Over at his place, Chemjobber has (unbeknownst to him, but knownst to us) begun a Blog Carnival around the topic of lucky employment breaks. Here's mine, albeit edited to protect names of the innocent...
My Freshman year at Big State University passed unceremoniously, as many do. Made lots of cultural and personal adjustments. Some courses aced, some classes ignored, all in pursuit of a major I thought I enjoyed. Enter Sophomore year, when I had the standard eye-opening, life-altering epiphany all self-identified organikers have upon taking O-Chem 201. But that's not where My Big Break(TM) occurred.
Fast forward to the weekly Chem Colloquium, in which speakers from the outside world came in to advise we burgeoning chemists how life looked on the other side of college. Once, a wild-haired, soft-spoken gentleman visited from the Big City. He worked in pharmaceutical chemistry, and I'll never forget something he said at the end of his talk: "Interns Wanted." Yes, we were being pitched to finish his presentation! At that moment, years of summer toil checking bags, cleaning parking lots, mopping floors, updating registers,* sharpening pencils*, and preparing transparencies* paled in comparison to WORKING IN BIOTECH. I somehow bulled my way to the front of the lecture hall in time to grab the last open slot on his roster.
The rest, as they say, is history...--
*This was before the Internet, tablet PCs, and wide adoption of PowerPoint. Ask your parents.