From the Bottom, Part I


It’s my favorite tag in all Inner Reign.

‘Bout to get braggadocious for a second, ‘bout to get hype.

No matter who you are, you can’t help but love a redemption story.

The Cubs finally winning a World Series.

Lebron setting everything right with Cleveland, winning a championship.

I’m still writing mine.

I don’t know where I’m going to end up.

But I love my story so far.

Going into my senior year I had a million in free rides between academics, Teaching Fellows, and athletics, including two appointments to military service academies.

Before that kind of thing was celebrated on Instagram.

Despite all the success, I was forced into an environment, where I wasn’t able to thrive.

Told by my own father, if I failed, I couldn’t come back home.

I can admit I didn’t have the right mindset back then to make it at the Air Force Academy; too worried about my peers having an actual summer, living a real college experience.

Chalked it up as an L; something I could learn from.



At 19, with my 1.3 GPA intact, I transferred from one university in the mountains to another, where the total population size was smaller than my HS graduating class.

That summer, with only Harris Teeter bagger and Cici’s Pizza busboy on my resume, I got an opportunity that changed my life.

Naw it wasn’t a hookup, I still had to interview and take assessments, etc.

A financial advisor looking to make a referral bonus advised that I be a teller.

Without that narrow opening, who knows where I would have ended up.

Recruiters weren’t coming to my school to look for talent.

Quite honestly, I don’t blame them.

So, I didn’t have an internship to insert me into the workforce.

My undergraduate program, ironically enough, required an internship to graduate.

With no recruiters, no car, no license, I begged the business administration professors for an exception due to my circumstances.

They created an independent tax program for me to complete so that I could graduate.

Post cap and gown celebrations, I started from the bottom of the organizational chain: a teller in the financial services industry.

It took 14 months of applying, but I eventually got hired by an accounting department looking for entry-level workers to give me a shot.

Those 14 months prior to being hired to the new role, I never got a single call back.

Not even a sniff of an interview.

Just decline email after decline email.

Eventually with each promotion, I ran into people who got roles because their mother worked in the department.

Or because they were in the same professional networks.

The workforce is no different from high school: cliquish.

My last promotion, I really had someone ask me, “Wow, you got the job and you really don’t know anybody in the department already?”

I just chuckled but, in my mind, I wanted to tell her, “FUCK NO, and I’ve been doing it like this for YEARS.”

No internships.

No Big 4 experience.

No CPA in the email signature.

No inside person that was going to hand me the job on a platter.

Just teary bus rides.

Just decisions to use your last 12 dollars to Uber to that interview, instead of buying food.

Just guile, and grit, and hardships, and setbacks, and determination, and finesse, and the will to get back up when failure was like “HeY bUdDy, It’S mE aGaIn.”

I imagine this is what failure looks like. . .


Crafting different resumes for every job I wanted.

Writing interview responses and practicing in the mirror until I was hoarse.

Doing research on regulations and emerging markets, to show how bad I wanted it.

Over . . . and over and over again.

I’m proud of where I came from.

The bottom.

It’s exactly why I’ve made it as far as I have.


Weather Your Storm, Maintain Inner Reign-E.

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