Thursday, January 22, 2015

Full Circle

It would be appropriate to say that my career has come full circle.  Although it was not my first job out of college, my first career choice was banking. 

When I was at A&M, a very wise individual asked me the question, "If you could do anything for a career, what would it be?"  I answered, "Rancher."

He then proceeded to ask me about resources that I might have at my disposal.  "Does your family own a ranch?" -- No.  "Do you have lots of money?" -- No.  "Do you have someone with lots of money to help you get started?" -- No.  "Will you inherit a bunch of money?" -- No.  "Then, the best advice I can give you is that there is 'more than one way to skin a cat.'"

He told me that I should hold onto that dream, but I would have to find some indirect means of achieving it.  I chose agricultural lending.

When I graduated, I wasn't clear on how to start my career.  I just wanted a job.  Fortunately, that same wise individual (who by the way was my advisor) helped me to get a job.  He warned me that it wouldn't be a high paying job, but that it might open some doors.  It certainly didn't pay much, but it gave me a practical education in how the world works.  I worked for a politician.

My second job was in agricultural lending.  I must confess however, I soon found out I didn't love it.  It was another education.  My supervisor was lazy and used me more as a gopher than a loan officer.  I didn't learn as much as I should have at the time.  It took little more than a year though, to be recruited by another financial institution with whom I stayed for about 7 years.

It was a tough time to be in the lending business.  Interest rates were high, the economy in turmoil and I spent a good deal of time collecting my predecessor's bad decisions.  I again learned much.

I left lending with the idea that I wanted to be on the other side of the loan desk.  I wanted to focus on making an idea/dream come to life rather than searching for why and how it might fall flat.  I wanted to build businesses. 

I spent the next 23 years doing just that; growing businesses.  Most were for someone else, but in recent years I have had ownership interest.

Now, I am back in the financial industry in the role of agricultural loan officer.  But, the world looks different today than it did back in the 80's.  Yes, there is plenty of turmoil in the economy, but now I look at loans with the knowledge that comes from "been there, done that" and it puts things into an entirely new perspective. 

I am looking forward to this next phase of my career.  I see it as my role to help people to achieve their dreams by giving them sound financial advice.  God has an interesting way of growing us to where we need to be.


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