When I was 19 or 20, probably 19, my mommy told me, “You pay car. You pay apartment. I go Hawaii now. Bye!”
I stared at her in disbelief. I was working at Macy’s earning about $1,800 a month selling women’s shoes. There was no way in the world I could cover all these bills. I was completely freaked out, even though I didn’t show it much.
I started asking my friends what kind of work they did and how much they were earning. Yes, I was that guy. That annoying guy who gets into your personal business, even though none of that should matter.
My friend John had told me he was working at Manhattan Beach Toyota. I said great, how much are you earning? He said $4k a month.
I did the math. I could survive off that! So I applied.
After a few interviews and a drug test, I was hired. I was excited that I could live on my own! Then, the cold hard reality kicked in. The first two months, I earned minimum wage. I couldn’t afford to buy food, so I lived off the free popcorn that we provided to our customers. It was pretty darn depressing, but I was confident I could overcome it.
Then, my manager sat with me. He had told me if I didn’t sell 12 cars, I would be terminated. Then inspiration, mixed with fear had fulfilled me. I had to figure this stuff out or I would have absolutely nothing!
So I put my all into my job. Then, by my third month, I was able to hit that target mark of $4,000 of which John spoke. I was free! I was saved! I could do as I pleased and take care of myself!
So I did just that. Then I got into a friend with benefits relationship type thing with my best friend. We went out and ate and played everywhere. However, the person I loved with all my heart entered my life one day, so I let my best friend go.
We then planned out marriage and all of that other fancy stuff. However, that just all slowly crumbled away as we became addicted to drugs. Then I just spent every day crying my eyes out feeling like a loser, because I lost everything I had. Eventually, I tried to make my own business. That failed. So now, here I was, with a ton of debt, no lover, no car, and an unhappy day each morning.
Things didn’t really get better until over half a decade later, but yeah. That’s how it felt.
Originally posted on Quora.
Leonard Kim consults startups and writes books like