George moved to the city after completing his Communication studies in hopes to break into the fashion industry. He wanted to be an editor in a big-name fashion magazine or website. George had been involved in fashion his entire life, modeling since he was a teen and keeping a blog where he documented his outfits and purchases.
George soon learned that his background was far from unique and that, without good contacts in the industry, even finding an internship can be a difficult task. He could have tried applying to lesser known fashion media outlets but that was not for him. George would either work for an influential publication or he wouldn’t work in fashion at all.
When I met him, he had just joined the company I worked for and he was being trained to become an account manager. He was quick to tell us about his previous modeling career, his aspirations to become a fashion editor and how this job was only temporary for him.
Two months in, he was frustrated by everyone. He believed that, even as a junior manager, he was bringing more to the company than most people. Account management was the hardest and most vital part of the business and he wasn’t being recognized enough for it. He also disagreed about crucial matters with his superiors.
George told me this while we sat at the best table of a fancy restaurant during our lunch break. He had insisted on being placed there and had been offended by where the waiter wanted us to seat initially. It was then that I realized how much certain things mattered to George. He needed to have the best of everything: the best clothes, the newest phone, the ideally located apartment and the fanciest vacation. He also needed to be constantly recognized and reinforced for being exceptional.
After a while, I realized that George would only talk to me when he needed to vent and discuss his frustrations. He had no interest in my life, but that was his modus operandi when it came to friendships. George had an amateur photographer friend who he would only call up to get pictures for his blog, another friend he would only meet up with to go to certain clubs where she was guest-listed, an office buddy from IT he would only talk to if he needed a personal tutorial about how to use certain software but ignored otherwise…and the list goes on. The more I listened to his stories, the more I realized he never did anything for anyone in return. When complaining about co-workers, he lacked empathy for other people’s problems and circumstances.
Intensive networking produced results and George got a new job opportunity in the industry he loved. But after a year working for a fashion magazine, he was frustrated with his career not going the way he had expected. He decided to quite some time after and borrowing some money from his parents, started his own online shop selling up-and-coming fashion designer clothes.
I only spoke with him a couple of times after this. He told me his business was going very well and that a big fashion retailer would buy them out soon. He was wondering whether he should stay in the company or take the money and start something new.
In reality, the offer never materialized and George kept running his company with moderate success. His online store was profitable but he felt like a failure. He also felt that a lot of people have let him down. He started seeing a therapist that diagnosed him with depression and narcissistic personality disorder.