Picture it: I was a lanky, college kid who loved books and business. An ENTJ
. And, admittedly, a textbook Te-dom. Friendly, but just a little too
intense. And all I wanted for Christmas, birthdays and graduation was a fulfilling career using my gifts
. That’s it.
In what field? Who knows?! What role? Who cares?! I just knew that becoming an academic—like my dad, a quiet professor whose nose was forever in a book—was simply not right for me.
Nor did I want to drop $85,000 on grad school
. (I was already $35,000 in debt!
) So I had a decision to make: do I take the well-trodden path, or do I try to forge my own?
If I wanted to forge my own path
, I needed to know what steps to take. Where do I go? How do I figure out what to do with my life?
Now, remember, I’m an ENTJ, leading with Effectiveness, or extraverted thinking. Look. I love a good action step
, but what do you do when you don’t know what to do? My hair was literally falling out from stress.
So I decided to get the perspectives of real people in the real world
. I started looking up successful people
online, those who seemed to have a fulfilling career
. I combed through the corners of the web, hunting for their cellphone numbers and email addresses. I organized them into a spreadsheet. Why? Why all this toil?
Because I needed an answer. I needed to know their secre
t. Now, let's be clear...
Dialing a stranger’s number was one of the scariest things I’d ever done in my life. My heart was thumping, my hands were clammy and wet, as the dial tone rang.
Most of my tries were unsuccessful, not all of them. For example, I met a VP from Coke. His team concocted a new drink for Coca-Cola, using natural sweeteners while courting the FDA. He always wore a tailored Italian jacket with a pocket square, for a pop, paired with dark, denim jeans and Italian loafers. No socks. Yup. One of those.
Anyway, one by one, I worked my way down my list, calling, connecting and emailing interesting people. In short time, my project paid off. I went from having stale career chats with my guidance counselor to running in circles with high-powered people.
The experience was life changing. And odd because I almost felt like I was living two seperate lives: on one hand, I was a t-shirt-wearing college kid living off loans and ramen. And on the other, I was a young, well-connected professional— with the contact list of my dreams! Hobnobbing with CEOs and rubbing elbows with celebrities. Crazy, right?!
I was jumping between English 1101 and private yacht parties. Between my school cafeteria and a luxury-wine tastings. With the likes of Chris Tucker, Heads of State and more...