Third day after i landed in America, barely 16 years old. New culture no friends. Walking around everywhere looking for a job i saw a sign at Burger King “HELP WANTED: APPLY WITHIN”.. I walked right in and met this pleasant Manager named John Reid. After filling out my application and asking some common questions he offered me a job. $3.35 an hour. Before i could ask him what the job was, he says, You will be cleaning tables, Mopping the restaurant floors, and, oh yeah, you will be cleaning the Bathrooms as well. When can you start ? I said tomorrow. Well, Tomorrow is fine Mir, be here at 6.30 your shift starts at 7 am till 4 pm.
A flurry of memories came through my mind. The Pakistani arrogance was still embedded in me. My paternal side of the family, The Mirs of Deccan, My Maternal Grandfather a Governor of 5 Provinces. I never worked a day in my life. That was the moment which could have stopped my ascent in America to own an Investment Bank on Wall Street one day had i given up my FIRST CHALLENGE. I accepted. Accepted with grace. Every morning i would walk 4 miles from my sister’s house through knee high snow to get to the burger king. First day when i was mopping the floor wearing the RIDICULOUS LOOKING Burger King Uniform, i started crying. Literally crying thinking about what my life has come down to that i am a CLEANER now. Is this what i had come to America for. All of a sudden the manager noticed tears in my eyes and came over to me. All Ok Mir ? Yes John there is just too much Amonia in the bucket and its irritating my eyes… Oh you will get used to it in a few days. It was not the Amonia, It was my pain showing through my tears. The first thing i learned was that when life deals you a hand that you do not like, take it and make the best out of it. Become Resilient. Become FOCUSED. Set your Goal and the goal was to make money for university fees. So i was doing it for a HIGHER CAUSE. I would work there till 4 pm and take my full time classes from 5.45 to 11.45 at night. On Saturdays And Sundays i would work at a Corporate Security Desk from 7 in the morning till 11 at night. 16 hours on Saturday and 16 hours on Sunday. Sitting in the security booth i had enough time to study because barely any employees came in on the weekends. So i had found a job where i was getting paid and doing my homework of the university. Next year i drove a Taxi the entire summer, Taking passengers from Somerset County to Newark Airport. All kinds of passengers, rude, happy, arrogant, irritated, overly talkative, outright obnoxious… You name it i had them. At such a young age, i learned that ONE NEEDS TO MAKE A HOUSE BY THE SAME STONES THAT ARE THROWN AT HIM. Meaning, whatever your situation is, you take the same situation and make it better. Never wait for the next better situation to come and lose the one you have on hand.
You need keep your eyes on the goals not on the ground. No job is BENEATH YOU. If a human being is doing that job, than it means it is being done by a HUMAN BEING, and he is not BENEATH YOU so the job is not beneath you. I learned so much about the burger king operations that when i was running the investment Bank looking for high profile American Bilionaires to sit on my Board Of Directors, I met Joe Antonini, Chairman of the $32 Billion dollar conglomerate, the first thing we had in common was that he ran that corporation where i was cleaning bathrooms. I went up to him, introduced myself, Hi Joe, I am Mir Mohammad Alikhan, Founder and Chairman Of KMS Investment Bank and my first job in America was washing bathrooms at one of your restaurants. He burst out into a laughter and all the top notch people, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet and Peter Lynch could not believe what i was saying. Joe took me in the corner and said..Tell me honestly what did you like about cleaning bathrooms… I said..Amonia. He laughed, How ? I said i hated it so much that i used to cry for the first week and everytime somebody saw me crying, i would tell them that it was because of the Amonia. He could not stop laughing. We talked seriously for 2 hours and then and there he agreed to join my board for NO COMPENSATION and also brought 6 top colleagues of his Forbes, Yablon, Mario Andretti and others to sit on my board. The first meeting of the Board he said..I joined this board because if this immigrant kid can come from a family background that he has, washes bathrooms and smiles and tell us in a corporate meeting of leaders that he is proud of it then it means that he will go far ahead in life. At 29 he owns a bank imagine what he will do at 49…
MORAL Of The STORY. Be Proud Of Every Job. That Same Job that you think is beneath you will open doors for you SO UP HIGH as long as you are not ASHAMED of your HARD WORK, Any HONEST HARD WORK. And the first deal i did with Joe Antonini was a $980 Million Dollar Take over deal of a listed company called The Sports Authority, NYSE Listed Company. So In Actuality, That $3.35 An Hour Job, Done Honestly with a smile, resulted in getting me deal worth $980 Dollars with the GIANT LEADERS of CORPORATE AMERICA. Never Think anything is beneath you. NEVER.
Author: Mir Mohammad AliKhan