The upside of rejection This morning I was thinking about rejection. On my way to the office I happened to pass by a former building owned by NYNEX.
Back in early 1991, just months before I would graduate from college, a number of my classmates were getting jobs at fancy big companies in Boston. Others were going to wall street. I wanted to do something in the computer industry. And I thought I would stay in Boston.
My family was in NY and I liked Boston. It felt good. So I sent my resume to a bunch of big companies. One of them was NYNEX. It was a systems analyst job where I would develop and test in fortran. The pay was $35k/year. That was more money than I could imagine possibly needing.
I sent in my resume and they asked me to come in for an interview. My parents bought me a suit and I went in to meet the hiring manager. Two weeks later I received my rejection letter in the mail. It was one of many. I was crushed. What was I going to do after college? It seemed like everyone else was getting a job.
I was spending time on AOL in those days thanks to my Mac and a hayes 2400bps modem. And I found what I was looking for. ON Technology in Cambridge was a little startup at the time. They posted a job on AOL in the communities forum. I went to their office and fell in love with the startup atmosphere. They had Macs on everyone’s desk. They were using CodeWarrior. They were building Mac apps (OnLocation & Meeting Maker). It was a brick and beam building and everyone was young and alive. They offered me a job for $20k/year and I happily accepted it.
Less than a year later, I went out to MacWorld San Francisco to help & learn. I fell in love with a girl and that city. I put everything I owned into my hatchback at the time, convinced my kid brother to drive across country with me. We made it to SF in 4 days. I wonder what would have happened if NYNEX gave me that offer. Sometimes rejection can be your best friend.