Tomorrow I'm set to speak to a classroom filled with young eyes, hearts, and minds for a Junior Achievement workshop day based around the idea of financial awareness. It's strange to think that I'm at the point where I can share the do's and don't's of financial literacy when I've failed to balance a checkbook or even keep track of my accounts for close to twenty five years now of my life!
By no means am I rich or on top of the financial game, instead I'm living paycheck to paycheck hoping that the paychecks and periodic bonuses continue to come my way. This is what maturity looks like huh? I suppose I've placed a stop on the purchase of Jordan's and replaced that urge with camera equipment and random trips outside of the USA.
So tomorrow we're set to walk into a low income elementary school and tell that what it's supposed to look like when they're our age. Look, I'm the business portfolio manager who would rather use vacation hours than worry about a Tesla, BMW, or Mercedes, "All of this stuff is fluff if you're not doing what you love."
The kids should sniff it out, I mean the realness from the staged. You want to win kids over who've probably never stepped foot inside of bank before, you do not provide them with canned rhetoric and reading material, you allow them to sit at your desk, meet a client or two of yours, and then let them see, touch, ask questions as to how does this all works.
I have people within my own company who talk garbage about me and the same can be said in return, me of some of them, but tomorrow we'll all smile at each other and act as though we're one big happy cohesive banking front. Well, I'll probably just be me, a person whom kids can identify with but one who still gives wound up adults fits.
IF memory serves me correctly I was just being outed via email less than a year ago because I wasn't in bank attire and also because I wear earring from time to time (Kanye Shrug). This memory takes me back almost four and a half years ago when I asked James Hall, a VP at Wells Fargo (also an African American) how I could advance within the company, within my career and he said, "Look at how you dress, your hair, the earrings, it's loud, you would need to tone down your appearance. How do you think your appearance would translate to a caucasian man in his mid to late sixties who owns a corporation?"
Tomorrow I'm set to speak to a classroom filled with young eyes, hearts, and minds, kids who are expected to fail due to their circumstances; I'm to read the material presented as this is their roadmap for the day. I think tomorrow I might tell the kids that they can dream and achieve success by simply persevering and placing one foot in front of the other.
Imagine if I had taken my personality and tucked it away due to someone else's opinion of me, imagine if we continue to not allow our youth to think outside of the boxes created for them. "I know what the book says but I want you to put it in your words, what do you think it looks like...."
Tomorrow I'm set to speak to a classroom of kids and I hope to learn from them as much as I hope they learn from me, you know the guy who doesn't look like the rest of the financial literacy crew.
Don't forget to dream, also try never to become too old whilst living!