October 19, 2020

My Life as a New Fellow: Gabriel Moon

On Thursday, August 27th I received an email from my current boss Jason Straughan offering me a position as a Business Development Representative at Codeup. This was the conclusion of a whirlwind summer that certainly did not play out along my expectations, but has been rewarding all the same. The majority of my Match process was guided by a desire to make a difference in people’s lives and stay in the northern region of the Midwest, where I have family and have spent most summers of my life. Fast-forward and I now live in San Antonio, where the average high in “winter” is 60 degrees and we get 12 hours of sunlight almost year-round.

Though nothing went as I expected, I can honestly say I’m pleased with the job I now have despite all the uncertainty that comes with taking on a new role in the middle of a pandemic. I started working on September 14th and everyone at Codeup has been extremely willing to give me time to adjust. This has had many benefits, as I have not been forced into moving before I’m ready or making any changes to my personal routine for the sake of deadlines. The pandemic has not played into many of my decisions as a result, since I have had ample time and permission to make my first round of big-time adult decisions.

Be that as it may, I would be lying if I said everything has been perfect. I’ve had second thoughts about the city, about the job, and especially whether or not I am qualified for any of this. At times, I’ve felt like I’m in over my head in terms of my work and all the things that go into finding, furnishing, and paying bills for an apartment. Despite being in a pandemic, the apartment portion has been the most worrying for me – Haverford College is a tiny liberal arts school where everyone lives on campus, so the most I ever had to do was sign up for the room draw lottery and submit work requests when something broke. Now, I have the main bedroom in a three-room setup requiring me to take charge of managing all bills and upkeep for our unit. At times, it feels as if my to-do list is endless, but I suppose that’s the nature of a transition to adult life.

Probably the biggest challenge for me outside of getting everything done that I need to has been the (un)healthy dose of imposter syndrome I have felt during my transition to Codeup. Luckily for me, Jason has been extremely open with me around this topic. We have spoken at length about how to deal with imposter syndrome, and he even gave a keynote talk at San Antonio Startup Week about imposter syndrome and how he still deals with it to this day. This was huge for me in my first few days at Codeup – I was constantly second-guessing myself, asking permission for little things that I now don’t even think twice about doing, and generally worrying more about stepping on toes and my place in the company than was in any way productive. I’ve learned a lot from Jason in the month I’ve been at Codeup, but nothing as big as the fact that feeling a looming sense of inadequacy is normal, especially when starting a job that you have no direct experience in during the middle of a global pandemic.

More than anything else, these past months have driven home to me that what matters in life is not what your job title is, how much you get paid, whether you have a second monitor for your work-from-home setup, or if you are in the city you know for sure you want to spend the rest of your life in. Especially in the context of a global pandemic, what is most important is your attitude and approach to your everyday life. You can either whine about what you need to get done or you can wake up on time and turn your to-do list into a to-done list. And to take rule #32 from the effervescent Woody Harrelson in Zombieland: Enjoy the Little Things.

Posted in: Fellows, Inside VFA