At least there’s ample parking

It was back in the early 90’s. I had graduated from college a couple of years back and had held a couple of “normal” I/T jobs as a programmer/analyst. As things would turn out I was looking for a job again and spotted an interesting ad in the local paper. The ad read “leading edge technology company requires a junior programmer for development of custom applications”. I thought to myself this sounds interesting and I was getting hungry at the time so I sent in a resume. I quickly received a call back and they asked me to come in for an interview.

This is where things started to get interesting. First they asked me to meet them at a downtown hotel. I was familiar with the location so I asked them where I should park because I knew it was limited in the area. They said to park in the underground lot beneath the hotel. I then asked what room I should meet them in and they indicated that they would just meet me in the parking lot. I thought this a little different but I agreed and went to meet them there the following afternoon.

As I drove down the ramp and turned the corner I didn’t see anyone so I continued on and pulled in front of the automated pay station and stopped. Not seeing anyone and thinking I might be a little early I turned off the car and got out to look around. After waiting for a few minutes I started to hear voices coming from behind the pay station. There was a small unpainted plywood door beside the station and it sounded like the voices were coming from behind that door. After waiting a few more minutes I got up the courage walked over to the door and knocked.

I’m not sure who was more surprised, me to find two guys in jeans and t-shirts hunched over a couple of PC’s working in a room the size of a broom closet or them to see a 6’5″ guy in a suit. After my shock wore off I stepped into the “office” and they invited me to sit on stool. As it turns out the job was as advertised. The company was developing the software to run the automated pay station and they needed somebody who could program and debug the system and also help customers if they had trouble using the pay station.

Tentatively, I accepted the job and was assigned the evening shift programming and assisting customers use the system. It was amusing some evenings when I would be working behind the station and hear a car drive up and stop. As good as the system was some customers ultimately had problems and would start to become agitated. There were quite a few surprised looks when they would start yelling at the station and I would suddenly appear out from behind the station and offer my assistanc e. I lasted six weeks.

Don Smirl, Winnipeg

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