I’m the second oldest in a family of four. My siblings and I grew up with an understanding that success required hard work. My dad taught high school math and my mom was a Registered Nurse. They instilled in us the value of hard work and not taking opportunites for granted. I think we all understood that success or favor was not bestowed but rather earned. There’s a verse in Proverbs that rings true for my family, “Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; but increase comes by the strength of an ox.”
My uncle is the founder and owner of his own financial services business. As a licensed financial advisor he spends his days advising his clients on managing their assets and selling financial product. In high school, my dream was to be like my uncle. I think I was implementing Dave Ramsey’s financial principles more accurately than most of the adults who had read his books. During the summer of my freshman/sophomore year, I started a small lawnmowing company with a friend. We had three customers but it was a decent way to make a little cash during the summers. I enjoyed saving up and just being a good steward of the little money that I picked up throughout my high school years and that was enough for me to figure that pursing a degree in business finance in college was the most natural next step for me.
During college, my aspirations to be a financial advisor were stifled when I realized most financial advisors are over the age of 50. Oddly, people are more inclined to be more trusting of a seasoned 50-something over and untested college grad. Makes good enough sense. I wasn’t worried, finance is a broad field with many different career paths. When I graduated, I decided to get into real estate financing and took a position as a loan officer/loan assistant. I went through the licensing studying and passed the exam on the first try. It was worth getting licensed as an MLO (Mortgage Loan Originator) even though I didn’t close a great deal of loans. I still managed to close I think 3 refinances and I got paid commission on those which was pretty cool. It was a great experience. Not necessarily in the work itself but because of the skills and corporate relationship experiences I gained. The work was difficult but I pressed in and assisted my senior loan officer in consistently outperforming the rest of our ~20 employee office. We were the dream team and pace setters for all the loan originators. I’ll always be grateful for that time.
Fast forward about 4 years. A year in a language immersion program in Mexico, a stint as a government contractor doing accounting, and work as a bilingual document processor and now I find myself looking to take all my experiences and transition into a new career in software engineering.
I’m truly excited to move in this direction with my career. Not because I didn’t like finance but because software development allows me to do what I’ve always loved: building and writing. I’ve always been a project-oriented type of person. If I’m honest, I do my best work when I’m not in a rush. I think a lot of people are that way. I like to fully immerse myself in whatever it is I’m working on till it’s completed. One of my strong points is always keeping my eye on the end goal or the overarching purpose. This helps me to stay on track, it helps others to stay on track. I’ve always been passionate about writing and I think I just like words and languages in general. I’m a linguist at heart. In fact, there was a time when I was seriously considering going into the Army to become a Pashto linguist. Writing gives me an open canvas to express my creativity through words. I think coding is very similar to this. Obviously it goes a long way to learn the language first. But once you do that it’s like a caterpillar finding it’s wings, the sky is the limit!