I am a born and bred Texan. I am a graduate of the University of Texas and the University of Texas School of Law. I bleed Burnt Orange. My family lives in Texas and I visit often. However, there was a time in my life – around my second year in law school – when I realized I wanted to make a drastic change. It was a now or never decision, one that is almost unheard of for Texans: I wanted to leave.
I realized this after completing my first-year internship, experiencing a relationship go sour and watching my friends get engaged and going after big firm jobs in Dallas and Houston. I knew I wanted something different and my chance came during the 2011 Super Bowl in Dallas.
It was bizarre weather with a blizzard blanketing the entire city in snow and thousands of people gathered for the biggest day in professional football. I was in town with my family (who are huge sports nuts) and overheard that StubHub was throwing a party next door to my hotel.
I knew StubHub was in San Francisco – a great city – and I loved the service. I thought if I could get an internship, I could leave for the summer and at least see what it was like. Yes, it was a huge leap to leave my friends, family and the only state I have ever called home, but I told myself I was ready. “You’re 22 years old,” I said to myself. “Texas will always be here if you want to come back. Take this risk.” It was settled. I would get an internship at StubHub, move to San Francisco and start my career.
There was just one problem: I wasn’t invited to the StubHub party. You should know that I am the type of person that when I see something I want – be it a job, a boy or the last cupcake – I go for it. Needless to say, I crashed the party. Once inside, I found my way to the president. I kindly introduced myself and then asked if they had a legal internship program. He pointed me in the direction of the company’s head counsel who accepted my request to be an intern, even though no such program existed at the company. In a matter of hours, I decided I was moving to San Francisco, crashed a prominent startup’s party and created a position for myself as StubHub’s first legal intern.
Although the legal department didn’t have a permanent position for me (I did after all invent my internship), it was an experience that has shaped my life. I now live in San Francisco, work for a great startup and I’m incredibly happy for making my decision to leave Texas, however impulsive it may have been.
By leaving Texas, I learned that it is so much more rewarding to lean in to the unfamiliar than to stay in the comfortable. I would rather lean in, trip, stumble and fall, rather than stand upright on a straight arrow track that is all too familiar. Leaning in and exploring the unfamiliar is how you’ll understand what fits your life, no matter how unconventional your methods of achieving it might be. I say, lean in and dive head first.