My Time at Goldman
A few years into my career at Goldman Sachs, I got a phone call from a recruiter for another company. This wasn't unusual, but a question he asked stuck with me. When he probed a bit about my willingness to leave and detected my hesitation at that point, he posited "So you're a Goldman guy for life, eh?"
I didn't plan on being a Goldman guy for life, but I also had several things I wanted to accomplish before leaving. I wanted to establish myself as a leader within my team and within the Salt Lake office. I wanted to advance to become a vice president. I wanted ensure that I created some lasting products.
Fortunately I was able to accomplish all of those things. I proposed Goldman begin to participate in the Salt Lake Corporate Games, and led the whole office in coordinating that effort for five years. It included hundreds of people each year, and over 40 teams. And each year our office was in the running to win first place. Our best finish, in my final year, was third place. A huge accomplishment. I also established myself as our team leader, taking on a mentoring and leadership role for the Salt Lake fixed income group. And in just over 5 years, I was promoted to vice president. In my final few years at Goldman, I also led the creation of multiple new products. This consisted of financial products, including three new money market mutual funds, as well as technology products, including investment tools and internal and external websites. You can learn more about my journey into product management in this post.
It was after I reached many of these milestones though, that I started to think deeply about what was next for me.
My Decision to Move
In college, I struggled initially with deciding on a degree path. I enjoyed business and management. I seemed to have an affinity for finance. I was surprisingly adept at accounting. I loved technology. Ultimately, I settled on pursing a degree in finance since it would give me a path in a few of the areas I enjoyed. It was also a way that I could help people. Money will never go away. And people/businesses will always need help in that area. So it was decided. I would go into finance to ultimately help people achieve their goals.
After nearly seven years at Goldman Sachs, I began to really think hard about what was next. There were many options for me still. I could continue in my role, taking on more projects and helping to grow the Salt Lake office. I could take a trading job in New York, and move my family out there. Or I could begin to pursue other opportunities.
I also began to really evaluate what I wanted my legacy to be. A few conversations I was having with family and friends had turned my thoughts to the very long-term. When looking back on my career, what did I want to have accomplished? What mark was I going to leave? What would bring me the most joy?
When I initially got into finance, it was with the intention of helping people. And while I certainly think there is a role in helping large institutions that ultimately impacts individuals, I felt too far removed from my original goal. And in my role as a product manager, I found myself the most passionate about the technology products I was creating, rather than the financial side.
So with all of that in mind, I knew that the next step for me would be a technology focused role that had a significant impact on individuals. Creating the products that could improve or change lives.
In order to accomplish this, I first decided that I should expand and "level up" my tech skills. So I did a coding bootcamp in the evenings and started to teach myself coding wherever I could. This of course helped in my existing role working with development teams, and set me up to better be able to move fully into the tech space.
I also primarily focused my job search on the education space. I knew that there is no way to make a bigger impact on people than to help them change their own lives through education.
Fortunately for me, my own decision to move on aligned with the build out of the product management organization at Western Governors University. And a great fit was made.
So I left my role with Goldman Sachs in March, and straightaway started as a Senior Product Manager with WGU.
When you're going through things in the moment, it can often be hard to be grateful. I know that is certainly the case with many things in our careers, and is certainly the case with many of my experiences at Goldman. There were some really tough times. But ultimately I'm grateful for the opportunities I had there and the things I accomplished. I'm already looking back nostalgically on a few things (though other things might take a little more time still).
I learned a great many lessons in my time, and hope to continue to build on those experiences as I build the next generation of products that are going to change people's lives.
My personal musings on a variety of topics.