Scene: Senior year of college. First ‘real’ job application. Applying to be a salesperson at a cool software start-up in NYC.
I’d never applied for a job before so I enlisted the help of a college career advisor who had some sound advice.
“For sales roles, they want to know two things – you’re okay with rejection, and you want to make a lot of money.”
see this here Wait, I thought talking about money was a faux pas…
“Don’t say something dumb like ‘I like people!’ if you like people so much, move to China. You’re here to do a job and that job is to make the company, and yourself, a lot of money.”
discover this info here So leave out, “I’m a people person.” Got it.
I spent the next few hours pouring through Glassdoor reviews which just so happened to have a lot of the interview questions posted…
“How many ping pong balls can fit in a 747?”
“Sell me this pen.”
“What’s your biggest weakness?”
I wrote and rewrote my answers and practiced until I knew them cold.
I’ve never lacked in the anxiety department and when it was time for the interview, I felt like I’d just gone 90mph by a speed trap.
The first few questions were pretty standard and I was able to use my rehearsed responses to answer them, but then things got interesting…
“If you could be any animal – what would you be?”
WTF? buy chloroquine Is this a job interview or sorority rush? I think I picked a dolphin.
“If you could teleport 50 years in the future or past, which would you pick?”
Okay, maybe this isn’t so bad. I settled in and answered these odd questions as if we were talking over a beer. They were actually kind of fun.
Everything was going great until the last question caught me by surprise…“If you had an autobiography, what would you call it?”
Uh oh, I hadn’t prepped for this one… “No Regrets” I blurted out.
FUCK. What a dumb answer. I immediately regretted that decision. I’m such a tool. 🤦♂️
But before I could finish my internal self-deprecation my mouth continued on autopilot… “but let me explain that…I don’t mean that in the fratty, millennial ‘bro’ way it sounds – what I mean is I’ve been very fortunate so far in life. I have two awesome brothers and parents who would do anything for me. I grew up in a nice town and have great friends, I have traveled, been on fun sports teams, and had every opportunity a kid could dream of. I’ve been able to take risks, make mistakes, fail, fall and get back up because of the support system I have and I never want to take that for granted. I know not everyone is handed those same opportunities, so it’s up to me to capitalize on them. When it’s all said and done and I’m 95 years old talking to my great, great grandkids, I want to have as few regrets in my life as possible. I want to use my opportunity and gifts to teach one day and I want to be able to look myself in the mirror and honestly say I helped everyone I could along the way. While it may sound cheesy, I think it’s important and it’s how I want to live.”
Where did that come from? What was the question again? Who am I?
Kidding aside, I don’t know where in the bowels of my brain that unfiltered, unrehearsed rant came from, but I’ve been trying to live up to it ever since.
I got the job, but it’s why I eventually left. It’s why I bought a one-way plane ticket to San Francisco and five days later bought a one-way ticket back to live in my parent’s house and start a business. It’s why I risked relationships and took money from friends and family. It’s why I drove Uber and shoveled driveways to keep the company afloat. It’s why I eventually sold the company and moved to Philadelphia not knowing a soul there to start all over again. It’s why I’m writing this.
It is so easy to fall into a rhythm of “I’m going to…” and “One day I will…” but I challenge you to do your best to break the cycle. Take the job – move to a new city – start the company – ask your crush out – say yes to drinks on a Monday night – stay in touch with people who matter to you – do something nice for someone for no reason – send a note to someone going through something negative or congratulate someone’s accomplishment – whether it is big or small, stop thinking about it and just fucking do it.
The older I get, the quicker life seems to move. Windows of opportunity come and go and it’s up to us to jump through them. My 2 cents – leave regret in the past.