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Feb 18, 2019

How I Found Myself at Netflix

Today is my one year anniversary as a member of the Netflix Legal Team in Singapore. I had an interesting journey to Netflix because I didn’t know exactly how or why I joined until much later. For starters, my legal path was a bit unusual for an American lawyer. I attended a small Christian international law school and began my career working at a law firm in Korea. As such, I often asked myself the same three questions: 1) Why did I end up working in Korea? 2) Why did I go to a small Christian law school? 3) Were my decisions part of something bigger? I never knew the answers but I always reminded myself that I made these decisions based on my personal faith and convictions. So I trusted my gut, believed in myself, and worked hard.

While working in Korea for a number of years, I got married, and soon expected a baby. This turning point made me explore new opportunities for my budding family. After a long process of tailoring over 500 resumes – I garnered 10 interviews, and received three offers. For various reasons, I did not accept any of them. But I did learn a lot from rejection. For example, when I came across Netflix’s amazing culture memo, something prompted me to apply confidently despite fully knowing how competitive Netflix was. I promptly got rejected in the second round. I worked on my resume and tried again. This time, no response. I questioned whether it was because I was an American lawyer working in Korea or because I didn’t attend a renowned ivy league law school. Instead of making excuses, I decided to focus on performing well in Korea. But oddly, I still had faith.

Much later, I surprisingly received a call from a Netflix recruiter. He saw that I had applied before and asked if I would be interested in applying for a position in Singapore. I was fully aware that being contacted out of thousands of candidates was a miracle so I did not take the opportunity for granted. In the road ahead, I researched earnestly about the company, internalized what it would mean to live and breathe the Netflix culture, and practiced countless mock interviews. Day and night, I prepared diligently and meticulously. My goal was simple: to respect each interviewer’s time. After several rounds, I received an offer.

At the time of offer, I was freshly working at one of Korea’s top law firms. In weighing pros and cons, my primary concern as a soon-to-be father was financial. Frankly, law firms paid more than companies. But two subsequent conversations with Netflix changed me. First, my recruiter detailed the relocation package, tax and lifestyle benefits of Singapore, the compensation philosophy, and he framed every detail in a manner that was focused on my family’s well-being rather than just the job, and he meant it. Next, my would-be manager was simply honest. As a previous law firm lawyer, he said if I truly enjoyed being a private practice lawyer then I should not accept the offer. However, if I wanted to experience being part of a culture that would be supportive of my ambitions as both a lawyer and father, he vouched for Netflix. He explained the offer openly, concisely, and respectfully. In the end, it was the culture both individuals exemplified in their words and actions that won me over.

Today, it is very clear to me why I chose to join Netflix. Even after a year, I’m still amazed by the people and culture. Everyone is extremely passionate about doing what is in the best interest of Netflix. All the time. No one is ever slowed down by a web of political hierarchy or obstructed by someone’s personal agenda. Everyone is sailing the same ship and in the same direction. For example, I remember a meeting when one of our leaders openly shared how he strongly disagreed with the informed captain. He opened a debate, farmed for dissent, and invited other perspectives so we could make the best decision possible as a team. In the end, the informed captain still decided against what the leader felt was right. Then, the leader immediately emphasized that now the decision was made, it was in the team’s best interest to wholeheartedly support the informed captain because that’s how we achieve growth at Netflix. I witness this kind of selflessness everyday. You never have to look far to discover a moment of truth or capture a constructive take away. As a result, the environment consistently motivates me to be the best version of myself so that I can contribute back into the ecosystem. The culture is both enriching and humbling.

Recently, I personally asked my manager why he hired me among all the stellar candidates he could have chosen from. In a nutshell, he said he liked that I would contribute to the team’s diversity (Korea), he respected that I went against the grain for something I believed in (law school), and lastly, he had strong confidence that I would be a stunning colleague. I walked away from the conversation completely shaken because I could finally answer the three questions I asked myself over the past decade: (1) Why did I end up working in Korea? (2) Why did I go to a small Christian law school? (3) Were my decisions part of something bigger? Looking back, the most difficult decisions I made in my life were the decisions Netflix respected most. Ultimately, my choosing of diversity, and going against the grain, sparked the privilege to work with stunning people. This is how I found myself at Netflix. #WeareNetflix

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