I freelanced much of my way through college, to pay bills, but also to get way more real-world exposure to technology. But I kept freelancing for a few years too many, and a couple years after college I really just wanted a real job again.
My job search basically consisted of two options: Apple, or startups. My interviews at Apple went well. So well that I found myself driving down to Apple for an all-day interview, with a working lunch break at the cafeteria with a pair of VPs.
As I sat down in the middle of the cafeteria with the VPs, I immediately got distracted. Steve Jobs, in full mock turtleneck regalia, had just walked past the window next to us. Perhaps a good omen? Well, at least something to add color to a day spent sitting in a room all day.
The interview was just getting started when Steve decided to park himself and his friends at the table directly next to us. As in, close enough to bump into when I got up if I wasn’t careful. Gulp.
So I found myself spending the next 30 minutes being interviewed while sitting next to Steve Jobs, who was clearly in earshot. I could have tried to listen in on his conversation too, but I wouldn’t have dared. Remember that scene in Pirates of Silicon Valley where Noah Wyle goes off on that job applicant from IBM? That didn’t happen, but perhaps Steve was just feeling generous that day.
I didn’t get the job, which I found out later was really for the best. It wasn’t a good fit and I went on to work in startups where I felt right in my element. But that interview at Apple will definitely go down as the most memorable and stressful I’ve ever had.