Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lehman Brothers once rejected me for a job...phew

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Because of my background in economics, the tale of Lehman Brothers, has been drilled into the back of my brain. I was studying Global Banking in 2008, so the collapse provided for excellent fodder for my lecturer, who consistently ran over time.

However for those that do not know who they are, the gist of the story is that they were one of the first of the financial institutions to fail in 2008 during the unravelling subprime mortgage crisis.

My reaction to this was a little peculiar, I am a little ashamed to admit this, however I felt a little bit smug. Around five months prior to their collapse I attended a very intense interview for an American company. Although the job advertisement was a little cryptic, the salary that they were offering popped from the screen like a carrot dangling above my head.

So along I went to this interview, one of many I had attended during this time. I sat in the waiting room, nervously reflecting on my resume and strengths. The interviewer was nice enough, he asked few questions and I asked if he would be able to tell me who this company was? He told me that wasn't possible, I asked if I could take a guess? The look on his face when I said Lehman Brothers was so satisfying. He said that I was the only person to have guessed who the company was. Surely my fantastic googling skills would transfer to financial analysis? I had it in the bag.

He asked a few more questions and proceeded to leave me with the most difficult problem solving questions I had ever encountered. He set a timer for one hour on the desk and left me to wonder what on earth I was doing?

It is probably one of the only times in my life that I have felt defeated. These questions was so perplexing, it would have been more productive to have counted the threads in the carpet. That too would have been just as difficult, so I did the only thing I knew how to do. Write whatever came to mind and spend the rest of my time staring out the window and deciding what I could do.

Here's what I worked out:
  • I certainly did not want to clean windows on skyscrapers. I watched a man dangle from the building across from me, flinching every time he swung from floor to floor.
  • I hate problems, they are just that, problematic and frustrating. Why would I want to become a professional problem solver? Some might argue that's what an economist is, however I think they are best described as scientists of life. Puke! My political econ tutor would be proud.
  • I love fashion, economics, blogging, the internet, entrepreneurship and information. It was no surprise that my favourite subject at university was Information Economics. It delved into social media and the new economy and studied how the flow of information is best utilised.
  • These loves would be very difficult to combine. However I would do my best.
Wikifashion was conceived around six months later and I think it's the best combination of my interests.

Moral of the story..don't do what you think sounds impressive. It will more than likely crumble around you. Try and figure out what it is you like doing, seeing, listening to or reading about and try to form a job that way.

So what are the things that you love? Do your interests sum to your career? Try listing them below, it's always advantageous to write things down. It will help you to visualise things and form a clear picture.


54 comments:

  1. Sounds like you have reason to be smug :) Thanks for reminding me that when you dont get something you want, its because something else is waiting for you.

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  2. ahahha
    such a great revenge...I guess :)

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  3. a great insight. i'm a big believer in fate.

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  4. I wouldn't call it revenge, I didn't want revenge, it's really sad that what unravelled because of this. However I think it was fate like Pink Bow said!

    That's a really good way to look at it Tanvi.

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  5. I loved this post. Reminds me not to think too much and to take whatever comes my way. One of my resolutions for this year!

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  6. this will be a good story to keep in mind any time i'm feeling like i didn't get a job i really wanted- it's great that the experience let you find out what you really were meant to be doing! ~joelle

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  7. Great post and thoughts to keep in mind. So many people just ignore their passions for something they feel is more impressive. Not worth it in the end!

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  8. Thanks Leanne!

    Owl I am so so glad I didn't get this job :) Everything happens for a reason!

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  9. Definitely a blessing in disguise!

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  10. i love the pink tulips! =)

    http://pinkchampagnefashion.blogspot.com/

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  11. It's amazing how things really do fall into place.
    Love the photograph!

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  12. I study economics too,finance actually...and I like the same things too:)
    their lost sweetie,our gain:)

    btw:I don't want to be a problem solver,stay at a desk all day...I'd go crazy:(

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  13. Revenge is so cool! :)
    And thx so much for passing by my blog!
    A bientôt!

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  14. that's a great story! it's interesting to see how others become inspired to do what they really love, and here you are!

    glad you stuck thru to produce wikifashion, it's awesome:):)

    thanks for the lovin' on my latest post as well!

    xx raez

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  15. I don't agree with interview processes that make you do mind numbing problem solving and ridiculous tasks...it just seems so irrelevant and unappreciative of those applying...

    I loved the story you shared. I try to look at all failed job searches as preparations for something better. I am very optimistic of becoming a marketing coordinator for a major fashion/retail brand sometime in the future...I think it would be so much fun.

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  16. That's for all of your lovely comments girls :)

    That sounds like a fantastic job Joanne, definitely something that I would like to do..that's if I weren't doing Wikifashion.

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  17. hey
    is that u who took the picts
    I love the tulip...
    make me say oooooooohhhhhhhh
    ^_^

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  18. This is really inspiring, Lola! It's certainly very hard for most to find a job that they love. The process of doing so may be quite taxing or quite pleasurable but the end result is always great because you get to go to work everyday happy.

    I have been rejected from some accounting/finance companies as well and everytime, deep down inside, I know that they are missing out because I am sure that I will try my very hardest to be the best employee that they ever have.

    Congrates on your wonderful job, Lola! I am so very envious!

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  19. Hi Lola! Thanks so much for taking the time to make the page for me! I'll need to fill it up soon :)

    xoxo

    Coco

    http://closetfullofnothing.blogspot.com/

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  20. what a great post!
    thanks for sharing your story

    my work is really boring and its not my passion at all
    i thought of switching to a job i'd love but i can't think of anything i'd enjoy doing
    i wish i had a clear passion :(

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  21. You're welcome Closet :)

    Wikifashion and Lola are both still really new and I can barely support myself. I hope Lola will be able to later on, sometimes I wonder if I gave up the opportunity to travel etc, because even though my "real" job was boring it did give me stability. Oh well, I can always go back :)

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  22. Great post! Love the pic ;)


    xoxo

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  23. This is a great story and some real life proof that there is a reason for everything :) I'm glad you're doing what you love now.
    Me? Well right now I'm working a 9:30-5 (plus Saturday mornings, ew) job saving money and next year I plan to ship off to university.
    I love writing, design, digital scrapping, photography, shopping, magazines and music. I'm going to complete a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Communications, majoring in either journalism or advertising. I want to work in magazines, either the layouts or the the journalist side. I can't wait to get learning :)

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  24. Haha wow, theres a reason for everything. Cute blow btw

    http://www.littlevoguette.blogspot.com
    im new :)

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  25. i am always a bliever that if something doesnt pan out the way you want there is always something better to come. there is a reason for everything. great blog.

    xoxo
    brandi

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  26. Everything happens for a reason! great post

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  27. I'm in between jobs at the moment. Trying to figure out what I would like to do next.

    Thanks for this post. I'll make sure to read it again when I will apply for more :)

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  28. thanks for listing me on wikifashion! :D glad everything worked out for you. <3

    http://diyainherstilettos.blogspot.com/

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  29. I so enjoyed reading this...and thank god you didnt take that job, lol! XX Niki

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  30. Good luck Ebony! That would be fantastic to work in magazines :)

    You're welcome Diya, and I'm still on my way, not there yet!

    Thanks worldinapapercup :)

    Thanks Blicious!

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  31. That's so strange that they could try to keep it a secret when you were interviewing. Does that really happen that often? I don't have a lot of knowledge about financial companies (other than Lehman in the news), so I'm curious.

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  32. I think they wanted to keep it a secret, because it was the first round interview with a recruitment company. It is quite strange to keep it a secret!

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  33. I was just watching The Love of Money the other night which is all about the collapse - terribly interesting. I'm happy that you found your passion and are realising it - all the best to you :)

    www.friendinfashion.blogspot.com
    xx

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  34. Beautiful photo!
    Thanks for the comment. How are you, dear? :)



    xx

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  35. Thanks Friend in Fashion :)

    Hey Erika, you're welcome and I'm really good! Surprised you weren't at NYFW, did you go?

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  36. Sometimes I totally believe in fate!

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  37. Beutifully written and the words are truly inspiring considering that I am on the verge of graduation and totally having a hard time making up my mind! So thank you....

    With Love...
    Marta

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  38. thanks for making me a page in wikifashin! ;)

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  39. Just stumbled upon your blog. I LOVE it! I too am in finance with CNBC on all day, and I remember that day with Lehman. Wow. I completely agree with what you say, and can't wait for the day a creative life can eliminate the finance job. Love and hugs,

    nicolette

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  40. Thanks Marta! Good luck with deciding what to do :)

    You're welcome behind the seams!

    Thanks Nicolette, that must have been really interesting to have witnessed that!

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  41. great post, really interesting blog! x

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  42. Fantastic post!! I couldn't agree more, if we strive to work with passion and belief we shall surely succeed ♥

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  43. Love-love-love!
    Fabulous post. You give such great advice and are so open with your past experiences, plus you write so well.
    To mentor young women through a blog format is the most fabulous - and kind! - idea.
    I would imagine these posts would be really popular and translate well to all your readers on so many levels :)

    <3 xxx

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  44. Ha ha ha! I worked at Lehman for five years.

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  45. Thanks PB! That means so much to me, that you say that :)

    That is so spooky Wendy, we wrote on each other's blogs at exactly the same time! Did you like working for Lehman's?

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  46. Thanks Lola!!! Nice picture and nice Carrousel!!!

    Always kisses from Brazil!!!

    www.bibimademoiselle.blogspot.com

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