I won the money to buy the parts buy placing 1st in a speech competiton by performing an original speech that I'd written about Eli Whitney and his cotton gin invention for the American Enterprise Institute. To this day, that prize money might just be my favorite money I've ever earned and the RAM / CD-ROM upgrade my favorite money I've ever spent.
In 1996, during the fall of my senior year in high school, my best friend's step dad asked if I'd like to work for Packard Bell. It was a dream come true, and because I was in the Gifted & Talented class, and they let me "check out" of school during the day to go and pursue "autonomous learning" opportunities. In 1996, my autonomous learning opportunity was working in the Packard Bell call center in Golden, Colorado. It was awesome, I got my girlfriend a job in the same building working for Sears Customer Service and put together we had around $600 a week after taxes.
It felt like millions of dollars. haha.
IBM (part one)
Spring of my senior year, word spread around the Packard Bell call center that IBM was opening up a call center for their Global Services division to service their client Lucent Technologies. I drove to the IBM campus in Boulder and literally asked people coming out of the building how to get hired there and how much money they made (!).
Long story short, I didn't need to do that as a recruiter found me through another person that was hired at Packard Bell. I thought I'd be going to work in Boulder, but instead they asked if I wanted to go to Illinois or New Jersey. I chose Illinois because it was closer to Colorado and my girlfriend was still in high school there, also her grandma lived a few hours south of Chicago. Those two reasons seemed like good enough justification to pick a location for a career, so I left school a bit before graduation and moved into my corporate apartment in Naperville, IL; the cool thing was, since I was still 17, IBM paid to have me driven everywhere in a limosuine because I couldn't rent a car.
Seems a bit much now, but I thought it was super cool back then.
After a summer in Chicago, IBM moved me back to Colorado and with a $20k loan from my parents, I bought my first house. I'm sure I bought a title policy but don't remember a thing about it.