Far From Home
2022 is an interesting and challenging year. I completed this year with one of the biggest decisions I ever made in my life so far: leaving my home country after multiple decades. Leaving my home, family, relatives is for a simple idea, to find a better place to live, not only for myself, but also for my own family.
Why I left is a long story, but the short version is that I was tired of dramas and unfairness, which led to deep feeling of insecurity. Mostly importantly, I was fed up with those stakeholders who don’t dare to care about it at all.
I made this decision several years ago, before the pandemic. Soon, the pandamic was the biggest blocker for me to move out. However, I nearly lost the opportunity to leave due to the economic downturn. Obviously, it is due to the end of the pandemic and the war which Russia started in Ukraine.
Bet on an Open and Fair Environment
The decision to leave was very personal. But I love to share my thoughts behind.
The most important motivation is the bet on an open and fair environment. I believe that the world is getting better and better, no matter where we live. However, if the starting point is very low, like a place with no rules of law, it is very hard to get better in the lifespan of a single person. There are too many examples in the history books.
To be a bit nerdy, I want to mention an analogy with concepts of Machine Learning: Local Maxima and Global Minima (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxima_and_minima). If a closed and unfair system happened to be better for a while, it may just be a local maximum. It is not a global minimum. It is not the best possible outcome. After these dramas happened in 2022, it is more difficult for me to believe that kind of system can reach a global maximum.
To be clear, this “global maxima” is not only related a single geographical location, or a company/orgnazation. But for public companies, it is super easy to look back using the data from stock markets.
If a system is not open and fair, it is very hard to improve. People would even get punished for trying to improve the system. It is a vicious circle. So, talents are wasted. The system is not optimized. It is not efficient. It is not sustainable. Big problems will happen. The right thing to do is to leave, voting with your feet, as soon as possible, to minimize the opportunity cost.
Be a 10x Friendmaker
To be honest, I will be in much worse situation if I am alone without any friends, from different backgrounds. We’re lucky to have a world connected with the internet, though there’re always somebodies who want to block it.
I am not a social person. But I believe socializing is a preciousness for whose who is facing computers or other machines all day long. Exchange of ideas, thoughts, and experiences is the best way to learn and grow. I am not a genius, but I am trying to be a 10x friendmaker. Some friends are considered as my “unofficial” mentors. I am very grateful for their help.
Doing Meaningful Work
Ideally, every person wants to do meaningful work. This can make us fulfilled. But usually the reality is drastatically different. We have to do some boring and meaningless work to pay the bills. I am not an exception.
With recent wave of layoffs from big tech companies, I started to think about “meaningful work” again. If I was unfortunately laid off, what would I do next? What abilities and skills I have?
Several years ago, Oracle laid off many people. There are posts on social media, from the interviewers of these laid-off people. I don’t know whether this is true: These interviewers were very surprized that these candidates do not have general skills they wanted. It does not make sense to judge others. But it is good to reflect on ourselves, for example, from some of these dimensions:
- Does our job create value for users or the society?
- Can our work be automated by machines, especially with the rise of Large Language Models?
- Does the task require creativity and innovation, which AI cannot achieve in a foreseeable future?
(to be continued soon in later updates of this post)