Why I Quit My Job As a Netflix Engineer Producing $450,000 a Year

  • Michael Lin joined Netflix in 2017 as a senior software program engineer. At first, he relished his part.
  • Right after two decades, Lin needed to go into product administration but found no crystal clear pipeline to stick to.
  • He missing inspiration and finally obtained his preemptive severance deal in May possibly 2021.

I began operating at


as a senior computer software engineer in 2017 just after leaving my occupation at Amazon. I was content to get a promotion and return household to the Bay Spot. 

At the time, I thought I would stay with Netflix without end. I designed $450,000 a calendar year, got absolutely free food stuff day by day, and experienced unlimited paid out time off. It was the Large Tech desire. 

When I left nearly 4 many years afterwards in May 2021, everyone thought I was outrageous. 

My moms and dads have been the very first to item. For them, my quitting was throwing absent their really hard operate of immigrating to the US.

My mentor was the next to item. He said I shouldn’t quit with out a further occupation lined up because I would overlook out on leveraging my large salary when negotiating my pay back at the next job. Their responses made me pause for all of a few days ahead of I spoke with my manager about leaving. 

Eight months afterwards, I am assured it was the suitable final decision.

When I started off performing at Netflix, I cherished it 

Operating at Netflix was like having compensated to work on scenario scientific tests you discover about in MBA courses. They manufactured the memos for just about every solution selection obtainable for all staff members to read through, and I acquired so substantially each day. 

About the next two a long time, the glow commenced to put on off. The tasks and conferences blended alongside one another, and they felt like smaller variants of every single other following a though. The engineering get the job done commenced to really feel like duplicate and paste.

Then COVID-19 happened. The business office shut down, and all my favored pieces of function — the socializing, the coworkers, the benefits — disappeared.

The only point left was the work by itself, and I did not get pleasure from the operate any more.

I required to have a even bigger result. For me, determining how to allocate engineering sources was additional appropriate to my occupation ambitions than the engineering work alone, and I preferred to transition into product administration to guide these efforts.

As a end result, I expended two a long time networking inside Netflix and applying for each individual product-manager part I could locate. 

None of my tries panned out, and I was nevertheless undertaking the identical position.

The issue was that Netflix didn’t have any procedures in spot to aid horizontal job improvements like this. I have never ever noticed an engineer successfully transition to product or service management at the company. 

Towards the conclude of my occupation search for the products-manager role, I misplaced enthusiasm and focus

Now that transitioning into the PM part was out of the concern, my superior income felt like an ever more terrible deal. When I started off at Netflix, I was building money and continuously understanding new points. Now, I was just creating revenue, with no vocation development.

My team’s objectives also started to diverge from my job ambitions. 

The team centered on an engineering migration, where we had to shift from a single on the internet procedure to one more, though my pursuits veered toward entrepreneurship. The function I was doing failed to support me study the business skills I required.

It started out to feel like I was repeating the same occupation error I’d built at Amazon — being in a occupation that wasn’t a wonderful fit extended than I should really have. 

My inspiration waned, and my effectiveness waned with it. 

I turned much less engaged in conferences, minimized doing function not suitable to solution management, and dragged my ft on interaction. My only enthusiasm at the finish was attempting to not get fired.

Sadly, my manager started to notice. In a heated efficiency overview in April 2021, he mentioned I essential to be more engaged in the team’s engineering migration and be extra communicative. In his phrases, I had to enhance in these areas “if I wished to continue to be on the crew.”

COVID-19 changed my outlook on work

I was working at a prestigious firm making a great living for myself. It’s challenging to give up a income — something tangible — for intangible matters like your youth and your time. But I couldn’t shake the know-how that several individuals experienced misplaced their lives all through the pandemic. 

I was placing off my dreams of starting to be an entrepreneur, and COVID-19 was a continuous reminder that I might not be right here tomorrow to pursue them.  

I was frightened that my tombstone would examine: “Listed here lies Michael. He used his lifestyle performing operate he never ever required to do. Relaxation in peace.”

The for a longer period I stayed at Netflix, the increased the likelihood the tombstone would be my fact. 

My time at Netflix was coming to an stop

I spent two months right after the performance evaluation contemplating about my next ways and determined to have a candid chat with my manager. In a a single-on-one meeting with him, I proposed that we go over a “preemptive severance offer.”

I explained to him: “My performance is declining due to the fact my determination is declining. My enthusiasm is not improving simply because the team’s plans diverge further from my career targets. What if we mentioned a preemptive severance bundle out of Netflix now somewhat than drag this on? That way Netflix saves cash, the workforce finds a far better in good shape faster, and I can go do what I want. A get-get for all people.”

After he discussed this with human resources, I experienced a ultimate conference where by Netflix agreed to preemptively terminate me, and I received my severance package.

Everyday living right after Netflix

I believed my lifetime would be in excess of right after leaving Netflix. I was fearful that I would have no social lifestyle, as it experienced earlier revolved all-around get the job done. 

But the reverse occurred. I have met more folks by starting up my own organization — other business people, writers, and creators.

I now really feel a deep calmness inside me, an unshakable belief that anything will be Alright, even if any long term achievement is not assured suitable now.

It can be been 8 months due to the fact I give up my task at Netflix, and I have made the decision to commit fully to doing the job for myself. Whilst I’m just setting up and will not have any dependable streams of money nonetheless, I’m going to believe in the method that if I do perform that energizes me, superior factors will come about.