The name’s Ny, that’s pronounced kn•ee for those who don’t know. I’m a designer, animator, artist and most importantly, constant failer (failure?). What I mean to say is that I am always aiming to learn and grow, even if it’s at the cost of failing because failing (when done correctly) is an opportunity for growth. They’re the foundations for future success. But we’ll get back to that later. First, I’d like to tell you a little bit about my background. I don’t really want to bore you with my whole life’s story so let’s try to keep this short, shall we?
It all started in a small Vietnamese village of Hue, located in the very center of Vietnam. Raised by a lovely Asian couple, I grew up under humble means. At the tender age of three, we all left this village in pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness, the American dream. And where did the American dream lead us? Well, to California of course, where else? Nothing says life and liberty like one week of rain a year in the sunny state of Droughtifornia. Beats monsoon season in Vietnam. As for happiness? Your mileage may vary.
So here I am, barely speaking English, navigating the social extremes of public education, eventually making my way towards the pinnacle of every parent’s dream — going to college. I was accepted into the University of California, Davis under the College of Engineering, Computer Science Engineering program. From this day forward, I was going to build my future and become the son that my parents have always wanted me to be.
I lasted two years. It was a bittersweet moment when I realized that engineering did not make my happy. I enjoyed the technical problem solving, but I always had a greater affinity toward visual communication. This naturally led to towards a degree in Art and Design.
And while I do see this as a failure in my life, a failure that was mainly caused by my own immaturity, I did leave that program learning many things. I retained my general understanding of programming and knowledge in technical subjects, both of which I still use to this day in my career. I learned the importance of critical thinking and working logically towards a solution. I also learned the importance of discipline and working hard to obtain your goals. Of course, my maturity still has some catching up to do, but the self-awareness is at least a good start, right?
Skip forward four years and change, and I’m out of college. With my fresh and newly minted degree in hand, I was ready to impress new potential employers. And impress, I did not. Apparently, there’s this thing called “experience” that every employer likes to see in their fresh new hires. Nobody sent me the memo. But that didn’t get me down; I was used to failing. I already spent four years and some odd months on the struggle bus, what’s a few more? After a few years or so of doing small internships, non-profit work, and contract work, I finally land a job that I could call my career; I was hired as a designer.
I was lucky enough that this job was a perfect fit for my hodgepodge mix of skills. I was able to combine my skills in design, animation, and coding, propelling myself within the company and my career. My unique background has made it possible for me to communicate with various parts of the organization to reduce error, increase efficiency, and to ultimately, push projects to completion. However, there’s a fatal flaw to my unique situation. The problem with a jack of all trades is that they are often a master of none.
But not to worry, my many years of failing has prepared me for this very thing. It has left me with what medical professionals call “never-good-enough-itis”, also known as “self-awareness”. Because I’m aware that I will always have room for improvement, I push myself towards growth in any way possible. I take risks, make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes. I work to develop the skills I lack, and to strengthen the skills I already have. To me, failing isn’t my weakness, it’s my superpower. That’s Ny, pronounced kn•ee — designer, animator and artist by day, chronic failure by night (and day).