A Dream Deferred

Langston Hughes once posed the question in a poem, “What happens to a dream deferred?”

The search for a new job is never easy.  The hardest part of it is finding work you love to do in an industry you love working for.  Over the past four years I have learned that one thing I love to do is program, and more specifically, I love programming dynamic tools over programming static solutions.  You see, I’d rather give someone a tool they can use to get their own answers than to give them the answers.  When you give a person answers, later, if the specifications change, you have to give them new answers, but if you originally gave them a tool, then they can tweak the tool to the new specifications and get their own answers.

A couple of weeks ago I had a job interview.  It was literally, my dream job.  As best as I could understand it from the interview I had, they wanted tools integration between purchased applications that would allow them to pull customized reports to support job functions.  This is pretty much exactly what I have been doing for the last four years, and I loved doing it.  My only problem in my last position was that I didn’t like the industry: telecommunications.  But this new job, being as I said it was my dream job, was in the gaming industry.  A company developing an MMO was looking for someone to do tools integration, custom reporting and web design.  I nearly messed my pants.

So, I suppose you can imagine my disappointment when I learned that of the seven people who interviewed for the position, three were asked back for a second interview and I was not one of them.  Now I am faced with a couple of weeks of interviews for companies in industries at least as uninteresting to me as telecommunications, and all doing work I’m not particularly enthusiastic about doing.

What exactly does happen to a dream deferred?  I guess I’m about to find out…

Rubbing the Lucky Nut.

Before I got my job at Toys “R” Us, I visited my parents and my mother pulled out a bag of buckeye nuts.

There isn’t much special about buckeyes. Unless you count this. It seems that my grandfather wasn’t making it up.

See, my father’s father lived in Jacksonville, Florida. We used to visit a couple times a year, except when we were living in Pennsylvania, until he passed on, and outside the house on the right side stood the Buckeye tree. He’d collect the ones that fell and hand them to the grandkids when we came telling us of the luck they held within. We usually were only lucky in losing or misplacing them. I’ve probably had over a hundred of these in my possession over the years, but right now I have only three. Two of these I retained from my younger years of visiting my grandpa. They managed to stay with me through the years and all the moving, mostly trapped in the drawers of my various desks. But the luck of these have probably worn out.

My mother opened the bag and I picked out a buckeye with a good thumb on it. My grandfather used to say that you should just keep it in your pocket and when you need luck just reach in and rub your thumb into the indent in the nut. I took a good one and put it in my pocket. It was for luck on a job interview.

Every day I kept it in my pocket and when my hand would brush against it, I’d reach in and give the nut a couple of rubs. It was in my pocket when I went to the interview and it was in my pocket when they called to tell me I got the job.

Thanks Grandpa Pace. I hope you are looking down at me now, and I hope you are proud at what you see.

18 June 1998

I keep going to these job interviews where they give me a logic test. On average they are about 25 questions long. Most are aaround 20-25 but then there was that one company that had a 78 question test. In any event, I go to these places and they hand me the test and say, “I hope you have plenty of time, this’ll take about 2 1/2 hours… maybe 3.” 30 minutes later I turn the test back in and miss maybe 2 or 3, but more often none (I missed 10 on the 78 question test). They laud praise on me like I’m the best thing since sliced bread, and then DON’T offer me a job.
Am I missing something?
Today’s Song: Radiation Vibe by Fountains of Wayne… it’s been a while since I loaded this album in the CD player (happens when you have 400 CDs), but after another disappointing job interview hearing this tune just made me smile… a feel good song.
Today’s Movie: Westworld. After watching Outland I’ve been getting into this “older” sci-fi mode. If you have never seen Westworld, do so… Yul Brenner as a gunfighting rogue android is worth it alone.