Leaving academia for the private sector: Seven years later

Seven years ago, I was an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Missouri-Columbia. I had tenure, excellent students, and a solid research record. I loved to write and I loved teaching. But I started to feel that I’d regret it later if I didn’t make a major career move and try something different. So after a few years of preparation, I quit and took a job as a junior-level software engineer at a startup in Chicago.

At the time, my academic colleagues were split into two camps. The first camp was made up of people…