Serving in both my day job and night job

I come from a service-oriented family. From teachers and nurses to law enforcement and the military, my parents, grandparents, siblings, and even in-laws have all fields covered. So you can imagine how much of an oddball I was when I decided to pursue a career in finance after really enjoying my business classes in college. I had a personal dilemma of feeling like I needed to choose a career path that either put me or put others first. I graduated college in the midst of the global financial crisis, during which the reputation for most firms in the industry was at an all-time low. I pictured my future self sitting at a family dinner and talking about my day working with investments, and then hearing about family members saving lives or risking theirs for complete strangers. Talk about humbling.

Doing well while doing good

In researching companies with whom I wanted to work, Vanguard rose to the top after I spoke with a few crew members through mutual college friends. The biggest thing that struck me was the way they spoke about helping investors, genuinely putting others first, and the client and community-centered culture. I had a flashback to interviewing for another financial services firm where I was asked how many wealthy people I knew so that I could begin selling them products (Answer: Not many, and no thank you). At Vanguard, there seemed to be an opportunity to mix both ‘doing well’ in building a great career and ‘doing good’ for others through service.

My ‘day job’: Serving our clients

Fast forward eight years and Vanguard has given me the opportunity to help serve in both my ‘day’ and ‘night’ jobs. In my ‘day job’, I lead a team of investment analysts in our Personal Advisor Services group, where my team is responsible for building out the methodology used to construct and manage our clients’ portfolios. Each day, we work to solve complex issues that will ultimately impact our clients’ ability to reach their financial goals. Knowing what is riding on our success is a terrific motivating factor and our entire team is focused on the collective goal of doing the right thing for our clients.

I also get to see Vanguard’s financial advisors helping clients that need it most: those that don’t have the time, willingness, or ability to manage their money. I get to hear real stories about our crew making a difference in people’s lives by helping them achieve a goal or giving them peace of mind in volatile markets.

My ‘night job’: Serving the community

In my ‘night job’, I am a member of the leadership team for My Classroom Economy, a completely free financial literacy program that enables educators to teach children financial responsibility. The program was developed by an incredible group of volunteers, many of whom were educators prior to working at Vanguard, and has reached over 800,000 students. I lead a team focused on building partnerships at the state and federal level, and pushing for district, county, and state-wide adoption of financial responsibility programs. Our ultimate goal is to ensure children receive the basic financial responsibility education they need, as having this skill has been proven to play such an important role in their lives.

Earlier this year, two peers and I went to Washington D.C. to meet with staff members in the Treasury Department, House, and Senate, in an effort to promote the importance of teaching financial literacy at an early age. We were frequently asked how much the program costs and, after saying it is 100% free, are asked “What’s in it for Vanguard, then?” The truth is that the program is powered completely by Vanguard volunteers, each and every one of us are driven to serve and make a positive difference in the community for no other reason than that it is the right thing to do.

If you’re currently seeking a job or choosing a career path, my advice would be don’t compromise on what is most important to you (your ‘non-negotiables’) and find a company you would be proud to represent. Doing this requires that you take the time to reflect on what you won’t compromise and do your due diligence to learn about the culture at prospective employers. My non-negotiables were working for an organization with a service mindset and for which there would be no conflict of interest between our success and our client’s success. I’m incredibly proud to represent Vanguard in both my ‘day’ and ‘night’ jobs, and I now have great stories to tell at the dinner table!

-Nick L.

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