I lost my job back in May in an office wide lay off. It was a shock that quickly changed and became the best thing to happen to me in 2019. It gave me 9 months of pure wide open time. I learned Flutter, I worked on Presently and built out a lot of new features, I traveled, I relaxed, I enjoyed a full Seattle summer. It was brilliant.

Funemployment in numbers

  • 34 books read
  • 20 Pramp interviews
  • 10 onsites
  • 1 Flutter training course
  • 200k+ installs of Presently
  • 27 flights
  • 7 days in Mexico solo
  • 4 new cacti + 2 new house plants (rewards to myself for doing hard things)
  • 91 days away from Seattle
  • 15 updates to Presently

But this time also allowed me to explore every potential job opportunity I was presented with. I interviewed with over 10 different companies across the country and of all different kinds. I wrote up a detailed report of what the interviews were like here.

To prep I did at least 2 hours a day of leetcode, firecode.io, interview cake, you name it. I did this for about a month. As I boosted my confidence in algorithms I started doing Pramp interviews. Pramp.com is a completely free service that pairs you up with another engineer studying for interviews. You’re each given a question to practice and then present as the interviewer to your partner. It was the closest thing I found to a real technical phone screen or onsite. It also opened my eyes to other engineer’s styles of interviewing and the knowledge I learned from these was so incredibly useful. In the end I did 20 different Pramp interviews.

For the Android side of interviews I did a few different things. I literally went through all of the developer guides from developers.android.com and took notes. I learned a lot of my gaps in understanding and felt like a much stronger Android dev because of it. I also built several toy apps to practice for onsite interviews. Most connected to a free API that returned a list of items with images that I would then present in a list. Interviewers expected me to be able to do this very quickly so it was essential to practice this many times.

Being unemployed wasn’t always easy. This process made me question my abilities and repeatedly put them to the test. But in the end I was able to experience some truly rare moments, spend time with the people I love, explore new things, and learn more than I could ever have imagined. I’m extremely grateful to my former employer for giving me this opportunity and for allowing me to explore “funemployment” freedom.