Leaving Coursera

teammate’s penguin with headphones plushie

I’ve departed Coursera after working there for the past 7+ years.

I am extremely thankful for all the personal and professional relationships I built with the people there. I will always cherish the memories, including the offsites, make-a-thons, ping pong, badminton, tennis, cricket and soccer we played during my time there. The informal and grad-school-like culture in my initial years at the company was the highlight of my time spent there.

I got to work towards a mission that I believe truly makes the world a better place.

So, why leave?

I would be lying if I said it was an easy decision. Change is hard, especially when you have been comfortable in your current life for the last 7 years.

It’s hard for me to pinpoint a single reason for leaving, but there were a few reasons that contributed to it.

  • I was no longer enjoying work and experiencing burnout. I felt like I needed to disconnect and take a break. I can’t point to a single reason, perhaps it was working from home, company culture changing with growth or just getting tired of the same-ness. Taking vacations didn’t really help.

  • I’d been thinking about what’s next in the background for quite a while and couldn’t really figure out exactly where or what I wanted to do next. I felt like I needed to give myself space to figure that out. Sometimes, you have to make a decision to move your thinking forward.

  • I wanted to move out of the bay area and San Francisco. Even though I like the people, the weather and the food, I want to live in a city where there is more diversity of people and conversations beyond tech, more things to do, more walkability and excellent public transport. I felt like I needed a change.

  • I could afford to take a break financially. Even though it feels overwhelming to resign and move at the same time, I am equally excited about the ambiguity ahead.

What’s next?

Moving gives you a chance to practice minimalism all over again and reduce the number of things you own. I enjoy that aspect of moving. I enjoy selling and giving away things I no longer need to people who would enjoy them. However, leaving community in your current location is uncomfortable at best.

I plan to live nomadically, read a lot, write, work on fun projects and recharge. I don’t have a concrete plan, except for the next few months (NYC then Delhi).

I am writing this on my day 1 after leaving, and it already feels quite different. I feel like I have hit the reset button and have a lot of flexibility in actively deciding what’s next for me. Let’s see how this experiment turns out!


Leading up to this decision, I want to thank my family, friends and co-workers who listened to me, offered their advice and supported me. I also found inspiration in reading stories from people and learning from their perspective - Pine, Mu-An, @dvassollo’s tweets. Hence, I wanted to share my perspective in addition to writing down my thoughts for my own sake.