This week’s edition of Beyond the Cupola features Daniel Parker, a banker at Oconee State Bank. Daniel shares his experience following his college graduation as he searched for a career. What Daniel found instead was another home. Here at OSB, we talk frequently about how much we value our people, and Daniel’s story is a prime example of how we live it. Read his story below.
Sanford Stadium, May 5, 2017–Tassels were moved, motherboards were thrown, and just like that, I was a Georgia Bulldawg. Needless to say, I was in complete ecstasy for the next few months. I finally had free time; no more term papers, lecture halls, midterms and finals, and practicum hours without pay. Problem was that during my months of college-free bliss I thought about the career that I had selected for myself. What I had envisioned when I was younger was much different than the reality that I had experienced. I found my career to be lonely, without peer collaboration, void of creative control, and ungratifying. I was perplexed, disheartened, and looking for a way out and into a brighter future.
Then my world changed.
Knowing of my dilemma, my grandmother made an astute suggestion. While we were talking about my career one day, she suggested that I try to apply my skills at banking. At the time, this was a difficult suggestion for me to comprehend. Certainly, I was apt at math and the like and had experience in customer service, but I had little knowledge of the banking industry. My dear grandmother and my supportive wife persisted and said that my grandfather had a similar career-changing decision to make when he was younger and ended up having a successful career as an executive vice president of a community bank. Following my family’s advice and having lived in Oconee for the last decade, I sought a position at the local community bank.
This decision, though one of the hardest I had to make, has led me to a happier and brighter future.
Words can hardly begin to describe the admiration that I have for my work and my coworkers at Oconee State Bank. I am constantly challenged and motivated to improve my skillsets through my daily work, an aspect that was frequently missed in my previous career. Team members throughout the bank are welcoming, supportive, and concerned for the wellbeing and professional and personal growth of their coworkers. As I write this, I am reminded of my first month with the bank. I was showered with gifts, cards, and emails from many team members, from various positions, bidding me welcome and hope for a prosperous and fulfilling career. On my first week, I even got to meet the president and CEO of the bank, Neil Stevens; a statement that I am sure only a minute percentage of corporate bankers can replicate. After more than a year and a half of service, I can confidently and unconditionally say that this inspiring treatment has persevered and been enhanced. Oconee State Bank, you took a chance on me when I was confused, dispirited, and unconfident in my career choice, and provided me a more viable and enjoyable livelihood. You have truly marked my life and for that, I am eternally grateful. I am eager to provide many more years of service and excited to see where I will go next to this remarkable institution.