We met on Broadway, I was standing outside the office catching the spring sun for a bit during my lunch break. It was a weird coincidence meeting a fellow Dane in NYC, but here we did meet and we got talking.
He was charming, had a beautiful and sweet wife and we had quite a few laughs standing on there on Broadway in the sun speaking Danish ( any expat far away from home will know this feeling.)
Back when I was studying for my first degree still a student and still fairly inexperienced in the field of study and life, It was during my internship in NYC I met this guy from in the Media industry... the superstars of industries back in the very early 2000. This was an industry that I was working hard to be a part of. He was a CEO of an up and coming web agency.
I was bubbly, excited, feeling confident and proud, I did just finish my first assignment for OPRAH so my confidence levels were bursting and I was living the life I had always thought impossible, in Manhattan, NYC
We agreed on me reaching out as soon as I returned to Denmark to have a talk about a possible working relationship with them during my second round of required internships.
I returned to DK, called him and had a quick energetic meeting with him and his partners. Yes, I got it, I landed another cool internship where I would be working and learning from the best.... I thought....
.... this guys leadership style was appalling! He was aggressive, abusive, calling me out in front of all my collogues, now you have to remember, I was new, still studying to become a master of my trade, and I didn't have the experience nor the career confidence or courage to stand up to this adult bully and because all I wanted to do was to become one of the stars of the media industry I took it and it cost me.. more than I ever thought it would.
Every morning getting up became a struggle, I would be terrified that he would be at work because this would mean that my day would be full of insults, remarks and comments on my person or performance or just a happy smiling boss who on a whim would turn into a raving psychopath.
My internship was up and we had our final meeting, he told me I would be better of on social benefits because I was worth shit, I would never become an asset to any company...
G.U.L.P thank you very much, mister. I worked for free taking your BS and this is the "constructive feedback" you're leaving me with?
Needless to say, this experience was a difficult one to let go of... I actually never did, I carried this shadow and his voice in my head for so long it became my reality. I never knew this would be the one experience that would shape my relationships with future employers but it did and it did shape me too but in a not so positive direction.
This meant I spent a more decade believing that I was a good for nothing piece of shit and that didn't deserve any success in my career. The reason I'm telling this story now is that we all are a product of our experiences, our self-perception is so tied up in who and what we choose to believe.
My first mistake was not to take this internship, but it was to believe him and I did for the following 10 years. What a waste of time, if I could go back, I would still take the job, but I would probably be fired for telling him where to shove his appalling behaviour, but I would have gotten over that way sooner.
"Please don't be afraid to lose a job if staying means losing yourself!"