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The summer after I graduated from college, I moved to New York for a fund-raising job with an institution I soon learned to call “the world’s leading performing arts center.” I was a fiction and art history major but during my interview, the director of major gifts asked the only question that really mattered: “Are you comfortable speaking on the telephone?”
The next week I was dialing the offices of famous publishers, financiers, lawyers and entrepreneurs to remind them about parties at the opera and the ballet. When I wasn’t dialing, I was slicing my fingers with solicitation letters. For every hundredth envelope I stuffed, I was remunerated with a ticket to see the London Symphony Orchestra or the Mark Morris Dance company. My world was a whirlwind of envelopes and symphonies, and I began to see one as currency for the other.
“What a wonderful job!” my friends’ parents exclaimed.
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