"Your one o'clock is here," the receptionist said.

Roberto glanced at the clock and saw that it was 11:30. "Does his watch work?" Roberto muttered. "Put him in one of the conference rooms. The boss isn't going to be back until 1:00." He hung up the phone and got back to work.

Roberto's team needed a junior sysadmin. With the economy swirling the drain, applicants were rushing to clog up the interview pipeline. Unfortunately, the resumes they'd gotten so far were exactly the sorts of things one expects to see in the drainpipe. Tyson was the first candidate with a resume that wasn't a clot of matted hair, so he got a call, and everybody else got flushed.

At 1PM, Roberto and his boss, Scott, sat down in the conference room with Tyson. Tyson's interview suit looked like it was last washed during the Nixon administration, with motor oil for detergent. It was also cut for someone with a dramatically smaller equatorial radius than Tyson. According to his resume, Tyson had been working at the same place for a decade. Roberto decided that he probably hadn't had much call for a good suit in that period, and was willing to cut him a little slack.

"So," Scott said to start off the interview, "you were at your last job for awhile? Mind telling us about what you did, and why you left?"

"Did?" Tyson said. "Did? I did everything. I ran everything. Or, I did until the new CTO took over. Christ, what an asshole. He completely ruined the entire IT department." Tyson went on for some time, describing the myriad failings of the CTO in colorful detail and salty language.

Roberto and Scott shared an awkward moment during Tyson's tirade. Roberto finally jumped in and said, "So… there's a lot of Windows experience on your resume."

"Tons," Tyson said without breaking verbal stride. "I ran the entire Windows network singlehanded until the new CTO ruined everything."

Roberto detected a theme. At this point, he was curious to see exactly how catastrophic this trainwreck of an interview was going to get. "Was the CTO not really a technical person? More pointy-hair and less hands on?"

"Completely," Tyson said. "He set the wrong tone on the very first day; he came in and said the whole IT department was failing, and that the network was way too slow. Keep in mind, we had a T1 for the central office. I tried to explain to him that websites can just be slow sometimes, and that the slowdown could be anywhere on the Internet between our network and the remote site, right? It was like trying to explain calculus to a dog. He was such a goddamn idiot. Finally, I just said that he could buy a bigger upstream pipe if it mattered so much, which ended the whole thing. He wasn't going to spend any money if he could avoid it. I really can't stress how big a moron this guy was."

Scott made one last stab at a professional interview. He glanced at Tyson's resume, looking for something to talk about. "So, talk to us about your experience with proxy servers."

"Well, you know how it is. The apes at the retail offices were using the computers to download pornos. National chain, people a few thousand miles from the central office think they can get away with anything. So we put in a proxy to filter traffic."

"And how did you implement that?"

"Well, with offices scattered all over the country, we decided to put a single server in at corporate. Each store VPNed into the corporate network so that they could hit the proxy."

Something broke inside Scott just then. Roberto heard the snap. Roberto wasn't sure he believed what he was hearing. "So all the web requests they wanted to make had to hit your proxy at the central office first?"


"And then the responses would come back through the same proxy?"

"Yep," Tyson said with a measure of pride. "And nobody got to any prohibited websites."

"And the CTO complained that the network was slow?" Roberto said. "I can't imagine."