Max Chang on his ‘failure podcast’ and post-grad life

Max Chang’s podcast, “Uncloseting Failures,” has aired four episodes which are available on Spotify. His special guests include Chapman alumni Arianna Ngnomire and Daniel Huynh. Photo courtesy of Max Chang

Having graduated Chapman last spring, Chang went on to create his podcast titled “Uncloseting Failures: We’re All Losers”

Alumnus Max Chang was offered his dream job in the midst of his senior year at Chapman and was faced with a difficult decision: he could either finish the degree in public relations and advertising he spent the last four years pursuing, or risk it all for the chance to work for his favorite television show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” as a marketing and advertising content creator in New York state. Although he chose to complete the degree he spent his adult life working toward, he graduated this past May with enthusiasm to engage and connect with other young adults learning to navigate the woes of life during and after college.

This interest sparked the creation of Chang’s podcast, “Uncloseting Failures: We’re All Losers.” Chang developed his podcast to create a dialogue on failure, reasonings behind it and the best ways to cope.

“Since no one has figured out failure, why not normalize it?” Chang said. “Failure used to be a sign for me to give up, but failure is an opportunity to grow, an opportunity to take responsibility for your actions. It’s being able to say, ‘I messed up this time, but now I have more information to be a better version of myself.’”

As someone who wants to reduce the stigma around failure, Chang said that open discussion between younger and older individuals will help young people understand that everyone has struggled with failure.

“We live in a world of perfectionism and social media highlights that,” he said. “No one on social media wants to post about their struggles.” Chang believes it is more socially acceptable today to not have life perfectly together, but that racial identities, like his own Asian descent, adds a different kind of pressure for him.

He added that it doesn’t include the pressure to educate others on the subject of intersectionality.

“It is more socially acceptable to not have your life together, especially in LA because we’re all blindly chasing our dreams,” he said. “But because I am Asian, there is an implication that I will be successful, which usually means having a certain career or being in a certain salary bracket.”

When asked what he feels is the best way to bounce back from failures, Chang told The Panther that people should think about why they failed and how they can use it to their advantage moving forward. However, he admitted that his post-graduation life wasn’t easily adaptable. He dealt with depression after declining his position at “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and he currently deals with the frustration of balancing his current passion, “Uncloseting Failures,” with his day job: working as a social media manager at a nonprofit called Asian Pacific Islanders and Equality in Los Angeles. One thing Chang wishes he knew before attended Chapman is that success doesn’t happen on a timeline.

“I wish I gave myself a year or two before college to just be in the world. I knew I ultimately wanted to go to college, but I hated my major going straight into it out of high school,” Chang said. “I wasn’t passionate enough about it yet. It’s OK to take time and reflect on if you’re ready for college.”

In regard to Chapman graduates who are on the brink of entering the workforce, especially those in creative fields, Chang said that inspiration often comes after putting thoughts into action.

“People always think they need to be inspired to do the work but that’s not true,” Chang said. “What scares seniors and graduates the most, especially those who are freelancing or in the creative industries, is that they don’t have a salary paying job out of college and they don’t know what to do. Instead of sitting around and playing video games or watching TV, do something and inspiration will come.”