Work Kills a Piece of my Soul Every Day

by Mr. Cheap

Every so often I have an experience that reminds me why working is slowly killing me. I’ve started job hunting and the market for technical people is red hot right now (I started sending out resumes last Monday, and have already had 4 interviews today, with more coming up).

I was talking to two guys in Mountain View. They start asking me trivial Java questions. These are THE WORST technical interviews (programming on a whiteboard is bad too). Its like you’re interviewing someone to be a high school geography teacher and the entire interview is asking him populations of countries around the world. At the end, he’s going to feel like shit because he doesn’t have the population of Thailand memorized and you’re not going to have any better idea whether or not he’ll make a good teacher.

There are websites listing Java interview questions, and I could just spend an afternoon, read through them all, then come across like a genius to these nimrods, but I refuse to do it because its just *SO STUPID*. This was one of their questions if you’re interested.

One of them seemed like a decent guy, but the other guy, after every question I said I didn’t know or didn’t answer exactly the way he expected (often with technical questions there are many possible answers, and the interviewer has to be bright enough to realize when an answer is correct – even if it wasn’t the answer he was looking for), he acted snooty and made disparaging comments. Some people seem to be very good at deferring to people higher up the food chain from them, and treating people they see as below them like crap.

Towards the end of the interview I’d had enough and actually stopped it (only the second time I’ve ever done this). It surprises the hell out of interviewers when you end one early (its the ultimate in taking charge!). Probably not the smartest thing to do (I may have lucked out and got offered the job), but why would I want to work for a company that assigns a jerk to interview me?

With technical work, it seems to be necessary to get treated badly by the people above you in order to get a paycheck. I’m not sure if this is because our work is mysterious to them, so they feel they have to exert their authority somehow, or if its because we’re earning big salaries and they resent having to pay them or what.

Maybe this is simply the nature of 9-5 work (and why I hate it).

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