Move fast and break things... just not the things you can't fix

Recently, I’ve been considering taking a year off of school to work for Codecademy in New York. I first got in contact with Yoonie, the recruiter, near the end of my freshman year at UCLA. After two phone interviews, I reluctantly told her that, unfortunately, spending a year in New York was not something my parents approved of.

This year, I grew so frustrated with school that I told myself I wouldn’t let my parents decide what I could or could not do with my future. I decided to give Yoonie another call. We talked, and about a week ago, I flew up to finish my interview process with them. After four grueling hours of technical and cultural-fit interviews, I was asked the same question:

“Are you ready to commit a year to working with us?”

I managed to utter a brief “Y-“ before I cut myself off. It should have been an easy “Yes”; it was something that I’ve been preparing myself for. But I couldn’t do it. Within these past few months, something personal has caused me to rethink leaving for NY; it had nothing to do with my parents or school. I left the beautiful Codecademy office after telling Yoonie that I could not commit to a one year fellowship, asking, instead, for consideration in a shorter 3-month summer position.

Needless to say, I received a call from Yoonie a few days later telling me that, unfortunately, the Codecademy team had decided not to move on with an offer. It totally could have been the fact that I was technically inept, or that I didn’t share the same cultural vibe as the rest of the team. I’m not discounting my own shortcomings, but I have this gut feeling that my rejection came about because I couldn’t commit to taking a year off of my life in LA.

If I’ve learned anything from this experience, it’s that these ‘second chances’ often hide the fact that there were no second chances in the first place. That’s a mouthful. Sometimes, it’s better to live with the notion that you only get one shot. Things may have been drastically different if I completed Codecademy’s interview process the first time around. And even though I got a ‘second chance’ to interview, it was such bad timing for me, personally, that I might as well not have gotten that second chance at all.

Life is weird in that sometimes it demands you make decisions without thinking. That’s what brings about spontaneity and the unexpected. That’s what makes life interesting. But other times, it demands very careful navigation. Some paths in life don’t have dashes in the road, and before you know it, the same spontaneity that brought you happiness can very well rob you of it. I don’t think I’ve written such a deep post in a while. In a way, it’s a story that tells itself. Yet at the same time, it’s a contrived paradox that baffles me in every way. If you know me personally, there may be a slight chance you what I’m talking about. If not, then don’t worry about it.

Written on April 2, 2014