At a recent lunch with friends, the question came up: what’s the most important decision you’ve made in your career?
After thinking about it for a few minutes, my mind went back to spring 2006. I was a sophomore in college, unsure what I wanted to do with my career. One night I attended an investment banking club event and learned of a professor who’d be taking students to Wall Street a few weeks later. After a few days of internal debate, I went for it. I felt pulled to go.
During that trip my eyes were opened to career paths I didn’t know existed. I met interesting, talented people who’d go on to become mentors. Walking the streets of New York, surrounded by skyscrapers, I felt alive. An energy pulsed through me. Those few days in New York made me feel like I could do anything I wanted to.
The saddest thing is, I almost didn’t go. I had to pay my own way and between flights and hotel it was going to cost me $500. That was a TON of money for me. Also, at the time I held a “just study hard, get good grades, and everything will work out” mindset that limited my perspective. How could I justify the financial cost and time away from school?
That trip led to a relationship that turned into an unpaid internship which turned into a paid internship which turned into a full time job (which later turned into the largest bankruptcy in US history and a spot in the unemployment line but that’s a story for another day 🤷😂).
That Wall Street trip was a small but critical step in becoming the person I wanted to be. While I ultimately left the finance world entirely, deciding to go to New York changed how I viewed myself. It changed the trajectory of my career. And I almost missed out on it for a few hundred bucks.
Invest in yourself. Put yourself out there. Experiment. Don’t let school get in the way of your education.
Invest in yourself. Explore. Dream. Even if you fail, you haven’t actually failed because you’ll learn more about yourself and grow through the process.
Invest in yourself.