Brain dead and tired after a long work day today, trying to think of a good story I could share for the night and thought hey! Work story! I’m not sure I’ve ever shared the story about how I accidentally got hired without doing any sort of interview, so that’s a perfect option! There’s also a secret second story being told here, so stick it out for the reveal at the end!
So there I was, 1997, just out of the Navy and unemployed. I was sharing a place with my former roommate, and in between looking for jobs I hung out on ISCA BBS via local ISP dialup. Spent a lot of time on there, went by the username “Harbinger of Doom”, which is terrible edgelord embarrassing looking back at it LOL! One day I get a message from “Runs With Scissors” saying hi, cause she worked at the local ISP and never saw someone logged in using their service before. So we chat a bit, I mention I’m looking for work doing computer stuff. Hey, she’s friends with a guy that works in “the back room” which is where all the system administrators sit, and she could pass my resume on if I wanted.
Which I wanted. One thing about not working is you have no income, and I like to eat yo! So I pass my resume on, which is like a single page cause my resume was just 7 years of Navy schooling. I don’t think it’ll get me far, but she thought it looked good and her friend thought it looked good and passed it to the supervisor back there, and all of a sudden I have a job interview lined up! Yay! I’ve never done one of these before though, so all I know is show up at the address at like noon and ask for Jason. I figure an ISP is gonna be a cool techie place right?
I show up a little early, and the building is a small converted warehouse which houses the whole company. Tech support call center, sales, management, sysadmins, server room. I’ve just gotten out of the military, pretty straight laced and limited life experience. I roll up to this place and a bunch of the phone support folks are hanging out front smoke breaking, and wow! Folks who work tech then (and still in a lot of places) tend to be… eclectic. Punks with tall mohawks and spikey leather jackets, goths in collars and lace, hair covering the full spectrum of colors you can think of, some skate boarders in the parking lot, the whole nine yards. Then I get inside, and they’re renovating…
Come in thru the glass doors and a receptionist is set up at a wood folding table. There’s a bunch of these set up in rows behind that table, with sales phone operators set up there. Off to the left is a huge open area with tech support sitting at a random mix of whatever they had at the moment and starting to set up rows of little cubes. The building is about 2.5 stories tall, all hollow with a high drop in ceiling. About half the ceiling tiles are missing, and miles of cables of all kinds are hanging out of the holes as they redo all the networking and power. I’m seriously debating making a run for it.
I tell the receptionist I’m there to meet Beth (Runs With Scissors), and we actually meet and that goes well, she explains they’re doing a complete replacement of all the cubes and network and it doesn’t always looks like this, and things feel a lot better, right? We go back to find Jason, and end up with a guy named Ken who works for Jason. Ends up Jason had to run out to another site to check dial-up equipment, we’ll have to reschedule for next week. We chat a little, then I head home. Decide everyone was friendly, they’re growing, I’ll stick it out another week.
ONE WEEK LATER
Show up again, meet Beth and chat a little, finally get back and find Jason. He’s cool but busy running things, asks one of his guys to do the interview. It’s Ken! So we head into the other room, and Ken goes “We already did this last week didn’t we?” and I’m no idiot so I roll with it! Yeah we did! He looks over my resume again quick to refresh his memory, I ramble a little about what I did with the Navy and find Jason’s a former Army guy, then Ken’s sure we already interviewed and thinks things are good so shows me around! Introduces me to people running support, HR, sales, then walks me thru the server room.
“Over here is the Ascend dial up equipment, these are the SMTP servers, DNS, Usenet, Web servers…” blah blah blah. Now, my background is most of a comp sci degree in multiple programming languages, AI and robotics, computer architecture (cpu design), and graphics programming with OpenGL. Note there’s not a single fucking word in there about servers or server software. He’s spewing acronyms by the dozen and I never heard any of them, so I’m nodding like it’s old news and memorizing as much of the alphabet soup as I can. He takes me back to Jason who goes “We good?” and Ken said “Yup.” and Jason made me an offer that I accepted cause I had no idea if this was any good or not but it was a job.
I start in a week and a half after that, 8 hours each Tuesday/Wednesday, and 12 hours each Saturday/Sunday. I spend a lot of what was left of the money I had in the bank on computer books that looked like they might relate to what Ken mentioned, crammed before my first day, and got thru fine. I worked in a position that acted as an interface between the tech support team and the sysadmin team so I learned a whole lot really quick, and it was near sales where Beth worked so we got to chat and hang out, and eventually I moved it to rent-share a place with her and a guy from tech support that we became good friends with.
So nowadays I still work for Jason though we’ve moved departments a few times and he’s now a senior VP, and Beth and I have been married for a long time now :D
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