"You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...." With that song stuck in my head, I finish my last work tasks at a Big Four accounting firm.
The thoughtful and personalized goodbye email. "Good luck with everything. Let me know if you need anything, okay?" I shake my college friend's hand for the last time as I leave the lunch room and walk towards the exit.
Sure, it wasn't a job that I was in love with, but it comes with meaningful context.
Eleven years of studying, working my ass off, and overcoming adversity led me to a job at a prestigious accounting firm in New York City right out of college.
This job was my first step out of poverty. With this job, I finally had enough to support my brother's living expenses (for medical school). That, and my starting salary more than doubled my mom's wages. By most accounts, I had finally "made it". All my work had paid off.
Or so it seemed.
For reasons outside of my control (don't worry, I didn't do anything unlawful), I couldn't legally continue working at my job anymore. My last day of employment started a 60-day timer in which I had to leave the United States.
As you can imagine, coping with this was difficult at first. I chose not to publicly say anything about it for a long time.
But somehow, on this day of all days, despite my world seemingly falling apart, I actually felt extremely calm. Not only that, but I felt a quiet confidence that I rarely ever felt before.
Carla later called this a connection to my "higher self". In the face of the biggest challenge and most drastic change of my life, I seemingly caught a glimpse of the best version of me.
And that reaffirmed my belief that when it mattered the most, I could perform under pressure. That I'd earned my right to be clutch when it counts.
Walking through the revolving doors one last time, I step outside into the corner of 42nd street and Madison Avenue. Thus began my leap of faith into the life that I live today.
If you get nothing else from this story, I encourage you to think about this. Next time you're in a particularly difficult or challenging situation, ask yourself this question. "What would your best and bravest self do?"