Tuesday, August 9, 2016

My Career Advice and the basis for my advice

Late in my Junior year at The Georgia Institute of Technology, I began interviewing with companies seeking me out and those I wanted to see based on perception.  Since I paid for my own education at great sacrifice and effort, I thought being paid the most was the definition of success.  Given I would graduate at the top of my class, I had a case of the “big ego”.

After 10-15 interviews and high offers from the top Consulting Firms, I was confident my starting salary and Consultant Title would be in line with my perception of success and status.  I had one
more interview with a bank, First Atlanta, they invented Tillie the Teller “One of the first ATMs”.  My interview was with Roger White, a tenured and Senior Banker at the Operations Facility on Piedmont Rd.

He asked me what I wanted to accomplish with my career.  I told him I would probably accept a Consultant job with one of the big eight accounting firms.  Today I think it is the big four?  He asked me how I was going to consult without any experience?  In my mind, I thought yikes did not think about that. 

Mr. White said no matter what I do, follow these basic principles:
1.       Never get on a crowded elevator
2.       Never drive in traffic
3.       Build your skill set and the money will follow

He told me that he would create a position that would allow me to understand all aspects of banking which will create a core knowledge base to build a career on.

My offer letter from Mr. White arrived and it was my lowest yet by $15,000.  Mr. White created a position, System Wide MA, that would expose me to all aspects of Banking: Retail, Commercial, Cash Management, Bank Engineering, Proof/Sorter Operations, even down to vault operations.  Most college graduates are hired into one area only and become that one discipline for the rest of their careers.  Basically Mr. White gave me a pass to understand banking from A to Z.  Not sure why I decided to listen given I thought I knew what I was doing.  Mr. White had good points and his logic made sense for a long career game.  I accepted and it was the smartest decision I made next to toughing out a GaTech education.

For two years until Wachovia bought First Atlanta, Mr. White governed my career and delivered what he said he would.  He created a fundamental skill set that allowed me to be a step ahead.  The money took care of itself; however, the foundation of skill gave me the ability to create stable
strong profit centers in Banking and ultimately create one of the most stable, profitable, and oldest but most innovative Mortgage Companies in Georgia.  To this day, I help develop others and pay forward what Mr. White did for me.

This is what I would add to Mr. White’s advice above:
·       You do not want to work for someone, you want to work with someone
·       Although being paid your worth is important, build your worth.  Worth is built through knowledge and skill
·       Work with someone with a consistent proven record that will help you learn the right skills
·       If you emulate a zebra, you will wind up a zebra.  Be sure zebra's are successful in your industry
·       You have to trust the person when you put your career in their hands; however, with that trust the person should be your fiduciary
·       People tend to poke at success because they envy “green eyed monsters” and do not understand how to attain it.  Embrace the attention, you earned it
·       Invest in yourself, be patient, and look for that mentor that has a record of helping others be successful.  Avoid users that only want to lift themselves temporarily
·       If a leader truly has this industry or any industry figured out, they do need to move around to enjoy tremendous success
·       Those with success do not move around and are exactly who you want to emulate and build your skill set.  Find your fit, move, then follow my advice
·       Look at the most successful companies in the US, their core teams stay on task and they all win in the end or get promoted to carry on the torch
Sincerely yours,

Cal Haupt
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Southeast Mortgage of Georgia, Inc.

1 comment:

Mike Coffey said...

Great insight and advice. Thank you for sharing.