Tunnel Vision

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Christopher, 1986-

“When I have the mentality that I know it all, then I don’t need to research, I don’t need to try and grow, I don’t need to talk to people, I don’t need to learn because I already know all the answers.”

Born and raised in Sacramento, I’m the youngest of four siblings. I was actually a really good student, and a good soccer player. About three years ago, after working in banking for about five years, I decided I wanted to explore the world. It was a process, I was unhappy. I was making good money, and attained at a young age everything my parents wanted me to aspire to: a house, a car, a career. I was 22 when I bought my condo. All the things I thought would bring me happiness, and worked hard to get, were short-lived in reality. It didn’t make me happier, in fact I was depressed, and ended up in a psych ward on 5150*.

A typical day in my life before the street, I would wake up, shower, throw on a shirt and tie, and drive to the bank. I worked at Patelco Credit Union at the time. I was doing about thirty loans a month. So I was closing one loan a day on average. Really busy, really stressful. On a typical day, I would write anywhere from 30 to 40 emails a day. I had to coordinate usually with two borrowers, a processor on the loan, an escrow agent, an appraiser on the house, title, escrow people, selling agent, and buyers’ agent. So, with one loan, I would be contacting anywhere from 6 to 10 people. My pipeline had anywhere from 50 to 20 loans. I was a busy, busy person. I was ambitious and young, and I was trying to get out into the business world.

When I look back, I was hired by Wells Fargo in the fall, I just started my senior year. I remember how excited my father was, he smiles. He was also a little worried because he thought I probably would not go to college, but he thought I just accomplished the greatest feat in the world. And I look back at it now and I laugh, you know? Living on the street opened my eyes, I had such a narrow, tunnel vision idea of what life was about. I still don’t know what it is about, but there is a lot more to it than a job, money, career. I’m still unhappy on the street, still suffering from depression and being treated by Berkeley Mental Health, but life on the street definitely opened my eyes. I’m well-educated, and if I wanted to go back, I could. It is definitely not what I want.

Because of my accomplishments, there were times at the bank, I felt like I knew it all. I was young and getting promoted ahead of my seniors, my ego exploded. But the ideal I subscribe to today is that I never want to stop learning, to think I know it all, because the second I do that, I cut myself off from growth. When I have the mentality that I know it all, then I don’t need to research, I don’t need to try and grow, I don’t need to talk to people, I don’t need to learn because I already know all the answers. So, I never want to get that crippling mindset.

* 5150 stands for an involuntary hospitalization in a psychiatric hospital/ward.


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