A match burns next to others, some of which are also burned.

4/12/2022: Diary of a Burnout, Part V

To recap, I worked a lot of different jobs in a short amount of time (8 jobs in 8 years) in my early career. I start maturing and settling down a bit now. You can catch up here if you haven’t read the earlier posts: I (link), II (link), III (link), IV (link).


After being laid off from LLamasoft, I worked at Domino’s. It started as a contract-to-hire, and I converted to full-time. I stayed there for three-and-a-half years, which had been my longest (continuous) tenure up until that point. It was a good place to work. I started working on the point-of-sale (POS) system and finished up on a web-based menu management system (MMS). That transition led to a fundamental change in my career.

As I mentioned previously, I worked primarily on desktop applications before Domino’s. That continued to be the case on their POS. The MMS, however, was web-based. I joined because they needed someone familiar with the POS database to integrate the MMS and the POS. I built some services that ran in the store and communicated with the MMS through an enterprise service bus hosted in Domino’s data centers. The POS had a backend service running in the store that I interacted with and updated a little bit here and there. But this was the first time I got to own the solution.

Before I worked on the MMS, I took the Architect’s Master Class taught by Juval Lowy. I had no illusions, and still don’t, that I’m an architect. But it seemed like a natural thing to pursue. That class taught me some basics about designing backend services. My boss intended my term of service on the MMS to be short-lived. However, the team needed more people on the project and asked for me to stay on. Reminds me of the saying that luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Ironically, this project that led to a change in my career from a skillset standpoint also eventually led to my leaving Domino’s.

Upper management applied pressure to deliver the MMS faster. The team worked with an outside consultancy to jumpstart development because it was difficult to hire enough talent locally. The added pressure caused some friction between the consultants and Domino’s. Some of the consultants rolled off the project. This led to more work for everyone else. I started to feel burnt out.

My go-to strategy whenever I encountered bumps in the road before Domino’s was to cut and run. I didn’t want to do that again. My wife was really tired of it, and so was I. So I tried to stick it out. I eventually asked my boss to move me to a different project. He started working on that when an old friend contacted me.

Vinnie and I worked together at my very first job. He and I stayed in touch afterward, even after he moved to Washington and then Arizona. Vinnie worked for a startup and wanted to know if I would jump ship. Everything was running in the cloud and using a microservices architecture. Domino’s was very anti-cloud back then, much to my frustration. It seemed like a great change for my career, it was fully remote when that was still a somewhat unique perk, and I would work with Vinnie again.

I tendered my resignation to Domino’s, somewhat reluctantly, and worked at my first “real” startup. This totally ends with me becoming a millionaire overnight, right? Guess I’ll write about that some other time.


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