You are the product of two incredibly hardworking immigrant parents. I know at 13, you’re too absorbed in your own life to really understand what that’ll mean for your future. You’re going to learn so much more about your parents as you grow older: your father was born in India, and never knew his parents. He was raised by an aunt who had little to no financial resources to raise him and his siblings. Your mother was born in Pakistan, and while her family was a bit more well-off in comparison, her financial cushion dwindled away when she moved to the US at the age of 17 to marry your father. Your parents started their lives in the US with very little and are quintessential, self-made success stories. You don’t fully appreciate any of what they’ve created for you and your sister… not yet, anyway.
I want you to really pay attention to your parents over these next few years. Being a first generation American who is eager to spread her wings and push boundaries, you’ll moan and groan at the decisions they’ll make for you. (Early curfews instead of late night parties and science books instead of MTV.) They will push you to work harder than you want to and you’ll sometimes feel resentful of that. Your friends don’t seem to endure the same pressure to perform. But even though that pressure can be challenging, your natural wiring helps – being a high achiever runs through your veins. You like to be considered “one of the best,” so you push on. You don’t mind busting your butt to make your parents proud… but you haven’t learned yet that there’s more to success than blood, sweat, and tears.
You’re turning 39 soon and have achieved professional success beyond your wildest dreams. Your path here was interesting.
You made your parents’ dreams come true: You got a great scholarship to attend the University of Delaware, got a job at Ernst & Young out of school, got a Masters Degree from UVA, and earned your CPA. On paper, you made all of your parents’ dreams come true.
But you were miserable.
You made some amazing friends in public accounting but hated your job, and couldn’t shake this feeling there was more you could offer the world. You discovered the world of staffing the way most public accountants do – you were recruited. A former EY manager had gone to Kforce and you enlisted her to help with your job search, which quickly turned into you sitting across the table from her and declaring, “Man, what you do for a living sure looks like fun!”
“Why don’t you try a career in staffing?” she’ll ask.
Mom and Dad will flash through your mind.
“I can’t do that.”
“I have a CPA, for goodness sake.”
“I spent my entire educational life preparing for a certain thing, I can’t just abandon that now.”
“Why not?” she’ll push on.