In the winter of 2007 I decided I was ready for a new job.
Although my stable job at a large company had made my parents happy, I knew I wanted something different. The only place I could imagine working was a small company across the country that was trying to connect people around the world: Facebook. But none of the jobs on the Facebook careers page made sense for me.
I looked at other companies; even filled out applications and wrote a few halfhearted cover letters. But I couldn’t get Facebook’s mission and energy out of my mind.
I decided not to settle.
So, I flew from New York to San Francisco and showed up at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, determined to find a way to at least meet people. A friend who worked there had agreed to introduce me to a few people around the office. But on our way back from a coffee break down the street, I got nervous.
I paced around outside the Facebook building by myself, trying to focus. I reminded myself: I had already flown across the country. Now I just needed to go for it.
A little calmer and a lot more caffeinated, I sat in the lobby of the building for what felt like hours. Each time the elevator doors opened I looked up, hoping to see someone, anyone, who wanted to speak with me. Finally, at the very end of the day, the director of PR walked out and introduced herself. Our conversation stretched to an hour. Eventually, a few more people joined in. I left the Facebook office even more excited about the company.
A few days later, once I’d returned to New York, the woman I had spoken with called me and said: “We can’t hire you. We didn’t interview you. We don’t have a job open. But, if you’re interested in temping we could use some help for the next few months.”
This wasn’t exactly what I’d been hoping for. But I knew that I was passionate about the work and the company, so once again I flew from New York to San Francisco. A few months later I was offered a full-time job.
And after nearly six unforgettable years, I’m still here.
The company has grown 15 times over, and now we serve 50 times as many people as we had when I joined. I’ve worked on our developer platform and our ads system; I currently lead mobile marketing. I’ve never stopped being excited about our mission to connect everyone in the world. Best of all, I’ve met and worked with many of the best people I know.
If I hadn’t made it through my nervousness six years ago I would never have gotten these chances. Nowadays whenever I’m anxious about taking a risk – trying something new, pursuing a long shot, putting myself out there – I think about waiting in the lobby of Facebook in 2007 and I remind myself to lean in.