First thing’s first: Stop thinking you are a nobody. This is by far your biggest obstacle. You are somebody. You always have been, you always will be. Measuring your self worth with things like family background, academic credentials, salary, and socio/economic status will always make you feel like you’re “in the gutter.” You are more than that. Believe it. That said:
Recognize that you are self sufficient. You have already achieved far more than the trust-fund babies that currently occupy the top positions at the company where you work. True, you are not making as much as them right now. But there is a lot to be said for the muscle and skills you developed by having to work your way up and get to where you’ve gotten now. You have this, they don’t. They never will. Nepotism and cronyism are great when the going’s good, but it requires them to rely on other people for their success.
Network and make contacts. Be confident in your abilities, and others will see what you see in yourself. If you are intelligent and well-spoken, a smart, savvy person will see past superficial status markers (you mention in your question details) after the first five minutes. Keep in touch and continue to update him/her every so often when you do something good (which you will, because you are a hard worker). If someone doesn’t pay attention to you because they don’t know your Mommy and Daddy and your kids don’t play together, they’re not worth your time: don’t get insulted, move on.
Develop relationships with people you can trust. If you can find a mentor in someone who is in a higher position than you and recognizes your potential, do so– he/she will be important in either a) guiding you up the ladder in the company you’re currently at, or b) showing you what it takes to rise up at another company, or to create your own!
Continue to work hard and look ahead. Don’t let the fact that you didn’t start at the top of ladder, with a six-figure salary (all because the CEO’s your father’s old pal from Princeton and drinks whiskey with him every other Saturday at their favorite country club), distract you. Life isn’t fair– but don’t let that deter you. Keep going.
Be kind to yourself. Accept that you will make mistakes and that success will take time. It’s trite, but I’ll say it: Rome wasn’t built in a day. Pace yourself.
Best of luck to you– hope you enjoy the view from the top 🙂
Anonymous on Quora