Ep 1: How I Decided To Join the Peace Corps

Alex Yang
3 min readJan 28, 2024

Hey guys! I’m starting a podcast after focusing mainly on blog writing the past few years. This is super exciting for me and I’m having a lot of fun with it so far.

This podcast is an extension of my commitment to exploring decision-making and continuing to learn about the art. Decision-making is really hard. We don’t talk about it enough and we certainly don’t learn about it in school. And as we graduate college and start to face the “real world,” there is an overwhelming number of paths that we can choose from. It’s challenging to understand what truly matters to you and to make sense of all the options that are available to you.

At the same time I believe decision-making is something that we can all improve on. Not necessarily just making “better” or “more optimal” decisions, but also gaining a better understanding of strategies to think through decisions and also understanding ourselves and our own tendencies and biases.

And what better way to learn than to hear the stories of other people? I realized over the holidays that I knew so many people who had made really interesting decisions in their lives. My goal is that with hearing these stories we can be inspired by bits and pieces from their thought process, and maybe be exposed to perspectives or decision-making strategies that we had never even considered. I think we’ll find that even if someone is in a completely different field from us or making a completely different category of decision, there’s still a lot that can be learned from hearing someone explain their decision-making process.

Listen to Episode 1 on Spotify!

Episode 1

Harry Lueken is a good friend of mine from college and in this episode Harry shares more about his decision to turn down his full-time job offer in banking and to join the Peace Corps (a US government volunteer organization) in Costa Rica, where he’s now been for over half a year.

In our conversation we find out why Harry started looking at other career options outside of finance, what appealed to him about the Peace Corps, and the roadblocks Harry faced in making his decision.

Some takeaways:

  • Decision making can often feel very stressful, but often it’s not as big a deal as you may think in the moment and you might have more options than you realize
  • When making a career decision, especially right out of school, it’s totally ok and actually cool to go pursue what excites you — Harry was able to find that with the Peace Corps
  • There are always unexpected benefits to making a certain decision — a big one for Harry was being able to see Costa Rican culture and appreciate the slow pace of life there after living in NYC for his entire life


[3:33] Why Harry started reconsidering coming back to work full-time in banking

[5:35] On being too nitpicky about jobs

[6:37] Researching the Peace Corps and why Harry was interested in the program

[12:15] The idea of “closing doors” in your career and why Harry is optimistic about his career trajectory

[16:19] How Harry’s decision to join the Peace Corps got delayed by months

[21:19] What Harry learned about himself through the decision-making process and why decisions don’t have to be so serious

[22:50] “Making the decision right” and Harry’s perspective on his work and life in Costa Rica!


I you have any experience with podcasting I’d love to hear any feedback you have for this episode. There’s a lot for me to learn and I’d greatly appreciate any suggestions related to the content of the episode, the editing and sound, or just the format of it all!



Alex Yang

How I Decided Podcast | Articles about Culture and Decision Making