Friday, November 06, 2009

Job Interviews

Just another of the million little debacles I faced.... this one on the way to a job interview, with a broken shoelace...

I stopped in the engineering library, hoping that maybe the information desk had some glue. On the way, I happened upon an open utility closet. While I searched for some form of adhesive, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was one of those times where I was probably going to make a bad situation worse. There was an old white tube with the label worn off lying on a shelf. Even though it had a pungent odor, I was about to give it a shot when I stumbled across some electrical tape. Perfect! It blended right into the lace.

The shoe held during the interview. I had successfully pulled off a MacGyver (even though getting out of a jam by fixing a shoelace with electrical tape would’ve made for a super lame episode)! After flying me out to The City of Wind for another round, the trading firm offered me a job! Our relieved hero accepted.

On July 12th, 2004 I left The Ace Deuce to start work in The City of Wind.

My only friend in my new locale was Xena Warrior Princess. She still lived in the same apartment that She-ra, Iron Man and I had crashed in a few years ago. Not only was the rent reasonable, she had a view of the lake. It was an older apartment building, constructed back in the 1920s. As far as I could tell, it was well maintained. Once Xena assured me that she’d never heard of another car going up in flames in her neighborhood, I rented the studio apartment next door. Being good friends with my neighbor made me feel like I was back in the dorms!

Work itself wasn’t a difficult transition. I’d gotten used to sitting in a cubicle during my internship last summer. The strangest part of cubicle life is that you overhear conversations between co-workers as if you’re right next to them, but they have no idea who’s listening. You pick up some odd tidbits from time to time. At my internship I’d heard someone say, “Wireless internet is great. After the wife and kids go to bed, I can break out the KY and jerk off in the family room.”

Writing software is equivalent to solving a series of logic problems. I dislike spending nine hours a day in a sterile office, but (apart from being a professional athlete), earning a living tackling logic problems is about as good as it gets. As long as I had enough to do, the day flew by. However, if I ran out of tasks, I was expected to sit at my desk and surf the internet until closing time. Apparently this was standard business practice.

Not long after I started, my manager complimented me on my ability to get work done on time.
The next day, he suggested I work longer hours. As opposed to heading out at 5PM, I’d look at Great Lakes football message boards for a half hour and go home at 5:30. He seemed satisfied.

While I got along with everyone in the office, there was one high-strung socially oblivious guy who tested my sanity. If I wasn’t careful, he’d draw me into meaningless conversations for hours at a time where he’d enumerate various apocalyptic scenarios in which some new project could bring down the firm. Once I started taking alternate routes to the bathroom, I was able to avoid him.

The only difficult adjustment I had to make to life in the big city was to the crowded rush hour bus rides to and from the office.
When I got a seat, I happily passed the time reading a novel. However, when I was squished up against the other standing sardines, I became much more aware of people’s B.O. I would’ve expected people who work in office buildings to have better hygiene.

The worst rides were the ones where someone was screaming into their cell phone.
When the din of a conversation made it impossible to concentrate on my book, I’d make eye contact with all the other annoyed passengers, silently sharing their agony.

The most exciting part of moving to The City of Wind was that it was Summer in the City – as The Lovin’ Spoonful song suggested, it was time to go out and find a girl.
During my last year of school, I’d taken a sabbatical from dating. Since seventh grade, I’d felt that I needed a girlfriend. That mentality had been a perpetual source of bad judgment. In order to be a better boyfriend down the road, I felt like I needed to take time off to become more comfortable with myself. Of course my sabbatical had an Awesome Girl Exit Clause – which I considered a few times, but never exercised.

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