“You know,” Rich Z thought to himself as he cruised down Highway 23, “I think this job might be the one!” he was on his way to interview for a “PHP Programmer” position at a trucking/logistics company. They were apparently impressed with by resume, and he was impressed by the small company and obvious open-source philosophy. But what had him exited at the time was the forty-five minute commute through a beautiful, traffic-free rural landscape.
Rich got off the highway at Birch Road to head East for “six… maybe seven miles,” then “hang a left at the grocery store,” and finally “make a right at the Big Brick Bank Building.” From there, he “couldn’t miss it.” Obviously, those weren’t MapQuest directions. Chuck, the Head of HR, insisted that “those internet directions” are always unreliable and never work out in the country. Of course, neither did the ChuckQuest directions, either.
After heading eight miles down Birch, Rich realized he should have gone west. Mostly because now he was in a different state. He turned around, phoned up the company, and said he may be a few minutes late. A bit of hurried driving later and Rich had passed Highway 23, the grocery store, and finally the Big Brick Bank Building. There was just one problem: the company was nowhere to be found.
After fifteen more minutes of frantic circling around and asking for directions, Rich was finally able to find someone who could tell him specifically where the trucking company was. It was in the Big Brick Bank Building. Everyone else, including three people at the company, managed to use every preposition except “in” to describe their location.
“Umm,” opened Chuck, the Head of HR, when Rich was finally led into his office, “your appointment was scheduled to start twenty minutes ago. Do you make it a habit to be late?”
Rich’s vision of a fun, challenging open-source job had all but faded. “Well, I, err,” he stuttered, “I called in half an hour ago and told them I’d be late. The directions you gav—I was given had a mistake. Err, I mean, there was a misunderstanding. I went east on Birch instead of west.”
“East!? Why would you do that!? That would take you clear into another state! Don’t you have a map, or something?”
Rich was tempted to show Chuck a print-off of the email sent just one week prior that specifically said to “head east” and to not use any other maps. He instead decided to hang on to what little chance he had and apologized again.
“You see, Rich,” Chuck said as he stood up, turned around, and peered out of the window, “timeliness is next to godliness, as they say. And as a logistics company, nothing is more important than being on time. You understand that, right?”
Rich nodded his head and just let Chuck keep preaching. There was still a chance, after all. He endured another twenty minutes of lectures on punctuality and was finally handed off to the much more amicable Head of Technology, Nancy. She was very friendly and immediately apologized for her poor English. And she wasn’t kidding.
Most of her questions were half-Korean/half-English. Many consisted of random strings of nouns with a questioning inflection at the end. Rich did his best to translate.
“PHP… errr, work, office?”
“Have I worked as a PHP programmer for a company before,” Rich confirmed. Nancy smiled and shook her head, leading Rich on to elaborate on some of his professional experience.
One “question,” however, really threw Rich off.
“You, Jeepies?” Nancy asked. Rich shrugged his shoulders. “You… Jeepies… Jeepies System?”
Rich still had no idea what she meant, so Nancy stood up and pointed to a picture of an eighteen-wheeler truck that hung on the wall. “Jeepies,” she repeated, tapping on the picture.
Then it dawned on Rich. Trucking. Logistics. “Ohh,” he said, “G-P-S. Yes, GPS. I’ve done a little bit and have a fair understanding of the technology. I assume you want GPS tracking integrated on your web application?”
“No, no,” Nancy shook her head, “install Jeepies. We need Jeepies install. Truck! You install Jeepies?”
Rich explained that, as a PHP programmer, he had no experience in installing GPS units in trucks. He advised that he’d certainly not be the right person for that job. She nodded and agreed. And then she went on to explain (so far as Rich could tell) that, as a PHP programmer, his job would be to install and support GPS systems in trucks.
After the interview, Rich thanked her for her time and told her that this was not the position for him. He advised that they look for a “GPS technician” and not a “PHP programmer.”
“Oh well,” Rich thought to himself on his long drive home, “I’m sure I’ll find another open-source job with a nice, peaceful commute.”
He mostly forgot about the experience until a phone call a few weeks later. It was Chuck. He called up to offer Rich the “PHP programming” job. Needless to say, Rich didn’t take it.