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The Pursuit of a New Career Takes Persistence

I had been in the Navy and had worked in medical research and found that many of the skills -- like researching and gathering data -- were transferable to Wall Street. You gain some transferable skills in every job.

How important was networking for you and how can others develop a network in a new career field?

Networking has been incredibly important. You've got to develop it where the players are in your field. There are always meetings and conventions of people with similar interests. Be there, invited or not.

What about mentors? How do you find them?

I had so many mentors. Sometimes you meet somebody and it just clicks. Other times you have to look hard to develop them. I had to pursue one of mine for years. Either way, mentors are crucial. Those people can make all the difference in the world in what you do.

During your training program, you never told your bosses about your difficult personal life that included some nights spent with your son in a homeless shelter or an Oakland subway station bathroom. Why not?

Nobody cares about your personal life and it's none of their business. You're there to work and nobody wants to see your sad [rear] dirty. Everybody's got their own problems.

The stipend during your training program (about $1,000 per month) was meager for a single dad. Did that bother you?

For me, it was never about the money. It was about the opportunity to have what eventually could be. It was about being involved with something I was absolutely passionate about. If you are doing a job just for the pay, then you are like a slave to the money. Better to do something that is so exciting that you can't wait for the sun to rise in the morning regardless of the money that you get for doing it.


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