When David Contorno was in the 7th grade, his school system on Long Island combined his middle school with another local high school. For most kids, the restructuring probably passed without much more than a little extra razzing from the older students in the hall. For Contorno, though, it would prove to be a life-changing decision by the local school system. ¶ One day, Contorno passed by the jobs board—which targeted high schoolers—and spotted a card from an agent looking for someone to do telemarketing for a major life insurance company. He pulled down the card, hopped on his bike and rode five miles to the agent’s office—only to be told that he wasn’t old enough.

“He said he was looking for a 16- or 17-year old,” Contorno recalls. “I said, ‘I biked here all this way so the least you could do is give me a shot.’ The next thing I knew, I was calling clients and setting up appointments. I did so well, I was able to raise my rates after a time.”

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