Why I Didn't Go Into Investment Banking by Guest Blogger Vanessa Van Petten

Vanessa Van Petten is the teen author of the book “You’re Grounded!”—a parenting book from a young perspective. She keeps an active teen blog for parents who want to know what their kids are really doing online, at High School parties or when parents are looking the other way. Her candid and young perspective, as well her constant survey of resources and updates about this generation of young people are a treasure trove for parents.

I was on the perfect track. Was student body president of an upper snuff Los Angeles private school. Got accepted into a top 20 University and became a Mandarin and East Asian Studies major before the wave hit?????–so everyone was in desperate need of white female Asia specialists. Wrote an honors thesis and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

I had a bid from a top investment banking firm in New York—everything was perfect. It was not until my parents were filming me with the family video camera “how do you feel!? Are you excited? Sad the best years of your life are ending!?”

How did I feel?

Are you excited?

Sad the best years of your life are ending?!
Those were the best years of my life…oh my god, I just realized, I hated college.

I did hate college—but I didn’t realize it until graduation day. That’s when I knew I was on the wrong track. I wrote a thesis because that is what I thought you were supposed to do, I was a Mandarin major because it ‘was the golden ticket into any job you want’ and it sounded impressive. I realized it was so shallow.

I’ll spare you the details of my obnoxious meltdown and subsequent soul searching melodrama and fill you in briefly to the first part of the story. When I was in High School I did get into some trouble, nothing serious, a little boy crazy that’s all, had trouble with the whole curfew thing. HARD TRANSITION In that time, I decided that all of the parenting books out there had to be doing everything wrong because all of my friends were doing dumb things and hated their parents.

So, I started interviewing hundreds of other teenagers to compile our own parenting book, with advice we wish our parents would know. It was awesome, it was fun, it was empowering, it was challenging and the parents who read it loved it. Then I got back on track, and left the book in my computer.
Somewhere in the deepest depths of my mental break I remembered the passion I had for helping teens and parents…and knew that’s what I had to do. I turned down the IB offer, ran from the world of finance and started to work on convincing my parents I wasn’t crazy—but that I had just woken up.

It wasn’t easy spending my savings on publishing my book and hiring six employees in India to help me develop my website idea for parents and teens to connect in the online arena, but my goodness has it been fun.

As an entrepreneur, pro-blogger, author, youth coach and parent speaker (got to bring in the money somehow right?)—the hardest part is my own fear of failing and that I am my own worst boss. But, finally I made a choice for the right reason, finally I am having fun at what I do, finally I am awake…and living my life, not the life I think I should live.