Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Katie Burke (1953–) Biography - Personal to Galeazzo Ciano (1903–1944) Biography » Tom Burrell Biography - Created Jobs As A Child, Struggled For Success In College, Developed Self-confidence In Business

Tom Burrell - Created Jobs As A Child

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Tom Burrell spent much of his childhood working. He found many ways to earn extra money, developing the creativity that would later bring success to his advertising agency. An aunt who worked at a soap factory brought home damaged bars of soap for free and young Tom sold them door to door. He also shined shoes, set up pins in bowling alleys, washed windows, and rode public transit mornings and evenings to deliver newspapers before and after school.

Burrell's experience at school was often difficult. Though he liked his classes when his teachers were interesting and attentive, he often found himself the victim of bullies in the schoolyard. He felt that he did not fit in and, in an effort to keep out of trouble, he stayed apart, watching and learning. This role of observer taught him a lot about human nature, and he would put that knowledge to work later in his adult life and career.

When Burrell was a teenager, one of his friends was killed while fleeing police in a stolen car. This tragic event affected him deeply, in part because it showed him his own possible future. In his junior year of high school Burrell decided to put his future on a better track. He changed high schools, switching from Englewood High to Parker High, a more academic school with fewer tough kids. The decision was his alone. He had grown used to making his own decisions about his life, because his mother had always treated him with respect for his opinions. He had learned early that if he really thought he could do something, his mother would encourage him to try it.

It was at Parker High School that Burrell took the aptitude test that would affect the course of his life. The test determined that Burrell was "artistic and persuasive," and a teacher suggested that writing copy for an advertising company might be a good career for someone with those qualities. The idea interested him, and, with characteristic determination, he set his sights on a career in advertising.

Tom Burrell - Struggled For Success In College [next]

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