Posted on Sun 19 August 2018

how I found jobs

First ‘Real’ Job

“Hey, do you want to interview at an ISP? They’re looking for part-time people who can use UNIX.”

Lars (pronounced Larsh) lived across the hall from me in the dorm. Four of us piled into his car, all of us were accepted provisionally as juniormost UNIX people, and I progressed from “sure, I know what Usenet is” to being the Usenet news admin, then a general purpose sysadmin, and eventually to the Director of IT (aka seniormost sysadmin). The beginning was pure luck.

Traditional Approach

I sent my resume off to a hundred or more companies during the dot-boom, was interviewed three dozen times, and visited Ohio and Virginia and Boston. I felt an actual connection with BBN in Cambridge, and they offered me a job which wasn’t quite what I was expecting but turned out to be a pretty good fit for who I was at the time.


I was at the World Science Fiction Convention, ran into some people whom I had only known online, was adopted into their group in seconds, went out to dinner several times and near the end of the convention was told I really had to interview at this company I had never heard of, Akamai. I did. More pure luck.

More Networking

A friend mentioned that his company was hiring; I sent him my resume. They apparently liked it enough to bring me in for 24 hours of interviewing over twelve calendar days. Then they dropped me from their search without a word.

Craigslist Ad

They put in an ad, I applied. We had a phone screen, an interview with several people, and then they made an offer. Later this year I will have been with that empoyer for 15 years.

Lessons Learned

Finding a job is pure luck. Getting the job, though, is a combination of your experience, how you present yourself, and more random factors beyond your control. If they don’t have a reasonable interview process, you should assume that they aren’t very good at any other process.

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