Last Spring, I crossed the threshold into adulthood and graduated with an exciting job offer in hand. Like many Bay Area graduates, I was about to enter the weird and wonderful world of tech startups. I joined the talent acquisition team at Instacart and was immediately immersed in the fast-paced and innovative environment that is unique to this scene.
In the months that followed, I sourced, screened, closed technical talent, and worked cross-functionally to improve on the hiring process. I grew immensely; partially through my day-to-day responsibilities, but more significantly by being in the environment itself: the crowd, the city, and the industry. I sat in on engineering updates and guest speaker Q&As and absorbed everything in awe. I believed in the product and team, and saw myself contributing more to it over the next few years.
On a sunny Friday afternoon this past April, I had fully transitioned into a full-cycle technical recruiter and was in the middle of a candidate screen when I received an email from one of our immigration attorneys. She informed me that my work visa application was unsuccessful in the USCIS lottery. This meant that come June, I would no longer be eligible to work in the United States and would have to leave the country within 60 days after that.
This is where things get melodramatic.
Not exactly. I had been well-aware of the odds (27.5%) in the months leading up to the news, and was mentally prepared for this outcome. And so, after saying a reluctant goodbye to my team and Instacart, I placed each of my worldly possessions into one of three categories - pack, sell, throw out - and headed to Vegas for a weekend. I terminated my rent, subscriptions, and phone contracts. I booked a one way ticket to Bangkok for the very first time and entered a two-week limbo of nostalgic strolls and goodbye drinks.
On the flight to Bangkok, I braced for the familiar feeling of displacement. I knew this feeling would only be temporary and sure enough, within the first few days I was gorging on pad kra pow, mangoes, and street ramen; going about life in Thailand as if the past 2 years had never happened. The only difference was that this time, there was nowhere to go back to in the immediate future, that my time in Thailand was indefinite.
And here I am today at the heart of this Asian metropolis, in a familiar place but completely novel situation. I am primarily excited about two things. The first being this site, which I created hoping to document my journey moving forward as well as my thoughts on current events, technology, and various pursuits. The second thing I'm excited about is my next career opportunity: over the past few weeks I have learned about and decided to join ThoughtWorks, a global technology consultancy that has recently established a branch in Bangkok. I will be joining a small team and wear multiple hats as an Operations Associate.
I look forward to being a part of Asia's bustling tech scene and reflecting on how my experiences here compare to my brief stint in Silicon Valley. Needless to say I am incredibly grateful for my time at Instacart, and am confident that the team will continue to solve seemingly impossible problems to disrupt the industry - turning the way people shop for groceries on its head. While I do plan to return to the West, I will cherish and make the best of this opportunity to grow in a new environment, share my experiences, and hopefully help others along the way. So here's to the new chapter - have a good one!