I once interviewed with a consulting company. Yeah, I know. A bit crazy of me. But it was a technical consulting place, very good guys, and they sort of insisted I go up and see them. I told the person who was visiting my university that I was not sure, considering my leanings, but he said something like 'Young people should not close doors' - yes, I was a young twenty-six or twenty-seven year old girl back then.
Anyway, I thought they were a bit screwy from the beginning. For one, they refused to reimburse my hotel cost, although I was a starving graduate student and all. I persisted and I think they finally coughed up the hundred bucks it cost me. The car they sent to pick me up was late. I had made the (cardinal) mistake of only having the landline phone number of my contact person in the company. Of course it was early morning and he was not yet at his desk - this was in downtown Boston so he was probably caught in traffic. Somehow, after talking to a billion assistants and feeling thoroughly hassled (not to mention very warm in my suit), I reached the place.
I did some deep breathing in the car and walked into the office. All swank buildings and all, like I was not at all used to. I walked up to the reception lady and stated my case and she, thankfully, knew about me, and herded me over to the various people I was supposed to meet. I also had to make a presentation (of course), and eat lunch with one of the guys, these were said to me as if I should be stressed out (equally) about both. Of course, I eat presentations for lunch, and am the queen of small talk (at least I used to be before the pre-occupations of adult life and No TV Week Celebrations and further sliding into Kenny Bubble World made me into Madame Dork), so I was like 'Oh how wonderful.' I was already hungry so I was hoping some coffee or something would be offered soon, and also that bathrooms would be easy to find.
The day went pretty well, I met some of the standard people, including one or two Indian guys. Of course I had gone to college with one of them, a fact I discovered then and there and was most pleasantly surprised about. I had my presentation, the room was dark, some guys used the opportunity to nap, and all of them asked questions. Lunch was a standard issue sandwich at the office (which is good, one thing I absolutely hate is a working Indian lunch as defined in the U.S. and involving going to the local Indian joint and coming back with your jacket smelling of curry and a superlicious look on the guys face that says 'Your food smells').
The final interview was with the main guy, some sort of V.P.(Research) or something like that. Same one who insisted I come all the way over to see them. The minute I walked in and the preliminaries were done with - 'I am really happy I came, you have wonderful facilities, I surprisingly discovered Sethumadhavan, a guy I went to college with in Chennai Yada Yada.' 'We have completely renovated this building, back in 1992. Our chemistry division is being pumped in with funds for computational work now. Yada Yada'
Then the guy asked me, what do you want from a job, now that you are almost done with grad school. So I answered that I want the opportunity to learn everyday. Then he cut in with 'We don't have time for that here, we are responsible for delivering results, and cannot sit back like academics thinking and learning, we need to DELIVER RESULTS' Of course then I said, 'Okay then perhaps this is not a good fit. I do thank you for your time. I will carry on then and go to my post-doc gig.' He actually smiled then! I mean, I suppose I COULD have at least had the decency to express disappointment, and hope for something in future or whatever. I mean, really, the place was fantastic in terms of facilities and people, and they were surely doing some cutting-edge research, and clearly a big part of it was my cockiness that I had a position already to look forward to, that I was real excited about. Nevertheless, I do wonder at times. Oh yes, they would have paid me bucket loads of money compared to the other choice - a small matter that rarely, if ever, enters my line of vision.
But all these years later (it has been what, eight or nine years now I guess), I was reminded of that day in my brown skirt suit in Boston at a consulting company. I think all things considered, I found myself in the right place, after all. In the past nine years of my working life, I have learned all sorts of sorts of things, and nobody has once stopped me and said, 'Stop learning, start doing' It counts.