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What do you want to be when you grow up?

When I was in elementary school, I decided to commit to a career transition from investment banking to engineering. It was a tough decision. After giving it some thought, I realized that a job related to making airplanes was more interesting than the job no one could describe beyond “they make a lot of money.” My short-lived investment banking career had begun a few years earlier. Back then, I had decided that my drawing skills would make me ill-suited as an art teacher and had discovered that video game testers weren’t paid well.

Engineering seemed ideal to me because I always loved to figure out how things worked. In my head, I would figure out the mechanisms behind everything I saw around me. Whenever one of my toys would stop working, I would know exactly what was wrong even if I could never fix it. I loved to try and make things, even if that was mostly limited to little origami animals. 

In high school I took an engineering elective which gave me the chance to learn how to do simple robotics, how to model in 3D in a CAD software, and most importantly, how to be disappointed by groupmates on a final project. It was the third of these things that would lead to my next career change. Suddenly sure that engineering wasn’t for me, I fell back on my lifelong strategy of decision-making: copying my brother. My brother had recently switched from his pre-med path in college to study computer science, which meant that it was time to switch from my engineering path to study computer science.

This would be my longest lasting phase yet, continuing through the summer after my freshman year of college. I spent my senior year of high school building various apps and websites and my freshman year of college struggling through introductory computer science classes. This somehow led to a web development internship at a large company. I was doing it! I was actually working towards the career I had set myself on! Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before I was spending every day by myself writing code that I knew no one would ever use.

When you work at an office job you don’t enjoy and you don’t have enough work to keep you busy, you start to do insane things. For me, that was a competitive game I developed where I would continuously drink water to see how clear I could get my pee. Obviously, this isn’t a very exciting game, but I was extremely good at it. Once I mastered hydration and realized I probably couldn’t make a career of it, I started to think about the class I took on user interface design. The basic tenet of design was talking to people to make things they would actually want to use! I had spent so many hours staring at screens all by myself so actually interacting with human beings seemed like the dream. That, combined with the fact that I didn’t need to write code, sold me on a new career path.

For now, I’ve decided to stick to this career path. Being a software product designer has been incredibly rewarding and fun and I hope to stick to it for at least a little while. My first full-time job will definitely focus on design and maybe the next one will, too! Whatever happens, I’m excited to see the amazing things I’ll get to work on. But the hydration thing still might pan out.
Drops of the Week
where I *drop* recommendations of cool things this week
Article
“Frank Ocean is Peerless” by Emmett Crudas & Vegyn - my number one inspiration is the on the cover of my favorite magazine talking about random stuff. How wonderful!
Book
Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright - one of the most incredible books I’ve ever read in my life. As a lifelong Hindu, many Buddhist ideas are extremely familiar to me, and having scientific evidence (neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, etc.) back up some of the more meditative aspects is gamechanging.
Album
25 Nights for Nujabes by Ta-ku - one of Ta-ku’s first projects was called 50 Days for Dilla where he created 50 beats dedicated and inspired by the iconic producer J. Dilla. This is his follow up, dedicated to the late Nujabes.
Thanks so much for reading! If you have any comments/concerns or fan/hate mail for me, you know how to reach me (links below). 

Love,
Nikhil
<3

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Nikhil · 325327 Georgia Tech Station · Atlanta, GA 30332 · USA

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