Mixsonian Larry


The Interviews

The day came for me to fly to DC for my interviews when I received phone call from another company who was interested me and after a short phone interview, I explained to them that I would be in the area the following week and so I arranged for a third in person interview with them.  The day came,  Julie drove me to the Melbourne airport, she parked the Volvo in the hourly lot, and she went into the airport with me to check in.  Julie stood by me as the short line progressed to the counter where I checked in and handing them my suitcase with my Pierre Cardin suit as I watched it go down the conveyer belt and disappearing through the wall. Julie then walked with me to the gate where she sat with me until the call to the board the airplane was called.  We said our goodbyes and good luck and I left her standing there as went down the ramp to board the plane.

I arrived in Washington Dulles airport on time after a going through a concerning transfer at the Alanta Airport, I never knew there could be so many concourses, but I managed to find my flight to DC, take the inter-concourse tramway, find the gate for my flight to DC and board on time.  Upon arriving at Washington Dulles Airport, I found the car rental where I had a reservation, picked up my rental car from Hertz, and departed the airport on the Dulles Toll Road towards Washington DC.  After few miles I exit at Tysons Corner where I had a reservation at the Embassy Suites arranged by Boeing.  I checked into the hotel, dropped my luggage off in my room and then went to the restaurant and had dinner, $28, outrageous, I thought, but Boeing said they would pay for expenses so I put it on my hotel tab and hoped Boeing would pay for it. 

I didn’t sleep all that well that night, worrying about if I would wake up in time for my interview at Boeing at nine, but I was awake at six in the morning, I performed my morning SSS*.  My interview was not until 9 so I put on my travel clothes and went down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast.  Sixteen dollars for two slices of bacon, two eggs, hashbrowns, toast and tea, outrageous, but I ordered it, even the orange juice, which was an extra dollar, oh well, I thought, but Boeing said they would pay.  After breakfast I went back up to my room and put on my brand new Piere Carden suit, Julie was right, I thought as I looked in the mirror, I did look good.

A good half hour before my interview I leave my room, go down to the garage, get into my rental car, and drive the few blocks to the Boeing building, arriving a good twenty minutes early.  I would have made my Dad proud who always said if you didn’t arrive fifteen minutes early you were late.  I checked in with the receptionist, who had me sign a guestbook then after calling someone, said for me to have a seat, someone would be down to get me.

A man soon arrived and asked if I was here for the interview, I say yes, and he escorted me to the elevator where we took it up to the sixth floor to his office where he offered me a chair across from his desk.  As I sat down, he picked up a copy of my resume from his desk and proceeded to ask me some general questions about the places where I worked and what I worked on which I seemed to answer to his satisfaction for after about twenty minutes he said he would like me to talk to one of his technical staff. He stood up and I followed him out the door and down the hall to another office where he introduced me to another man about my age.  This second man then proceeded to ask more technical questions about PC’s, MS DOS, and programming. After another twenty minutes he said there was yet a third person for me to talk to and he led me down the hall to another office where another person asked more questions. When the third person was finished, he took me back to the first man who said they were interested in hiring me, but it would be a couple of days before they would make a decision and he then escorted me back to the lobby.   It was quite the experience, talking to three people, but it seemed to go well, and they said they were interested.  It would be an anxious couple of days waiting to hear from them.

I exited the Boeing building, got into my rental car and drove back to the hotel and had lunch at the hotel restaurant.  Twenty dollars for a hamburger, outrages.  I had arranged for a midafternoon interview with the third company that called me the day before I left so after lunch, I took a short nap in my room before heading over to the interview, again arriving a good twenty minutes early.  I checked in with the receptionist who was expecting me, so she called someone on the phone and a woman showed up a few minutes later and I followed her back to her office.  After being seated, she told me some about her and the company, she was a Vice President of development and the company was a small, wholly women owned business which allowed them to get special government contracts for both small business and being women owned.  Then she asked if I had I ever worked for a woman and if I had any problem working for a woman.  “Not at all.” I answered, while I had never worked for a woman before, I actually liked the idea, I always found I got along better with women than men. She then briefly talked about salary and then said she wanted me to talk to one of her technical staff and walked me down the hall to another office and introduced me to a man, one of her team leaders she said as she left me with the man.  After the talk about being a woman owned company, I was expecting it to be another woman and was a bit disappointed it was a man.  He later explained that although the company was woman owned, and perhaps a more women working there then other companies, they had quite a number of men too.   After talking about technical stuff for a while, he called someone and asked if there was anyone else I was to see. The answer was apparently no and so he said someone would be contacting me in a day or two and then showed me back to the lobby.  On the way back to the hotel I reflected upon the interview and didn’t feel as confident about it as I did the with the Boeing interview.

After returning to the hotel, I had an early dinner which I again found again to be much too expensive then returned to my room and called Julie and told her about the interviews.  I slept restless that night thinking about the interviews and the one coming up the following day which was the one that most interested me.

The following morning, I was awake early, and I went down and ate breakfast. My interview was not until 10 AM so having a couple hours to kill. I went back to my room and watched the news.  Since I would not be coming back, I packed up my things, went down to the lobby and checked out of the hotel. I was quite surprised about the amount of the bill and only hope that Boeing would pay for it all.  I would have to send them the receipt first thing when I got home.

The third company I was to interview with was called CCI, like IBM, they had shorted their name to three letters as they were formerly Computer Consoles Inc.  CCI was located in Reston Virgina, which was about halfway between Tysons Corner and the Dulles Airport which I flew into.   I remember seeing the signs for it the first day when I arrived and drove to the hotel at Tysons Corner, so it didn’t take but a few minutes to get there. 

CCI was located in a red brick office building immediately off the Dulles toll road where they had the entire sixth floor of the building.  I was familiar with the routine by this time, check in with the receptionist, sign the guest book, receptionist calls someone to come meet me.  I only had to wait a few minutes before a woman comes out.  I didn’t know what to make of her at first, she was short, had long, wild, frizzy hair, that came down past her shoulders.  She had on bright red lipstick and way too much green eye shadow, something I remember my daughter did when she first started using makeup.  She was wearing a dress that seem much too formal for work, more like something you would wear if going out for the night.   The woman introduces herself, Cynthia, the director of development, we shake hands and I follow her back to her office where, after being seated, I see she has a copy of my resume on her desk, but she begins by telling me about CCI. 

She explained: Computer Consoles Inc, or CCI  had three main divisions, one for telephony, one for computers, and the division I was at that made an office automation system.  The office automation system was called “Office Power” and ran on their computer division’s Power 6/32 minicomputer.  The Power 6/32 computer used a custom CCI developed computer chip and ran a version of the Unix operating system.  Office Power ran on the on a Power 6/32 system which users would access from dumb computer terminals.  Office Power was relatively successful with their main market being large law firms.  It was also translated into several other languages and sold internationally. 

I had worked on such central computer based systems before, first with IBM mainframes with remote terminals at the University and then the minicomputer based newspaper systems at Harris Composition.  The industry was moving away from such centralized systems to distributed PC based systems running local software on the PC.  CCI, with its centralized Office Power system, recognized this change in the industry, particularly since many of their user base were starting to use PCs running WordPerfect.  CCI’s plan was to somehow integrate PC’s running WordPerfect with their centralized Office Power system. What they were interested in me for was to head up the development effort.   From what I was hearing I sounded like the perfect fit. 

For a director Cynthia was surprising knowledgeable and technical and I seem to answer questions to her satisfaction then after almost an hour or so she said there were a couple of her staff that she wanted me to talk to.  I talked to the next guy, one of the Windows programmers, who quizzed me about my  C programming skills which I impressed him with but when he got to Unix I didn’t do as well since I had not used Unix much.  The next guy I talked to was one of their PC programmers, something I had a lot of experience with.  The second guy then took me back to Cynthia’s office and she suggested we go out for lunch. I said sure, and we go out to her car, and she drives us to the nearby town of Herndon and had lunch at the Ice House Café.   It was a really good lunch, I was again shocked at the prices, but she was paying so I ordered the Ruben sandwich with fries.  We talked all though lunch, some technical, some about ourselves.  After lunch we returned to the office and she asked me to wait a minute, she wanted to see if the VP was available.  Ok, now I was getting excited, they must be interested if she wants me to talk to the VP.  After a couple of minutes she comes back and says the VP is available and took me to see him.  The VP was a really nice guy, one of those people that you feel comfortable with.  He asked what I thought of the job, the people and if it was something I was interested in doing.  I said yes, actually I was quite excited about it.  We then talked about salary, being laid off I wasn’t going to be too picky, so when he suggested a salary that was a couple of thousand more than I had made the previous year, I was quite happy.  He said that someone would contact me in the next day or two and let me know if they will make me an offer.

I left his office excited, after almost three months of looking, I may actually have a job.  I left the building, got in my rental car and drove the short distance to the Dulles Airport where I checked in.  While waiting for my flight, I called Julie on a pay phone and told her about the interview and how excited I was and she said she would be at the airport to pick me up.

Updated: 10-08-2023

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