Polished shoes. Sharp freshly pressed suit. A whistle on my lips and a spring in my step. I remember the first time I went into New York City for an interview out of college. Head in the clouds and ready to change the world. Now I would love to say over 15 years later that fateful day changed everything, but then I would be lying. In reality I went on a handful of interviews in the city that never sleeps, and in the end I ended up working at a real estate company in Morris Plains, NJ, because as a sales associate my Mom was able to get me an interview. Equipped with a Bachelor of Science in Economics, a Bachelor of Arts in Music, and a minor in Mathematics, I began my professional career as a Project Coordinator for a real estate recruiting department, which was a made up title for the new guy who did whatever my boss asked of me (my boss incidentally had just started in his new job in this recently created department a week before).
My first project is one that I will never forget and laid the foundation for the advice I would give to anyone starting out in the business world. Monday morning my boss came into my office, which was comprised of four cubical like work areas, and dropped a bag on my desk. This was it! The big show. The moment I had been waiting four years for was finally here! All of the classes. All of the studying and papers. All of the thought provoking debates till 3 a.m. with roommates (also 2 a.m. runs to Dorians for their mouth watering Hot Turkey and Bacon toasted sub). In this bag was the start of my rise to the top! Business books about my life will contain this bag and the unknown contents within it. Was it the financial records of my company and I was going to be asked to cut 30% of the budget? Was it a new proposed merger and I needed to analyze whether or not to go through with it (I may have watched The Secret of My Success a little too much as a teenager)?
No. It was none of those things.