San Francisco, We Meet Again – Part 1

I’m a bit overdue for this post. It has now been two months since leaving Hong Kong and returned to an amazing city that I first saw 10 years ago. I thought my first experience of arriving in San Francisco after growing up in the Midwest was a culture shock, it did not compare to returning in 2014 after living abroad.

Plane-view Sunset
Arriving back in California

I have jumped straight into my new career, jet-lagged and all, and I have to say it is an amazing, fast, head-spinning magic carpet ride so far!It’s been a mild adjustment moving from a B2C world and into a B2B world. It’s been a bigger adjustment re-adapting to not just San Francisco but also the States.

Hong Kong was a bustling, fast, no-nonsense, act-or-get-run-over type of city both in lifestyle and in business. San Francisco is much more of a mellow, laid back, easy-going, I’ll-get-to-it-later kind of city. While I definitely enjoy being laid back, there is a time and place for it and not as a perpetual state of living or business. I was just getting used to the metric system, small specialty shops, excellent/modern transportation and technology, authentic food, and a much more accepting and aware mindset in terms of the world and it’s cultures.

HK vs SF Public Transit
HK vs SF Public Transit

Back in the States… the Imperial system really IS confusing. Transportation/technology infrastructures are forehead-slapping sad. Americans are in a self-imposed bubble on the whole when it comes to awareness and acceptance of the rest of the world. And doing business is slow and complicated as all hell.

In the pub
Enjoying a REAL beer at the pub

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m an American, born and raised, and I love my home but it is truly life-altering to live elsewhere in the world where you can finally start to see a bigger picture and begin to understand just how much we lose ourselves in the simplest day-to-day bullsh!t.

I’m still in a state of reverse culture shock but am also enjoying the new adventure so far.

More to come…

Goodbye Hong Kong! For Now…

There are a handful of moments in your life that define your path and direction in this world. These moments end up shaping the rest of our days and have a profound impact on who we become. It is one of these moments that I have been staring in the face for the past few weeks.

Moments happen to us and we do not always get to choose how or when. I suppose I am fortunate that even though I have no power over the when, I do get to choose the how. I get to choose the next course of my life but I have to choose now.

Earlier this year, the company I was working for decided to take a new direction by selling their Hong Kong brand and office, and relocate to Australia with a new brand. Long story short, this left me searching for a new job. During this search, I kept telling myself this is the time to make the career shift that I had desperately wanted to make from events/business development into digital marketing.

After a few months of searching, I accepted a job with a SaaS marketing company and started the process of changing the sponsorship on my work visa. Fast forward 3 months and the visa has not been approved which has left me in a tough situation.

I begin the job search anew and found a great beverage company looking for a new General Manager. The opportunity is enticing even though the salary would be lower. During this time, the company who offered me the marketing position said that I could transfer to their San Francisco office as an alternative to Hong Kong.

I am not quite ready to leave Hong Kong and less ready to return to the States. I also have a girlfriend in Hong Kong who I’ve been dating for over 1 year. While getting into the tech industry is appealing, staying in Hong Kong is as well.

Over the last week, both companies have been making counter offers to convince me to take their offer. I’ll admit this is the first time I’ve been this heavily sought after. This also brings me back to the beginning of this post in that I have had to make a very difficult heart vs head decision. Both companies are great and have made very good offers, but I need to choose which type of career I want to pursue: business management or digital marketing. I have had decent success in each but it is now time to focus my skills and direction.

So here is the official news: I have accepted the digital marketing job and will be relocating to San Francisco starting next week. It is going to be a difficult transition to be away from my girlfriend, leaving one of my closest friends who just moved to Hong Kong and to return to the States after 2 years abroad but I am looking forward to the new challenges and to seeing old friends. I will still have a handful of opportunities to return to Hong Kong since my new company still has an office there that I will support on occasion.

Everything has happened so quick, my head is still spinning. I am excited, sad, confused, nervous, determined… and hungry. To all of my Hong Kong friends: this is not farewell and I WILL be back to see all of you. To my San Francisco friends: get ready! To my girlfriend: life may have us separated for now, but we will make it all work and come out of this into a much better place. To my family and friends everywhere else: wish me luck and good fortune in this new endeavor!

I feel like this has been the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make, but with that I also feel like this will be the most rewarding.