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Moving beyond a dead-end job

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

After hopping from job to job in her late teens and early 20s, Sophia Amoruso found herself selling luxury shoes at a fancy San Francisco retail store. She hated everything about it.

Earning $12 an hour with no commission, she would greet wealthy shoppers with fake enthusiasm and try to sell them shoes worth more than $1,000 a pair. She admits that she not only disliked the job, but also loathed the customers for spending so much on shoes.

The store’s owner made her and the other salespeople wear the shoes. But because Amoruso didn’t believe in the product she was selling, she didn’t take care of her pair of Dries Van Noten pumps. They quickly became scuffed.

What’s worse, Amoruso partied most nights. She says she arrived at the store “semi-showered, wearing the same red polyester flares day after day.”

One day, she was the only employee working at the store. Allowed a 30-minute lunch break, she locked the door and walked to a nearby burger stand. When she finished her meal and returned to reopen the store, the owner surprised her.

Noting that Amoruso took a lunch break far in excess of 30 minutes, the owner fired her. Chagrined, Amoruso soon launched the online store that evolved into Nasty Gal, a retail powerhouse. She had learned to stop looking for unfulfilling jobs and create her own opportunity.

Within seven years, Nasty Gal grew to nearly $23 million in annual sales. Now 31, she recently stepped down as CEO after grooming a successor.

—Adapted from #Girlboss, Sophia Amoruso, Portfolio/Penguin.

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