Letter to My Younger Self: Joyce Brayboy, Executive Office, Washington, D.C.

22 JAN 2021

Joyce Brayboy, a managing director in our Executive Office Division's Office of Government Affairs, shares advice she would give her younger self.

Dear Joyce,

I know this letter is coming from an unusual source, but I am writing to you from the year 2021.

Joyce Brayboy

As you might have guessed, many technological advances have been made in recent years including the creation of smartphones, emojis and meal-delivery apps just to name a few. However, I am sad to report that although we are in the future, some things in society still haven’t changed, but you will keep pushing for progress.

From an early age, you will always love helping people and this will lead you to pursue a career on Capitol Hill. As a young staffer, you will have many experiences that will shape your future. In fact, one of your favorite opportunities will be participating in a Wall Street 101 trip where you will travel to New York to learn more about the financial sector.

Finance might be the last thing you care about right now, but the trip will introduce you to a certain investment bank for the first time and you’ll instantly know why going was so important.

Many years down the road, you will take a leap of faith by leaving Capitol Hill to join that same investment bank – Goldman Sachs. It will be a culture shock at first, but here, you will meet passionate people who will invest in you and your career in ways that you can’t currently imagine.

Mama always said that I should document things more, especially if they were significant to me. Over the years, as I try to think back on these experiences, I have found that my memories of the places that I have gone and the things that I have accomplished aren’t as vivid as I would like them to be. The reality is we can never really truly remember things if we do not document them in some way. Safe to say, Mama was right and I hate to break it to you, but she will be right about other things too. So, as I try to bring my memories into focus and wrap my mind around this past year filled with unprecedented events, I think it’s time that I put my thoughts on paper for you.

Jeanne Martin Brayboy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 1953, Boston University

Remember Joyce, there’s no better time than the present, so here are five pieces of advice to bring things into perspective:

1. Posting isn’t boasting. It is not only okay to share your accomplishments, it is vitally important for people to be aware of your efforts. It helps establish your credibility and does wonders for building relationships with colleagues. You are in this position for a reason and you have important thought leadership to share. So, be bold and don’t be afraid to flex your strengths.

2. Take a moment. Everything won’t be easy at first. Goldman Sachs will be your first job at a large company and it will be difficult to adjust and will take some time. Success doesn’t happen overnight. For example, the promotion won’t come right away, but you will be able to figure it out and succeed. You have to be willing to better understand your shortcomings and then actively embrace learning new skills. Always be receptive to feedback and continue to grow.

3. Build relationships. You don’t have to do things alone. There are potential mentors, sponsors and networks all around that are willing to help you personally and professionally. People want you to succeed, so don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way and then pay it forward as well.

4. Prioritize yourself. Find out what makes you happy and don’t let anyone take that away from you. You will continue to find great joy in doing the unexpected and making life easier for those around you. Learn to appreciate the simple things, especially as our world continues to evolve.

5. Life is a journey – enjoy the ride. You don’t have to have all of the answers now! Life is about trial, error and discovery. We may never figure out our true purpose, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from stepping outside of your comfort zone. Just because you are in your role today, doesn’t mean that is your final destination. Remember that everyone moves at a different pace, so don’t compare your trajectory to others.