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Monday, April 27, 2015

This TV Star Almost Worked at Fidelity

News summary by MFWire's editors

It's always sunny in Philadelphia, but what about in Fidelity's [profile] Boston?

Actor Charlie Day is probably best known for his starring roles on the TV show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and the Horrible Bosses movies. Yet he almost ended up at the Boston Behemoth.

Peter Jacobs of Business Insider recently reposted the text of what the publication calls "one of the funniest commencement speeches of all time", which Day delivered last year at his alma mater, Merrimack College. In the speech, Day tells the tale of what he did when he graduated. And Fidelity's at the heart of the story:

When I left this school. I was presented with two options. Move to New York City where I knew next to nobody and begin my pursuit of acting or take the entry level position that had been offered to my by Fidelity Investments. I know what you may be thinking. "Why would major financial services corporation offer this numbskull job?" The answer is simple, because I tricked them.

Merrimack's business program was offering interviews with the company. The students would be given a score on their interview. I had no desire to work at Fidelity Investments but I had never been on an audition and I thought it would be a similar experience. I wanted to see if I could pull off the role of aspiring banker. Or whatever they do at Fidelity.

I had a game plan. Deflect from me. Get the guy to talk about himself. I wasn't going to lie. I just thought I'd basically interview him. We had a pleasant conversation. If I recall correctly we talked forever about the intricacies of water skiing, an activity I know nothing about.

Look, had the man asked me what eight times seven was there would have been an unbearable pause in the room. But he didn't. The interview went so well they offered me a job. Now this threw me a little. It was a real job. A big boy job. It was also more money than anyone had ever offered me for anything before. "Should I take it? Is this my destiny? Am I the next great financial genius? Should I come up with a plan B. Work in Boston a few years at Fidelity. Make enough money to have a cozy transition to New York."

Well, I've always had a half baked philosophy that having plan B can muddy up your plan A. I didn't take the job. I moved to the city. I bussed tables and answered phones. I lived in a basement apartment next to a garbage chute. The apartment was filled with cockroaches. I couldn't have made a better decision. Well maybe not the cockroach part. I should have found a different apartment. You'll find better apartments. Just avoid the trash area.

There is an obvious lesson here about believing in yourself, and there is the plan A plan B stuff but forget all that for a second. I think the lesson is this. Had I worked at Fidelity I'm sure they would have fired me eventually. I'm no financial genius. I can barely do long division.

But I didn't want to fail at Fidelity. And I didn't want to fail in Boston. If I was going to run the risk of failure I wanted it to be in New York. I wanted to fail in the way and place where I would be proud to fail, doing what I wanted to do and let me tell you ... I did fail. Time and time again. I was too short for this or too strange for that. I even had one casting director for a movie say "he'll never work in comedy." I was taking my punches but I was in the fight. That's a metaphor of course, I highly doubt I have any ability to take an actual punch.
So it seems that Fidelity, and fans of Day's comedic chops, and Day himself, all lucked out? 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor


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