  (I eat the same exact thing every single day.)

At lunch time I’ll either head to the gym or out on the road for a run.

Around 5:00 I’ll be done with my work for the day at TrackAbout, and take about a 2 hour break to eat dinner and spend some time with the family before heading back to my office to start recording.

Most nights I spend from 7:30ish till 11:00-12:00 planning course work, recording, or editing videos for my Pluralsight courses.

On weekends I usually spend one day finishing up whatever I didn’t get done during the week and writing a blog post.

I’ve been doing this for just about 2 years.

But, that is about to change.

Leaving TrackAbout

February 13th will be my last day working at one of the best companies I have ever worked for, TrackAbout.


It is really difficult to leave a company that is full of so many good people.  In the two and a half years I was at TrackAbout, I cannot recall one heated argument that I have ever been in with any person at that company.  I don’t even know of anyone else having a quarrel either.  That really says a lot about the values and temperance of the employees and owners of the company.

Here are some of the awesome things I liked about working for TrackAbout:

  • Completely remote development team.  Everyone works from home.
  • No bureaucracy!  One layer of management, developers report directly to our CTO.
  • Our CTO, Larry Silverman, is highly technical.  You can’t BS him!  He knows software development and is able to make good choices that are highly relevant to the work being done.  (No death marches, no mandates from on high.)
  • Autonomy.  As long as you are doing your job, how you do it is mostly up to you.  Even what we do to some extent is decided by our teams.
  • Respect.  In the whole time I was at TrackAbout, I never was pushed to lower an estimate or questioned about how I did my job.  TrackAbout empowers its employees by trusting them and believing they are competent.
  • Flexibility.  I always found that if I thought we were doing something the wrong way at TrackAbout, I could say why and how to make it better and things would actually change.
  • Developer free time.  Every 2 weeks we get 4 hours to work on whatever project we want.

I don’t intend to make this an advertisement, but they are hiring an entry level position.  (Web and Mobile .NET Developer – Entry Level – TELECOMMUTE)

So why am I leaving then?

You might be wondering if I enjoyed working at TrackAbout so much, why I would leave.

As I said, it was not an easy decision, but my true passion—the basis of this blog—has always been to make things that seem complicated simple.  I really enjoy being able to take a complex thing and break it down so anyone can understand it.

Pluralsight got $27.5 million in funding this year with the goal of expanding their course catalog by a large amount this year.

I realized that I needed to do everything I can to help with that goal, and that this kind of opportunity would not likely come again in my life.  For me, this represents an opportunity to independently support myself and to devote full time to doing the thing I am most passionate about, taking the complex and making it simple.

Come February 14th of this year, I’ll be devoting almost all my time to producing Pluralsight courses.

Stepping away from stability



I have to admit, it is a bit scary to not have a regular paycheck coming in.

I’ll be a completely independent author making a living off of the courses I produce.  Both exciting, and scary.

I’ve been used to getting that steady two week paycheck and having benefits provided for me, but now my fate is entirely in my own hands.

It is a step I know that I had to take, I just had not planned on taking it so soon.

Where to from here?

This year will primarily be focused on Pluralsight course development and possibly a small amount of consulting.

After that, the road is unwritten.  I’ll be keeping this blog going, and I definitely plan to have a redesign this year.

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."