When I got my first job out of school, Computer Science was still a new major. I was one of the few black people in the program. I went to work for a small firm building vertical market accounting systems. I had no idea how much trouble the company was in. The owner of the company was a woman, a blonde who most people did not like. When the company folded, I was called into her office. She told me “I think Japanese people make the best engineers.”
Then she handed me my last pay check. I thought she’d just fired me for being inferior to Japanese people. Turned out everyone was being fired because the company was folding. I didn’t know about that part for weeks. I sat around for days in a fetal position before I got the courage to start looking for another job. I got over it though. In an odd way it kind of helped me. Since then I’ve always worked extremely hard to be better than everyone around me. I’m driven to be the best at what I do.