It was the end of 2017, and I had just experienced some burnout after my first year as an engineering manager at San Francisco financial technology company Plaid. The experience forced me to take some time away from work, head back to my hometown of Sydney, and ask some tough questions about my personal and professional life.
I spent 4 weeks in Australia, with days spent reconnecting with family and old friends, rediscovering my home city, reading, and taking time to rest and recharge. I didn’t entirely stop working, but what I did tackle was mostly creative, high-level exploration that was genuinely enjoyable and valuable.
When COVID-19 was announced to have spread in Wuhan, my partner Ella expressed her concerns about this new virus, we discussed the news briefly and, unheedingly, I moved onto thinking about other things.
The whole situation progressed pretty quickly — this was starting to hit China in a real way and when I spoke to my co-founder George on the phone, we both agreed this might hinder our efforts in the lab.
The next morning we delivered the message to the team:
Find out what items we require (or might soon require) from China.
When I graduated from my biochemistry degree the career choices were grim. Move overseas for a long shot at exciting work, or try my luck for one of the scarce and unexciting corporate graduate programs in life sciences around Australia.
Except, I didn’t go down either of those paths. I was lucky. One day, browsing the Sydney Uni job board in my final semester I spotted a strange sounding ad looking for ‘inventors’, my childhood dream job. I applied and ended up working as the second employee at a tiny startup in Alexandria.
Vow is unrestrained. We're the perfect company for switched-on individuals, wide eyed with ambition, who want work that contributes meaningfully, constantly inventing new ways to operate, or conceiving different applications.