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Friday, January 1, 2021
New York, NY, USA

Goodbye 2020, Hello 2021

Happy New Year!

When the pandemic hit NYC in March, I naively thought it would be over by June, but here we are, wrapping up the year still in quarantine.

On paper, 2020 was a big year for me, especially my career. COVID was a huge tailwind for my line of work given all the restructurings and bankruptcies. I announced/closed 3 deals and received a promotion. Not to mention, my interview on a Korean business TV show! I worked hard and I saw my efforts pay off.

But for most of this year, I felt like I was living in Gotham City in a Batman movie. I was (and still am) worried for my family in Korea, especially my grandparents. COVID first hit Korea in Daegu, where my family resides, so my anxiety went through the roof.

2020 was also a year of social unrest that gained momentum after George Floyd's tragic death. When news about attacks against Asians became more frequent, I became incredibly worried for my family given that they live in an extremely conservative state. There was a period of time when I avoided leaving my apartment at all costs because I was terrified for my own safety.

There were other crises that did not affect me personally but nonetheless broke my heart: children from low income families losing access to daily meals when schools shut down; small businesses built from the blood, sweat and tears of hard working families that went bankrupt; and people who did not have the option to quarantine or work from home in order to put food on their table.

This year helped me count my blessings and realize the immense scale of my privilege. The pandemic dichotomized the economy: people who can work from home and people who cannot; businesses in which COVID was a tailwind (restructuring, Amazon, Peloton, etc.) and those in which COVID was a headwind (retail, travel, tourism, etc.). Somehow, I managed to be on the favorable side of the pandemic, and I realize that was not the case for many.

Through this reflection, I came to the conclusion that there is more to life than being an ambitious New Yorker. There are many people that I can help with my knowledge and network. But how? 

To be honest, I am still figuring this out, but for starters, I am planning on donating regularly to select charities that I am passionate about. I am also looking to join an educational nonprofit. I have been wanting to do this for several years as this is a very important cause for me, but I was not able to make the time commitment because of work.

In addition to donating, I am ready to take new steps in my career after learning more than I ever thought I would in the past three years. Generally, I will put in effort to be more thoughtful in everything I do.

Stay safe, everyone! Congratulations on making it through 2020. 

Wishing a prosperous year ahead!



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