There's a story that was published almost two years ago by programmer Derek Sivers that is worth repeating now, especially for those of us who are depressed by the job market. Indeed, that's why Sivers originally penned his story two years ago: to show that persistence and a little knowledge can pay off big. The story is about the time Apple hired a fourteen year old kid named Tom Williams.
Williams was a boy from Victoria, Canada who worshiped former Apple CEO John Sculley. As a young teen, through necessity, Williams started his own software company called Desert Island Software, but his real goal was to meet John Sculley and get hired by Apple. So starting at the age of twelve Williams started calling John Sculley's assistant every morning for a year and a half. Talk about persistence. That eventually led Apple to invite the boy down to Cupertino for the 1993 WWDC. There, Williams was promised five minutes with Sculley. That five minutes turned into half an hour and Sculley was only pulled away because he needed to walk onstage to introduce the Newton. But that brief period with Sculley impressed some people at Apple so much that just a year later, Apple hired the fourteen year-old Williams.
Tom Williams' story is a great one that teaches what perseverance can accomplish, but it's also got some interesting gems in it, like how Apple got around child labor laws by hiring the fourteen year old as a consultant contracted by Apple through a Canadian company. That way the Canadian company was responsible for any child labor issues. Click on over to Derek Sivers site to read the whole story, as told by Tom Williams.