Northeastern University has this thing called a Co-op program where you complete your classes for a semester followed by an internship within your major for a semester. For nearly everyone the co-op program helps students get real life experience for their future career, so they hit the ground running after graduation. For me, the co-op program showed me what I did not want to do after college. This was invaluable.
My first co-op job was an accounting gig at Melon just north of Boston. I was very excited for this job because I was going to be paid $15/hour, have my own cubical, and I was going to work with my boy Cisco and my girl Jen (not my wife- I didn’t know she existed yet). The luster of that job wore off pretty quickly because every part of that job felt like boring work. I had ideas on how to make the department run better, but no one wanted to listen to a 20 year old. I could make a difference with the company’s clients, but I was relegated to creating annual reports in the photocopy room. I genuinely had no idea how people could be content doing that job for their entire lives. To my manager, John D’Orazio, thank you for hiring me as an intern. You were great and I should have been fired a few times. Sorry I watched Dragon Ball Z, played gameboy advanced, and played chess all day.
After that co-op experience ended I had to debrief with my co-op advisor, Mary Kane who like John was amazing, nice, and wonderful. She read my feedback, which was not good, told me based on what was said about my experience, I would better off being a CEO. I didn’t say anything during that meeting, but those words stuck in my head. I decided instead of being a lawyer like my dad, I was going to be a CEO of my own company. I just did not know what that company was, because black boxes was not going to be it.