career path

The Unwanted Employee

Posted on May 21, 2013

I remember how was my first job interview. At that time, I was still a student, I hadn’t defined yet a goal in life, I had no professional experience. The purpose of my life was to learn and enjoy life. If you ask me why I wanted a job, I don’t really know, because I was feeling pretty good as a student with no obligations. But all my colleagues already had a job and because I was in a direct competition with them, I felt necessary to find myself a job. For the beginning, in order to get hired, I would have worked even for free or as volunteer at the Red Cross in Africa. Few companies have shown an interest on my profile and it took quite long until someone gave me the opportunity of an interview. But in the end, an employer called me to a face to face interview.

The company was located in one of the disposed hangars from an industrial area of the city, a place with dark streets, with puddles of water and urine. I was aware the company office is located in one of the most unsafe working place, but being my first job opportunity, I was extremely excited and everything seemed normal.

And here I am, face to face with the employer:

-Are you a student?


-And why do you want to be employed instead to continue your education?

-Let me tell you frankly that I wouldn’t want to be hired. I wish to continue finish my studies and obtain the master degree in Computer Science. However, most of my colleagues already have a job and I thought it was time to hire me for not being different from others. If I could live in this world without a job it would be perfect, but I do not know how.

-Yes … I read carefully your Resume. You are doing well in school. Even I do not understand why you want to hire? But it is your choice… Okay, let us introduce ourselves …

(And he starts telling me about the job: we are looking for a person to be able to do some software for geostationary satellites around the Earth and make a revolutionary app that will change the face of the world, etc, etc.. Briefly, a great story. At that time I was very excited about anything. Employers are well known they can sell very well job offers and for many beginners, the impression is all companies are building cutting edge technologies, and all kind of ninja stuffs, like spacecrafts, but in reality they are a sort of ghost company in bankruptcy).

-Sounds absolutely interesting!

-I would like to work for you, I answered promptly .

- I realize you’re very excited about , but I don’t know you’re not the right person. From the discussion we had, oh, you did great in college, you are to become a top specialist. In other words you’re overqualified! Take a look around you, most employees do not have a college education, I they hardly manage to use the computer. (The hangar were 10 to 15 employees, people over 30 years reading books like: “How to use the a PC” or “FoxPro language mysteries”…)

-Well, didn’t you say you want to built spaceships and you need a very good programmer to help you? I am here to help you…

-Yes, I said that… I want to consider you a good match for this position, but you are not. You will not stay here more than 3 months. I know for sure! I read with interest CV and I’ll be honest with you, you must look for a job closer to what you are really capable to do with your life. Unfortunately, I cannot offer you nothing that will keep you here on long term.

That day I was very pained. After years, I have thanks the employer he didn’t offer me that job. And he had right. I had to look for a job that fits me better. In a way, this interview has changed my life in a positive way.

The next job interview was at a big IT corporation. Was the most sinister experience from my life: imagine a small room, on a chair, back to the wall, in front of me five executives (the most suspicious individuals I ever encountered). They interrogated me for 3 hours, like in a long and cruel torture: “Why did not you choose another Faculty?”, “Why did you choose this specialty? “,” Why did you like that? “,”Were you afraid to pick another specialization? “,”We do not believe you have chosen this specialty because you liked it… prove it!”. With so many uncomfortable questions from all around, I snapped and I failed the interview.

After dozens of interviews failed, I was confused: either I was too good, either I was too bad and each time was certain: no one wants me. Eventually, someone offered me a job  … without an interview, just like that… and that day was the best day of my life. Employer looked at my resume and asked me only this: “How much money do you want?”. At that time I did not know how much money to ask, so accepted the minimum salary in the industry only to get the job (Probably, I would have accepted to work for free).

The beginning of my career was very difficult, but very shortly after the first job, I received a very good offer from a big company, then from another and things went slightly easier for me.

But at one point in my career, I encountered a new challenge. I had the misfortune (or fortune) to become an expert in gaming industry and even this may sounds interesting, it didn’t offer me to many career prospects. Only companies producing games shown their interest on my profile. Other companies, seeing my profile in gaming, they avoid me, for unknown reasons and very few gave me the opportunity to reach at an interview. At one point, I had seen a job announcement that shocked me: mandatory requirements section in bold: “excluded candidates with experience in gaming industry .” And so, I have decided to remove or minimize the reference to games or gaming industry from my CV. After that, employers have suddenly shown interest in my profile and I got to get all sorts of interesting offers.

Another obstacle I had to pass in my career was the move from a technical to a management position. I was asked: “Why would you want a career in management, if you are a good programmer?”. Apparently my answer, “Because I want it” was not too convincing my employer and I had to resign in order to be able to pursue my career in management.

Even I had the opportunity to work in various positions as software programmer, graphic designer, project manager, product manager and program manager my great disappointing in my career is I had never the occasion to work on my specialty: hardware architecture and programming. So, although I had the opportunity to do many jobs, I never did what I most liked. Because I hadn’t chance to work in hardware industry, in time, my knowledge gained during the seven years of studies has been lost. At first, I was worried about working in software industry, because software was not my key straight, but once I started this path, I have learn something more precious: how to adapt.

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