When I was in college, I got an interview at Microsoft. They flew me to Seattle, put me up at a swanky hotel, and effectively gave me an unlimited spending account while I was in town.
That’s not an exaggeration — Microsoft does this for all candidates. They encourage you to rent a car, go to any restaurant, the Space Needle, museums, etc…and just send them the receipts. They’ll reimburse you because they want you to fall in love with the area. A few hundred bucks means nothing to them if they get the candidate they want.
I had no idea what to do with my unlimited budget, but OH BOY, I was excited. That night was the first time I’d ever ordered room service.
It felt like being in a movie. I could call downstairs without a care in the world and get WHATEVER I wanted. I decided to go all out and order a burger, fries, and milkshake. Total price was over $50 plus room service fee and tip. 50 BUCKS FOR A BURGER!!
Who the hell were these people??
I couldn’t believe people did this.
All of a sudden, as the attendant wheeled the food into my room and whisked the metal tops away, I realized that there was an entire world all around me — a world of MORE — but I had no idea how it worked.
I had always thought about focusing on what I had and being happy with it. That’s just how I was raised.
But as I started looking around, I realized Banana Republic wasn’t the most luxurious place to buy clothes. (If you look at magazines, they have sweaters for $600 or even $3,000. I used to think “does anyone really buy those?”)
I realized there were places to eat that cost 50x what I had paid for dinner. (What kind of restaurant could justify that?? Why would anyone pay that?)