A New Chapter

As of last Thursday, I am no longer working at TeachStreet.com.

To make a long story short, they hired me to drive traffic to the site. For the first few months I did just that, and helped increase traffic by over 50%.  To do this, I reached out to influential bloggers to earn links, guest blog posts and include them in a growing community which we called the Featured Blogger Program. Generally speaking, more links meant more traffic…at least it did until Google drastically changed their algorithm on February the 24th.  After the update, TeachStreet was (unfairly, we think) hit hard, and much of what I had done in the past to help increase traffic simply wasn’t effective anymore.

Ever since then, I had found it very difficult to stay motivated.  I had brainstormed new and creative ways to earn links and tried many new projects–none of them seemed to work. As the months progressed, I became increasingly aware of how little my efforts were contributing to TeachStreet’s bottom line.  Although I hadn’t admitted it to myself, I knew that deep down my job would probably be gone.

Since I knew that it was just a matter of time, last Thursday’s news came to me as both bit of a shock and a bit of a relief. It wasn’t fun to tell everyone goodbye, but considering what I had learned about the industry and the connections I had made in my short time there, I was in a much better position to find a great job in the startup/tech world than I was before I had started at TeachStreet.

When I had come to TeachStreet last September, I was ready to take any job at a startup. In fact, I had only spent one week looking when the CEO, Dave Schappell, offered me a job.  I liked the company, I liked its mission, and I liked the people who worked there.  I signed on without hesitation, and found myself working there the next day.

If I were to make that same decision over again, I still would have taken the job. Since I hadn’t spent much time “shopping around,” however, it should have come as no surprise to me that the work I found myself doing wasn’t always the best match for what I considered to be my strengths and weaknesses.

Thankfully, this time around, I have plenty of savings and time to carefully consider my next move. I’ll be reading several career books and hope to share some of the best insights that I can extract from them on this blog. Finally, I’ll be going on a 10-day meditation retreat in the hopes that I can gain a bit more clarity about what is really meaningful for me and to make sure that my next career decision reflects that deeper level of self-knowledge.

It’s never fun to get the axe, but I do feel optimistic about my next step. I want to personally thank Dave and the TeachStreet team for the opportunity for all that I’ve learned as well as the opportunity to connect with the wonderful people in the Seattle Startup community. It has been a great ride, and I’m excited about this new chapter.

UPDATE: Looks like some friends of mine are sharing this blog post. I didn’t plan to apply to anything until after the retreat, but just in case here’s my Resume.

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  • Naysawn

    Sorry to hear Kenji but glad to hear that you’re looking to see the good in it. I think you’ve been wanting to explore other pastures for a while so I hope this will lead you in the direction you ultimately have been wanting to go.

  • Kenji

    Thanks Naysawn. I honestly do think this will be for the best 🙂

  • Let me know when you get back from your retreat. Are you thinking about staying in tech?

  • Kenji

    Sure! I get back on the 17th. I’d like to stay in tech because I’d like to learn more about the business and hopefully get goldhat off the ground.

  • I think your taking time with yourself is great. I remember when we first met at Hops and Chops and discussed meditation. I’m excited to see what happens next for you.

  • Kenji

    Thanks for the comment Eric. We should definitely get together when I come back!

  • Thanks for all you did to help us, Kenji — amazing results in a very short period of time. And, you learned/grew so much while with us — I look forward to seeing where you apply your energies next!

  • You will go far with your attitude so best of luck (not that you need it).

  • Kenji

    @Dave
    I had a great time at TeachStreet too. Also, I had no idea how much the experience was worth. I’m getting emails and recommendations right and left! I wasn’t really sure the day of, but apparently I really am in a better position than I was 9 months ago. Thanks for that.

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