January 12, 2018 ~ 2 min read

You Are Not Your Credentials

Companies were throwing interviews, then offers at me with a velocity I could barely keep up with. I got so many interviews I found myself declining them with companies I previously would have jumped at. With each new interview or offer, I got a rush of excitement (and dopamine). I spent hours grinding interview questions on Leetcode to prepare.

I started outsourcing my happiness to my performance on interviews.

I landed an onsite at Airbnb, one of my "dream" companies. Their office was gorgeous. One of my interviewers made me a latte with their $10,000 latte machine. I left the interview elated, "knowing" I had crushed it.

My recruiter called to give me a rejection two weeks later. I was crushed. I let the news ruin the rest of my night. But I still had three other offers for companies I should be ecstatic to work at. Many classmates would have been siked to be in my position, yet I found myself miserable. Why was I letting this impact my happiness? It forced me to confront why I so desperately wanted to work there, when in fact I had no idea what it would even be like.

Airbnb is a great company, don't get me wrong. But the truth is, the real reason I wanted to work there was to tell people "Yea, I work at Airbnb". I wanted the credential to prove to myself that I was good enough. I wanted to prove to everyone else that I was good enough.

No credential will make you happy. No credential will make you do great work. You are not your resume.

The average GPA of a millionaire is 2.9. Money is hardly a good measure of success, but that statistic certainly tells us something. Stop worrying about the credential. Credentials aren't the point anymore. Nothing truly worth doing is as simple as following the steps needed to get a high GPA, or studying Leetcode to land a position at a top tech company. There's no path that you can follow to start a business. There's no clear path to happiness or to a successful marriage.

Do great work. Learn new things. Be kind. The rest will follow.

Maxi Ferreira

Hi, I'm Taylor . I'm a software engineer/maker/amateur chef currently living in San Francisco. You can follow me on Twitter , see some of my work on GitHub , or read about my life on Substack .