I was born in Seoul, Korea and graduated from Korea University, obtaining a BS degree in accounting in 1972. After graduation, I married and began working for a Korean insurance company, with which I employed for the next 9 years. However, at the time, I was longing for further development in employment experience, and decided to come to the United States.
In December 1980, I arrived at Tampa International Airport, Florida and was enrolled in a MBA program at the University Of Tampa, FL. Because this was the first overseas experience in my life, I was very much nervous and questioned if I could be successful in this new country. I gave it a try with all my best efforts, while both enrolled in school and employed full-time. It was crucial for me to support my family, especially since I was the only bread winner. After I finished my graduate program, I tried applying for several jobs in the area, but was unsuccessful. About 30 years ago, the Tampa Bay area was not quite as developed as it is now, and there were not many job opportunities. It was only a quiet resort city with periodic tourist visits.
Therefore, in 1982 I decided to leave the city, and moved to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to search for employment opportunities within federal government agencies. After much hard work and diligence, I was offered a position with the Export-Import Bank of the United States (U.S. Ex-Im Bank) as an accountant at the Treasurer-Controller’s Office. Since I was a brand new employee with foreign nationality, I worked really hard to obtain good credit from my supervisor, who had considerable government experience and a lot of patience, too. I was really appreciative for the help that he extended to me, and I still think about him from time to time.
However, after 13 years of government experience I had to make another big decision in my life: whether to keep my government job and retire from that position, or to choose entirely different field of experience – which was to run my own business as an entrepreneur. After a few years of deep thinking, I chose the latter option, and resigned from the government in January, 1999. It was very sad leaving my co-workers, with whom I had spent a major part of my life sharing all kinds of happiness and sorrows. Nevertheless, I longed for something new and adventurous, with less negative emotion.
After leaving my government position, I opened a printing shop in the Arlington, VA area and began learning a new business, which was not easy for an apprentice like me who had virtually no expertise at all, but only desires and ambitions. To make matters worse, after I had opened the business, the disastrous 9/11 incident of 2001 occurred, leaving the nation’s economy in a temporary recession, as well as all business activities. As a fresh businessman like me, there was no choice but to close shop or sell business ownership to someone with management skills and abilities to stand difficult periods. Fortunately, I could found a young man who had possessed those qualifications to take over my responsibilities, and now I desire to go back to the corporate environment.
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