After reading SouthernAlpha's post on failure, I was inspired to write my own. I've been reflecting a lot lately and often wonder why I am the way I am today. Like most users on WSO, I am a college student motivated to succeed and hope to start my career in investment banking. However these jobs are tough to get and require a high level of drive that most college kids don't have. I constantly question myself, often wondering if I have what it takes to make the cut. And while the odds are stacked against me, I do believe I have what it takes. While I am confident, I am not writing this post to brag or flex my Internet muscles, but rather to tell my story. I hope in telling my story, I will inspire others to tell theirs.
A little bit about my background without getting too specific: I go to a non-target and interned at a big 4 my freshman summer and will be interning in the MO of acoming summer. I somehow managed to get the big 4 internship through a cold call to partner and got the BB offer through an on-campus interview. My goal is to get into a SA program next .
To start I should say that the most influential person in my life thus far, both good and bad, is my father. While I know my father loves me and my brother, he is the definition of an asshole. He's one of those guys who are quick to criticize and point out your weaknesses, which is never a good recipe when raising a kid. I would fight with my dad on a fairly consistent basis, which resulted in a rocky relationship. However, he would always enjoy talking to me about business and we bonded over our mutual interest in it. In fact, my father had owned several small businesses over the years and decided at one point to purchase a small retail store around 2007. At the time, this business was pretty controversial in my family because my dad had to take a second mortgage on our home. Being a teenager at the time, I had absolutely no clue what was so risky about the purchase but my mother understood the risks and objected vocally to my father about the purchase. My father accused my mother of trying to hold him back and ended up purchasing the store. While my mom was upset at his decision, she decided to support him in every way she could.
Then the financial crisis hits and the shoe store was hit severely. Sales dropped dramatically and my dad couldn't afford to buy anymore inventory. I was about 15 or 16 at the time and I would say that this was a major turning point in my life. My dad had to file for bankruptcy and it destroyed my family. My mom was not only upset at my dad for not listening to her, but she also feared that we would lose the house. My parents would fight every night for weeks and it was stressful for my younger brother and me.
Unfortunately this story doesn't have a good ending. My parents ended up getting a divorce at the time I was in my senior year in high school. I knew it was probably for the best, but it was very sad. While I was able to understand the circumstances, it was a lot tougher on my younger brother. He would enter high school with both his older brother and father leaving the house and I cannot even begin to understand how he felt.
My father also changed. The confidence he had during my childhood completely disappeared. I speculate that losing both his business and family humbled and hurt him permanently. We don't fight anymore though. As I've grown older, I've realized that he was just trying to provide a better life for us. Also, how can you hate someone who tried to better himself?
These hardships have both strengthened and hardened me. Having a ground level understanding of financial hardship motivates me and drives me to succeed and I know, with confidence, I will do everything I can so that my future children won't have to go through the same ordeal.
So what drives you?