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I got my dream job at Apple on my fourth attempt. Here's why I left the 6-figure job after only 2 years.

Ella Hopkins   

I got my dream job at Apple on my fourth attempt. Here's why I left the 6-figure job after only 2 years.
  • Corey Griffin landed a job as a software engineer at Apple after showcasing his side hustles.
  • He worked for Apple Music but left to pursue his business this year.

This is an as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Corey Griffin, a 31-year-old former Apple employee and entrepreneur from Los Angeles. Business Insider has verified their employment and income. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

I started coding when I was 14. I made animations for games and learned how to make my own website for my games.

I studied computer technology at college. While studying, I worked freelance for record labels, helping them make their marketing websites.

In 2014, I was hired by an agency to make marketing websites after college. There, I learned software engineering.

I knew I wanted to work for Apple or another Big Tech company, but I felt like I was at a disadvantage because I didn't get into software engineering before college or go to a school like Stanford or Harvard.

I tried to make up for it by working as a software engineer for many different companies and getting a lot of experience, including Rotten Tomatoes, Vox, and Shopify.

I found my niche working in marketing engineering, which included SEO implementation, making logo generators and domain name generators.

I freelanced on the side, building marketing websites and doing graphic design. I started my own media company, CG3, and launched a directory for Black-owned businesses and a service similar to Linktree called Hyper Link.

In January 2019, I launched a free teleprompter product called, which I later renamed to Speakflow. I turned it into a subscription service, and it gained over 1,000 subscribers in a year from 2020 to 2021.

I applied for a job at Apple 4 times

I landed a job as a software engineer at Apple in August 2021. I'd applied three times before.

Having lots of side projects helped me land the job.

Most of my side projects are now inactive, but, at the time, I was able to showcase them on my résumé and talk about them in my interview. One of the interviewers had heard of Speakflow, which was still doing well.

A lot of my work in previous jobs was under an NDA, so I couldn't discuss them in the interview. I could show my wide skillset through my side projects, including graphic design, animation, marketing, and coding. I also had clients in a range of industries, such as the music industry and small technical clients. We talked a lot about that in the interview process.

I left my Apple job after 2 years

I worked on software for the Apple music team, including radio and podcasts. I started fully remote and then worked a hybrid pattern that included going to our office in Culver City, California.

I really enjoyed the work, and the office was cool. I worked hard to get that job.

I never imagined I'd leave within two years.

I wanted more freedom over my schedule

I have two kids, and I wanted to have complete control over my schedule.

I figured I could probably replace my Apple salary with my media business, especially Speakflow, which made six figures in revenue in the last year. The side project had been live in the background while I was at Apple.

I'd had some family members who were sick and others who passed recently. Mortality was on my mind. Working for myself full-time was a big life goal. It seemed like the right time to make the jump.

I left Apple in December 2023 to pursue my media business full-time, particularly the Speakflow product. I wasn't sure it was the right decision and it felt risky, but I wanted to take a gamble on myself.

I have so much more flexibility now. I can drop my kids off at school every day and pick them up.

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