CAREERS: My Big Break

I got my big break years ago as I was roaming the streets of downtown Chicago during lunch hour. I had just graduated from the University of Illinois, and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

I got my big break years ago as I was roaming the streets of downtown Chicago during lunch hour. I had just graduated from the University of Illinois, and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

Walking around the Loop in a new suit from Marshall Fields carrying an empty briefcase seemed to make sense.

While wandering, I spotted a man I vaguely recognized crossing the street.

He had been in my fraternity, was a few years older than me, and I'm sure had absolutely no idea who I was. I followed him back to his office, and was excited to discover that he worked at Arthur Andersen, which was a very prestigious place to work before it became a punch line.

I went up to the receptionist and asked for him. When he came to the front, I introduced myself, explained our tenuous connection, told him I had heard great things about his career at Andersen, and handed him a resume. Three weeks later, I had my first job as an editorial assistant for the firm's in-house magazine.

I lasted just 16 months there before moving on to bigger and better things.

I made so many mistakes there, they actually tried to shred me, but it helped me get where I am today.

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