Have I ever told you how I got here? No? Want me to? No? OK, good.
I was driving through Scotts Valley in January 2004. It was raining pretty hard, so traffic was crawling. For the previous couple of months, I had been feeling indifferent and burned out on school. I was in my second semester of grad school, majoring in conservation biology.
I had just driven past the Scotts Valley Drive exit and I was crawling toward the edge of Scotts Valley in the pouring rain when a little voice in my head told me to turn around. I wanted to turn around but I'm also stubborn. So even the voice in my head has to be patient with me sometimes.
I crawled along in traffic for another 5 minutes. And there it was. Santa's Village Road. You thought it was in the North Pole, right? No, it's right here on the beautiful California coast. It's the last real exit before you leave the coast for Silicon Valley. It's been a lifesaver on several occasions before.
Forget to get gas before heading to San Jose? Santa's Village Road.
Friend feeling car sick? Santa's Village Road.
Think you've been driving on a soft tire for the last 5 miles? Santa's Village Road.
Need to completely shift the trajectory of your career? Santa's Village Road.
I took the Santa's Village Road exit and turned around to head back home. Almost immediately I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I have never been back to San Jose State.
A little over 8 years later, I've never looked back. Yesterday marked the 4th anniversary of my first day at UCSC. It's been a fun and wild ride. Every job has it's ups and downs. In my case, I've had the good fortune of working with wonderful people who make even the roughest days laughable and enjoyable. I feel very fortunate to have gone from a grad school drop out to web developer for UCSC in 4 short years. And I've been on some great teams that have done great things in those 4 years.
I'd like to tell you that taking the Santa's Village Road exit that morning in 2004 was the "single moment" epiphany that changed my life. It wasn't. I had heard that voice in my head many times before. That was just the moment when I decided to listen. And that was the last time I waited so long before listening to it. I suspect everyone hears that voice. And we all listen to varying degrees. Your mileage may vary. But based on my experience, I'd say don't ignore it. It's usually right. Thankfully for me, it's also patient.