[Fiction Practice] The Old Guy

“OK, Jane. We have time for one more question.”
“What’s the successful candidate look like in this role? What should I focus on to prevent myself from being unsuccessful?”
“Well, lemme tell you about the old guy. What a lazy bum! Couldn’t do nothing! He couldn’t understand anything we’d give ‘im! We’d tell him repeatedly how to do his assigned work and he’d seem to just forget! Stay away from the guy you are replacing![1]”

“No worries.”

“Yeah, because what a bad employee! Some of the questions he’d ask were already documented. He just decided that it’d be easier to ask for help than to be a little self-reliant and do the research himself! I mean, the stuff he was asking my team wasn’t even that complicated. It should be common sense for people in your field, right?!”


“Exactly, so he’d just run around there seemingly doing nothing. He’d revisit customers multiple times. They’d see him doing loops around their building. People were suspicious he wasn’t doing any work because of that! He always pretended to have a bunch of stuff going on, always moving stuff around, you know? It’s a trick, right?”


“What do you mean by that?! Look, I don’t want another person like him coming in. I’m looking for someone that can get in there and do the work that we need done! It shouldn’t be too hard for one person to do the work that’s assigned out there! We wouldn’t even need that role were it not for the building manager out there…”

“No worries from me. I’m responsible and good at what I do.”

“Good. Well, looks like we went over for time. Hopefully that wasn’t too bad for you? Well, thanks again for the phone chat today. I have one last candidate I’m interviewing this afternoon, then I’ll make decisions on who to bring in for an in-person interview. You should hear back by the end of the tomorrow what I decide.”

“Sounds good, thanks, bye.”

Jane looked down at the notes she wrote during the interview. All of it made sense, but she had this unsettling feeling throughout the interview, like something was wrong. That final question nailed it. Nothing he said seemed to indicate complete ineptitude. He wasn’t late into work or inebriated on the job. Maybe it wasn’t a good gig?

She called up this random recruiter after rolling down the window in her truck.

“Hey, yeah, it turned out well.” “What was covered?” They discussed the technical details at length. “The hiring manager also seemed upset over the old guy. Ranted for a few minutes about not getting the work.” “The client didn’t mention anything about why, just that they needed someone in there ASAP.” “We’ll know the decision by tomorrow.”

Jane already knew the outcome before they ended the post-interview call.

She quietly said “that manager’ll be trouble…” before returning to work.

“Hey Jim, sorry I’m late.”
“No worries. How’d it go?”
She smiled. “Didn’t get it!”

Sources: My personal experiences.

Quotes: [1] I received this sentence as a text from one interviewer. The other quotes steal some generic passages I’ve heard several times.

Inspirations: A recent interview and thinking back to some bad managers.

Related: A random story within the Sammohini Arc of “The Story.”

Photo: Random photograph from a parking lot that looked cool.

My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.