What was your first “real job”?

I got my first office job in my early 20s. This was a big deal to a kid doing a four-year business degree and hoping to land a sexy role in a corner office one day.

I’ll never forget the biggest lesson I learned that first suit-and-tie summer. For four months I worked as an intern at a big consulting company in a downtown Toronto high-rise. Casey was my boss and the head of the project I was assigned to for the summer, working with one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies.


One Monday morning in August, I was sitting in his glass-windowed corner office with the rising sun beaming onto the desk between us. More than three months of late-night stress and working on weekends had led to this moment.

We were minutes away from our big presentation.

Casey’s sense of humor had carried me through all the challenges and late nights of Chinese takeout leading up to today, but the last-minute question he hit me with just made me snap. My nerves were frayed. I had no energy left.

“Why do we have an assumption in here instead of an actual figure?” he asked.

“Because Roger didn’t write back to my three emails asking him for the right number, and he never gave us a number where we could call him. I tried his assistant twice and never heard back, either. It’s like he forgot we existed. You know that.”

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