Don't give up

by Randy Gingeleski

3 minutes to read

A story about not giving up.

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My personal trainer’s business card says “don’t give up.”

At the gym, it’s never applied. I pay for training and if I cheat on reps, that’s on me. Sometimes you work out and get nauseous. There’s a Wall of Vomit for that.

When I did almost give up was on my quest to leave Lockheed Martin. Leave my cubicle. It started late September 2016.

I was working a menial project and wasn’t growing as an engineer. There was an opportunity cost to staying at the company. I dream huge for myself, and couldn’t get there at LM.

Like Emma Watson in The Circle, my biggest fear is unrealized potential.

For 10 weeks I hit InterviewBit really hard. Learned more about algorithms and data structures than all of undergrad. At work I’d secretly get in more study time, coding common solutions over and over.

Working at Bloomberg was in my sights. I made it to an on-site interview and left there feeling great. For two weeks I waited, walking around Lockheed like it’d all be over soon…

Until it wouldn’t. Until the no.

I wanted to throw up. I wanted to cry. I felt like an anvil crushed me.

It took a few days for my mind to produce a next move. Like delayed reaction to a punch in the face.

First, I blogged about what happened. I talked about it with a good friend. “Getting it out” raised my spirits. The world wasn’t over.

Then I thought, well, I need something more for my resume. So many big firms didn’t even get back to me. I need to tighten this resume to get more opportunities.

This was the pivotal moment - I kept moving forward. To help my resume, I got involved in an open source project I’d been lurking on. A connection I made there led me to my new company.

Overall, by moving forward at that hardest moment, success was achieved.

Was it tempting to settle into Lockheed Martin for the long haul? In a sick way, yes. I could’ve started a master’s degree at Syracuse University and/or signed a lease on an apartment. Gotten a prescription for antidepressants. Started drinking heavily at “happy hours.” Complacently tried to enjoy (??) my situation.

But I didn’t give up. I kept my goal in mind, acting and making decisions through that lens.

Things ended up better than they would’ve at Bloomberg. Victory was that much sweeter when a 6-month-old vision became reality.

Life has a funny way of working itself out when you persevere. When you keep - at - it.

Don’t give up.