I had lunch at Panera on High street today. The entrance to the parking lot is a busy one. There is a Chipotle right next door along with a few other trendy shops that have yet to be filled. At the back of the parking lot is a Unitarian Universalist church, and I had to laugh. When I was younger, I came up with a good catch phrase for the Unitarian Universalist church in my hometown. That catch phrase was this.
We believe in, like, whatever man.
Outside the parking lot to the Panera there stood a policeman directing traffic. As I said, it is a busy intersection, and there is no light to govern the mad drivers as they zip past. I saw the policeman standing there in the cold and I envied him. He tweeted the whistle. Tweet. Tweet. And again. Tweet tweet tweet. How exciting it must have been! The prospect of tweeting the whistle for all you are worth only to have some unsuspecting motorist, lost in the joyous rapture of the local music station, slam on the brakes a second too late and plow you over at a speed just slightly over the locally enforced limit. What a rush.
For some reason I thought of that nameless protestor at Tiananmen square. That guy didn’t have a whistle. Imagine what he could have done if that had been the case. Tweet tweet. And again. Tweet tweet tweet.
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I made my way down to campus this morning to interview for a position as a Systems Analyst. The drive was nice. I didn’t get lost, which is a rarity in my case. Thank God for small answers to small prayers.
I parked in the garage and made my way to the office only to find that I was thirty minutes early. To pass the time, I sat in the waiting room and talked with the administrative assistant. I don’t know her name because she didn’t have a name tag, but I will call her Sherry. She looked like a Sherry.
Sherry and I exchanged pleasantries, remarking the coldness of the weather and the thickness of the traffic. While we waited, Sherry and I discussed all the fun that comes with working at Universities. She’s been a proud employee of THE Ohio State University for a little over a year now and I recently gave up a lucrative career watching movies and eating pizza at The University of Cincinnati. We then spoke of our current jobs. She says she likes hers, but she was enthralled with the idea of No-work Mondays.
“Oh my gosh,” she said. “I bet you just love your job don’t you.” Then we both laughed at the irony. Tweet tweet tweet.
The interview began with the interviewer telling me all about what he expects of the new hires. He described, in laborious detail, the specifics of the business structure and how he is now the software team lead. He spoke of the IDE they use and what standards they expect of me, should I be offered the position. Then he asked me to share some of my own experiences. I spoke of my past job as a Manager at the U of Cincy, and how I had developed several small-scale applications that managed inventory control and statistical analysis. I spoke of my four month stint in Technical Support at the hellhole of the Kroger Corporation. I elaborated upon the specifics of Airport Analysis and Portal Community Management. He asked me a few technical questions and I knocked them out of the ballpark like Barry Bonds on a basketful of steroids.
Then he said it. The death sentence. That statement which has haunted each and every one of my technical interviews over the last two and a half years. “We’re actually looking for somebody with three to five year’s experience,” he said. “We’re not interested in training anybody.”
“You don’t have to train me,” I said. “I have developed several applications which highlight my skills, and I have a list of references who will speak of the vastness of my knowledge. Further,” I continued. “If you plan to migrate to the updated version of your IDE, I will be one of the few who is well versed in that technology as well.”
He continued speaking, but the tone of the interview had changed. There was no chance for me. I knew it. I had tried directing traffic to the best of my ability, but it seems that the pre-requisite for all managers everywhere is that they are incapable of thinking outside predefined parameters. They focus on one thing and one thing only. They listen to the one radio station and, without ever having seen the calamity ahead, plow over all those in front of them as though nothing is wrong.
Tweet tweet. And again. Tweet tweet tweet.
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As I sat in Panera, reading a book and eating a bowl of soup, I decided I have had enough. If this job does not pan through, I am giving up on I.T. I don’t want it and it doesn’t want me. There are other things on which I can waste my time. And when the truth comes out, I don’t really feel like standing in the middle of the road waiting to get run over by an idiot. I prefer not to.