The Upside

If You Do Nothing Else in Business, Do This

I want to tell you a story that goes back almost 15 years. 

 

It was the mid 2000s, New York City, pre-2008 market crash. Many of my friends worked in banking, which meant fat T&E budgets and shiny corporate credit cards. Expensing a $2,000 night out was completely acceptable because we were entertaining multi-million dollar clients. Those were good times.

 

I was supposed to meet my friends out at one of the hottest nightclubs in the city (not to be named here). I spent at least an hour getting dressed and teemed with excitement and anticipation as I rolled up in a yellow cab and strutted out to the velvet rope, solo.

 

I knew the doorman’s name–someone who was also a partner in the club–because I had been there dozens of times with my friends. I knew he recognized me as well.

 

Standing about 3 feet away from him, I struck up a cheerful conversation and explained that my friends were waiting for me inside. 

 

What happened next never left me all these years later: he acted like I was invisible. 

 

There I stood, a young girl in her twenties at midnight, ready for fun and excited to meet her friends inside. And he ignored me.

 

I spoke his name several times as he stared right past me like I was a ghost–a nobody. 

 

All dressed up, I hailed a cab and went back home, head hung low, confidence blown. 

 

And because this club was so hot–and so fun–I went back again another night with a girlfriend who knew everyone in the nightlife world. She brought along two other friends as well. This same doorman/business partner looked at me and my friend and said, “You and you can come in but the other two can’t.” 

 

I finally learned my lesson that time. And a great lesson it was:

Erin Halper

About the Author

Erin Halper is the founder and CEO of The Upside and the leading authority on independent consulting. Since launching The Upside in 2017, Erin has helped thousands of professionals transition from corporate life into consulting to achieve flexibility, autonomy, and a renewed sense of purpose in their careers.

Erin has been a frequent speaker at Columbia, NYU, Harvard, and Brown and has been featured as a leading future of work expert on dozens of podcasts as well as in Forbes, Business Insider, Nasdaq, Crunchbase and many more.

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