Don’t use your past as quicksand

Feeling defeated? Find redemption in my story of defeat and rise up with me!

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Quicksand – A loose wet sand that yields easily to pressure and sucks in anything resting on or falling into it.

I recently received notice that I did not pass my CFA level II exam. It hurt. You couldn’t sell me on seeing some silver lining in the situation. I spent more than 5 months studying for this exam and you want me to write some post about how the journey made me a better man? No; what it did do was make me $2,000 poorer (exam fees and study materials), miss out on Hot Boy Summer, and set back relationships I failed to keep up with while studying. Don’t come here with that quicksand bullshit

“You miss 100% of what you don’t…..” I don’t think you comprehend me; I am not here for your soliloquies. I’m left with nothing after I gave up close to half of 2019. This isn’t fair.

Alright, let me interrupt my inner thoughts and have a discussion with my blog family. That last line I wrote sounded eerily similar to the way people feel after a failed relationship “I’m left with nothing after I gave up xyz… This isn’t fair.” I been on the receiving end of a couple of those conversations and usually I start to list all the things that she is walking away with (my hoodies and shorts have never been returned lol). Just kidding. Revert back to me and my failed exam. After taking a couple of days to pray about it and reflect on where I currently stand, I can truly say there is a lot that I walked away with while undertaking this journey.

The joy in failing is one of the most overlooked sensations of life.

When I started studying for my CFA level II exam, I was working for JPMorgan (JP) in Delaware. My role was not challenging in the manner that I wanted, and I had recently been demoted. They packaged the demotion nicely in a “organizational restructuring” rollout, but the truth was that 1 out of my 30+ relationships within my team had covertly made an attack on my professionalism and due to seniority, I could not take the stand to defend myself. Going from a market leader with a $1 billion managed portfolio to a co-market leader in a much smaller market right before annual review time is never a sign that the company has bigger plans for you. Nonetheless, I remained ebullient and didn’t let that affect me. Couple that with a failed relationship that I really thought could go the distance. I was in the dumps, but I still kept the CFA level II in mind and studied during the times I wasn’t listening to Usher’s you got it bad as I wept lol.

Fast forward a couple of months, I was doing much better. Boogie had just put out a really great album, and the kids I mentored in the community reinforced my worth. On March 7th, I got an email that would end up shaking up my new found peace. An old employer reached out in reference to an opening.

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When I saw this, I immediately thought to myself “you are too busy studying and they won’t give you the money you want.” The employer was back in Baltimore MD and at the time I was in Newark DE. After a very short back and forth, I replied to the email and set up an interview. When you see Justin Tucker line up for a field goal, you know its money; when I wear a suit and carry a briefcase, you know the vibes. I smoked that interview lol. I was voluble, having felt comfortable with the entire office as there had been great retention in employees since I left. I exercised my newly found knowledge of CFA level II concepts and asked thought provoking questions. It was all good until an actual CFA charterholder walked into the room and made me look foolish (Dave is my guy, but you didn’t have to ask me that difficult of an interview question lol). God always has a way of humbling me. To keep the story brief, I was offered the role and we came to an agreement on salary (always negotiate!). I actually gave JP an opportunity to counter, but they knew the vibes. In the midst of studying for my CFA level II, I was going to move back to MD and start a new job with additional responsibilities in less than a month.

If you asked me a year ago if I would ever consider moving back in with my mom, I would have laughed you out the room. I decided to move back in with my mom in Baltimore after realizing I want my next home to be a house. I’m able to help my mom out with bills and rent while she helps me by taking away my grocery bills. The only big problem with moving back home was that we had no WIFI. This is an entirely long explanation to blog about, but just understand that my mom has an office she goes to every weekday and didn’t bother with WIFI at home. My CFA level II study material was online, and I had to resort to studying off my iPhone 7. I can’t begin to describe how difficult it was to read multiple paragraph size questions a phone. Wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Regardless of the obstacles, I kept on studying while learning a new role and moving all of my things from Delaware with no help (shout out to Mark for pulling through with his truck at the last minute).

May 19th comes, and I turn 29. I am a 29-year-old living with his mom and no WIFI. As depressing as that sounds, I was making the most money I ever made, close to family, eating 3 (sometimes 4) square meals a day, and leading monthly mentoring sessions in DE. I spent my birthday with family and writing some more thoughts down. Friends called and tried to get me out, but I was very hermetic and invited them to stay in with me.

Quicksand – A loose wet sand that yields easily to pressure and sucks in anything resting on or falling into it.

Sometimes you need a good walk down memory lane to remind yourself of all the fun you had in the midst of the maelstrom. I did not pass the CFA level 2 exam, but it is with great pleasure that I announce I will give it my 2nd try next year! I really want this and will not let a little disappointment along the journey stop me. After all, my guy Dave who I mentioned earlier spent well over 3 years getting his full CFA designation (thank you Dave for your kind words and inspiration).

Here is a brief recap of the joy studying for my exam brought me.

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