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.