I wanted to quit my job. I hated my boss. He always yelled at me. I hated my co-workers. They always yelled at me.
I was addicted to playing chess online. One time my girlfriend called at 6pm and said, “don’t forget, we have guests coming over for dinner in a half hour.”
I said, “I’m just going to play one more game and then I will be home.”
At midnight, my girlfriend was banging on my office door but it was locked and I was in the middle of a set of 100 straight games in a row and couldn’t answer her.
Finally, at 5 in the morning I stumbled home. When I walked through the door she threw a backpack of books at me.
So something was wrong in my life. Something was making me unhappy.
Here’s what I tried:
I tried writing novels. I wrote four novels. But nobody wanted to publish them.
I tried writing a comic book. I wrote a script for one that I thought would be very good. I send to DC Comics but they never wrote back.
I went to the venture capital arm of PNC bank and tried to get a job and they laughed in my face because I didn’t have an MBA.
There was this new thing called “The World Wide Web”. There was maybe 100 websites in existence.
I wrote to every publisher and said, “Ultimately all of your books are going to be in digital form. I can make that happen for you.” Not a single one responded.
One night, while I was playing online chess all night, I went to the bathroom. Another guy was there. “What are you doing here so late?” Although I thought I knew the answer. He had three kids or so. Why wouldn’t he be here?
“I’m trying to write some software that takes random web pages, figures out what they are about, and catalogs them. I’m thinking the government might fund this project.”
I was thinking to myself, “good luck with that” and smirking on the inside while I went back to play another eight hour marathon of chess.
The name of that guy’s computer was lycos.cs.cmu.edu and eventually he started Lycos and made $200 million for himself.
Finally, I wrote to HBO and I said, “You guys should work on virtual reality projects. I can help with it.”
They wrote back and invited me to visit.
I took a few days from work. My parents were really excited. My dad took me to his “Suit man”. He got me a suit.
I went to the interview. Four different interviews. I was so excited. Someone named “Winnie Ho” worked there. I wanted to work at a place that had employees named “Winnie Ho”.
I bombed every interview. “Do you know Macintosh programming?” No. “Do you know how to do networking programming?” No. “Do you know how to configure an Internet server?” No. No. No. No.
After the interview I called my girlfriend and said, “I don’t think i got the job.” She was relieved. She didn’t want me to move. I was depressed.
I sat down and played chess in Bryant Park with the chessplayers that still gather there 20 years later. I was going to cry.
I looked up at one point and there was the boss of the boss of the boss of the first guy who interviewed me. It turned out he was into chess.
We took a walk around the park and talked about chess and music and programming and virtual reality.
I went home to Pittsburgh and applied for a job at a comic book store. They didn’t hire me.
Then two weeks later, Rob, the chessplaying boss, called me and offered me $40,000 a year to work at HBO. I was making $27,000 at the time but had lied and told him I was making $38,000. He offered me a job.
He offered me a job!
A week later my boss yelled at me about some random thing I did. He yelled at me in front of everyone.
He yelled, “did you really just tell me you blah blah *&^*&?”
And I said “yes”. And he yelled again, in front of the team, “I don’t think I heard you. Is anyone that stupid?”
For the entire prior eight months I had diversified my possible outcomes.
Every day I had tried every possible way to get a job.
Everybody rejected me for everything. I probably tried 20 different ways to create the job of my dreams.
Finally one thing worked. One thing got me lucky. I bonded on some random thing with a decision maker. But in chess there is a saying, “only the good players get lucky”.
So when my boss wanted to humiliate me and he yelled at me that second time in front of everyone I finally had a perfect response.
The Benefits of Self-Publishing
Posted by James Altucher on May 15th, 2013 at 9:05 am. Post Comments: 0
TweetIf anyone has any doubts about the stigma of self-publishing and whether or not it is here to stay you only have to check out [...]
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Posted by James Altucher on May 10th, 2013 at 9:37 am. Post Comments: 0
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Destroy Your Masters!
Posted by James Altucher on May 7th, 2013 at 9:59 am. Post Comments: 0
TweetFirst we put an ad in the paper: “looking to go on a date with a pretty girl? Please write back.” We got over 100 [...]
Posted by James Altucher on May 1st, 2013 at 8:45 am. Post Comments: 0
Tweet I thought I was going to drive over a little baby that was crawling across the street. “What little baby?” my driving instructor said. [...]
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Posted by James Altucher on April 29th, 2013 at 8:37 am. Post Comments: 0
Tweet I lied to him to get a job. The hedge fund manager asked me how much money I had in the bank. I had [...]
Two Stories About Google We Can All Learn From
Posted by James Altucher on April 26th, 2013 at 8:40 am. Post Comments: 0
Tweet Story #1: One time Barry Diller was visiting Sergey Brin and Larry Page. The topic of the meeting was to see how the greatest [...]
How to be Rich – THE PUSH
Posted by James Altucher on April 23rd, 2013 at 8:51 am. Post Comments: 0
Tweet Rob told me JB was dead. JB was my best friend growing up. We sat next to each other on the bus. After school [...]
Why Do People Hate Their Jobs?
Posted by James Altucher on April 18th, 2013 at 9:08 am. Post Comments: 0
TweetI limped out of the meeting and said, “excuse me”, and took the elevator down 67 stories, went to Grand Central, limped home, and never [...]
Why Hard-Core Pornography is Bad for your Health, and other facts about Testosterone
Posted by James Altucher on April 15th, 2013 at 9:05 am. Post Comments: 0
Tweet“If you’re constantly watching five naked girls having sex with dildos it actually could lower your lifespan.” “Excuse me, what?” I said. I was talking [...]
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