Here at TNM, we have a large community of people who are inspired by our words, tips, and real world advice. Last month we featured three of our contributing editors who help us generate content. This month we are featuring some members of our greater community who are equally as inspiring through the Tell Us Your Story: Young Professional Series here on our blog. These people have found their Niche, and want to share their story with you.
Our third feature is young professional Ted Morman, who picked up and moved to Dc in order to switch from a long career in teaching finance to target careers in kleptocracy, foreign corruption, and illicit finance.
Ted Moorman is a young professional from Brenham, Texas. Raised in a family of attorneys, early in his career he made the decision to follow his own passions, economics and finance, instead of following the path of those before him. This started a significant trend in Ted’s life: following passions and taking on challenges.
His passion for learning, as well as his intelligence were a clear sign that teaching could be the right path for him. He went on to get his PhD in Finance from Texas A&M, graduating in 2004, and focused on lots of high level financial research. After completing his PhD, finding a teaching job was not so easy but eventually accepted a year-long position as a visiting professor at University of New Hampshire. After a year, in 2006 he switched to an assistant professor job at Northern Illinois University where he felt like he truly thrived. He stayed for four years and published many journals, having more success than he ever had hoped for.
Before he got his PhD, he was told that “If you get a PhD from a school in Texas, you will never get a job teaching at a school in Texas.” Once again, though, Ted took on this challenge. For the first time in 15 years Baylor University, a school in Texas very close to his family, opened up a position in his field. Breaking the advice he was given, he applied, interviewed, and was, in fact hired despite having a PhD from Texas, defying all odds.
Though Ted was excited for and needed as his new job, it was in a research area that he wasn't familiar with, was not as successful as he had hoped. Sometimes, even a job you think might be “the one” ends up as a mismatch. For Ted, the mismatch meant only one paper was published, and he had a difficult time dealing with others who told him that his efforts to build a formula to develop an investment portfolio wouldn't work. He shifted into the forensic finance research realm, focusing on the idea of uncovering criminal activity through financial research. Through all of this hard work, Ted came to a difficult realization: all he was getting from his long hours of research was a paper. He wasn't getting the challenge he desired. He wanted to put all of his knowledge to use in a bigger way. He wanted to see justice done and create change in the world and help others.
This is when Ted, with a wife and three kids at his side, made the choice to take a leap. He moved to DC just last year, without a job lined up but to seek work he knew he was passionate about and had spent his entire professional life building up to. With extensive knowledge of financial crimes, Ted focused his job search into policy regulatory and financial crimes enforcement. Since then he realized he cares more about people and victims than the actual money and shifted to focus on Kleptocracy. Kleptocracy is, by definition, “Government by those who seek chiefly status and personal gain at the expensive of the governed.” In less democratic, more kleptocratic countries, the people have little power and are significantly worse off from each dollar taken from them.
When others around him suggested taking on another huge challenge, starting his own company developing software in the Kleptocracy field, he began developing his business plan. He then realized that he did not enjoy that and realized there is a lot involved for working for yourself, such as marketing and management, hiring, and networking to market his software to the government. He has since returned back to what he knows: the job search. A place where many professionals wind up.
The job search is the phase Ted is in right now. He has not yet had his “ah-hah” moment, and has not yet found his “dream job”. And that is okay. He is in a period that so many of us are familiar with: the tumultuous search. Like many of us, he is having interview after interview, working on building his network, taking advice from many mentors. He is even working on getting security clearance to work in the government. Throughout the ups and downs of his career thus far Ted has five key pieces of advice to offer:
Ted suggests that when searching for a job, time should be spent 50% networking/50% applying. “Academia doesn't require much networking, but now networking has become everything for me”, he notes.
A. Targeted. “Spend some time general networking, but more time targeted networking. In the best case scenario, you connect with someone who is welling to connect you with their entire network too, and vice versa.”
B. Think tanks. “Think tank events are a great place to meet people, and exchange information with people who are affiliated with people that you want to be affiliated with.”
2. Build specialized resumes.
For Ted, this means having “one resume geared towards data analytics and one geared towards intelligence.” But this is applicable to most, it is best to change your resume for each job you apply to based off their job requirements.
3. Find an honest mentor.
Honesty is always the best policy. People who come into your job search and are frank with you are “hard to find but the most important,” Ted suggests. Sometimes you need to hear what you don't want to hear.
4. Always read.
Ted loves reading and has spent a lot of time reading books having to do with his desired field. He notes that, “reading gives people new perspectives and additional context in which they consider the world events.” Two of his favorite books are Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World by Nicholas Shaxon and Treasury’s War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare by Juan Zarate.
5. Cold call/email/LinkedIn message.
The worst someone can do is not reply. That’s a pretty minor consequence considering all of the other possible positive outcomes.