Somewhere along the journey in pursuit of my first ambition— becoming the next Barbara Walters—I made a detour to keep myself solvent before journalism school. This explains why I found myself sitting alone in a sumptuous office at Charles of the Ritz, waiting hopefully to reconvene my last interview for an entry-level marketing position. The interviewer was the general manager of the business. I write “reconvene” because he had stomped away immediately upon shaking my hand, declaring, “You have no qualifications for this job, why are you wasting my time?”

Although he did have a point—I brought zero to the party except enthusiasm—he ultimately hired me anyway. I was summarily planted in a converted storage closet for which the light switch was located in a different room. So my office was blacked out several times a day. This did wonders for my dignity and credibility when I conducted meetings in my storage closet (I mean office).

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