I am no Einstein. ~ Albert Einstein
In 1895 Albert Einstein failed the entrance exam at the Polytechnic University in Zurich, Switzerland, so his parents sent him to a secondary cantonal school in northern Switzerland. After a year there he made his way into Polytechnic.
After graduating from university, Einstein got a temporary teaching position at a school in Schaffhausen. His 2-year search for a permanent teaching post proved fruitless.
A former classmate’s father used his influence to get Einstein a job at the Swiss patent office in 1902, where Einstein became a 3rd-class examiner for patent applications related to electromechanical devices. Although his job became permanent, he was passed over for promotion to 2nd-class until he “fully mastered machine technology.”
In the meantime, the lackluster but ambitious Einstein was writing papers. His 1901 paper on capillary action in straws was published in a prestigious physics journal.
1905 was Einstein’s jackpot year. In what has been called his annus mirabilis, or “miracle year,” Einstein completed his thesis – on molecular dimensions – and got his PhD. He also published 4 papers over various topics: the photoelectric effect; Brownian motion; a terribly simple formula equating matter and energy (E = mc2); and special relativity, a mathematical statement striking at the heart of Newtonian absolutist physics.