The COVID pandemic pushed me into financial services

To say that my career has changed since the start of the global pandemic is a huge understatement.

It was spring 2020. I was a senior at Belmont University in Nashville majoring in music business. After a huge amount of work, the career I had dreamed of since I was in college – one in live music and event production – was about to begin.

During my freshman year, I had been fortunate enough to intern at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival – aka my favorite place on Earth and the reason I fell in love with live music. There, I gained behind-the-scenes experience. As graduation approached in March 2020, I scored an interview with Superfly Productions, the company that produced Bonnaroo. The stars were aligned for me to achieve my dream.

And then I lost everything in a few days.

Live events have stopped. During the interview, they told me that they have halted their hiring process for the foreseeable future. I came home to end my college career staring at a screen and didn’t have the graduation ceremony and celebration I so desperately wanted.

As for my future career, it seemed like everything had fallen through the cracks. No one knew when Live Events would return and if they would ever return to their old capacity. I felt lost and hopeless with no tangible solution in sight.

After months of staring into the abyss, I contacted a mentor I had known since I was a freshman in high school. I told Land Bridgers, CEO of Integrated financial group, that I wanted to change my life for personal and professional reasons and try to find a new direction. Land told me that his Investment Solutions team was looking to add a new trading assistant.

Other than a few accounting and finance courses I had taken in college, I had no experience in the financial industry, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from pursuing this incredible opportunity. I accepted the invitation for an interview and within a month I was hired as a new sales assistant. In March 2021 – a year after my world became chaotic – I started working at the company.

Run under pressure
My main responsibilities in my current role as a Trade Assistant all revolve around executing transactions for a number of Financial Advisors so they can focus on growing their business and managing client relationships without any the stress of day-to-day transactions.

And the stress and intensity that comes with executing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of trades with 100% accuracy while beating the closing bell – sometimes with seconds to spare – can be intense! This forced me to significantly increase my adaptability, which allowed me to process a large amount of information in a short time. In the end, it allowed me to thrive in my new environment.

One aspect of the job that I never expected to enjoy is the satisfaction I feel at the end of each day knowing that I have helped people and made a difference. I’m proud to trade with people’s hard-earned money, which in some cases they’ve worked their whole lives to earn. If I make a mistake, there could be serious repercussions, so I pride myself on being diligent, thorough and very detail oriented with every transaction so that I can give our advisors and their clients peace of mind by knowing that their money is being managed. The right way.

The adrenaline rush and gratification that comes with knowing I’m doing something important and performing it well under pressure keeps me coming back to work every day. I couldn’t be happier with the decision to step out of my comfort zone and change my life. I love my team at IFG, who were so welcoming and patient and helped me get out of a hole I saw no way out of.

Now, two years later, I can honestly say I’m glad my life has been turned upside down. I’m a better person because of it. I’m more motivated than ever, and while it’s confusing to think about, the pandemic has actually saved my life and my career.