I graduated UCONN in May of 1978 (by the grace of God and the skin of my teeth - but that's another story). My bride to be and I already had the wedding planned - and it was only 4 months away. Getting a job?? Let's say it was VERY high on my priority list.
Tried as I may, I couldn't find a job that used my degree (a Bachelor of Science in Finance). I had been planning on nepotism for that first job - after all my dad had been with Hartford National Bank for 44 years. Even though he had retired, I figured he'd have enough "pull" to get me a nice cushy bank career. Uh - NO!
Looking back - there were a number of problems in this endeavor. My Grade Point Average and my one and only interview suit which was a brown and cream colored herringbone three piece suit (with a reversible vest - all brown) were only two of the major problems.
Dad called a few of his friends in other companies, and finally got me an interview at Waring Products - the folks that made blenders and food processors. The interview was with the head of the Quality Control Department. He liked me (or my dad) enough to hire me on the spot. The position? Quality Control Inspector for the 3rd shift of the factory. That's right - 4 years of learning complex financial theory and analysis techniques - to allow me to inspect and test blender motors between the hours of 11pm to 7am. Lovely.
It's important to remember that I'm Swedish. And Swedish = Stubborn. I decided that since I had a four year degree - I would never go to work without wearing a suit. That's right... Night after night I showed up to work in a suit and tie. NO ONE ELSE wore a suit during third shift. The foreman of the entire factory didn't wear a suit. But this Swedish Idiot was not to be deterred.
Every week I watched for openings in the office for the company. And apparently - I had been a bit of an anomaly to the office staff who were walking into work at the same time the third shift was walking out. I can't remember how this next piece happened - but somehow I ended up being offered a part time job in the office handling rebate requests that had been mailed by customers. That's right - work all night in the factory - then come into the office for 4-6 hours. Hey - we're inching closer to finance here - so no complaints.
My first day in the office and I swear this is true - I was stapling check receipts to the rebate requests that had been received. Next thing I know - I had stapled MY FINGER. I remember my eyes crossing as I suppressed a scream. I quietly stood up - went to the men's room, yanked the staple out. I wrapped my finger in toilet paper until the bleeding stopped - and then quietly returned to my desk. But I digress....
For the next two months I worked both jobs. QA Inspector at night - office help during the day. I got to know the financial staff pretty well. I was working for the General Accountant. And then came the posting for a new position - Assistant Controller. OH BABY! I was applying for that!!!!
I interviewed with the Controller and he essentially said that I didn't have much of a chance because he needed someone experienced. He said that there were a few candidates, and one more to interview - someone from New York City.
That was it! I wanted that job. I needed that job. That job was MINE. Again - the stubborn Swede went home and this time wrote a 10 page paper (double spaced) that laid out every reason why the controller should hire Jerry Wistrom and not anyone else for the job. I made some damn good points about how I had no experience - but that would be spectacular because he didn't have to "untrain" anyone else. I would learn to do things his way. I was young and smart, and worked hard (two jobs at the same company) and if I had this opportunity I wouldn't let him down. This "paper" was handed in the day after the interview.
And the controller offered me the job. A week later, I had my own office - (with a door!) and a salary that would put me on easy street - $10,000 per year. And in 1978 - that was pretty darn good.
Sometimes I forget that anything is possible. Sometimes I forget how I can tap into that absolute determination that pushes me to attain something. I forget that when I focus like a laser beam - I can do almost anything.
Now what about you? Did this story connect you back to that time where you were absolutely determined? When nothing would or could get in your way? Yup - that's pretty powerful isn't it... And it's still there for you when you need it.
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Till next time...