At least the view was nice.
It wasn’t the most conventional setting for an interview – a bit noisy, cramped, and crowded – but Terra was more annoyed by the timing of the meeting, rather than the locale. In fact, the cafe was only a five minute drive away from his next appointment. That helped a little with the timing bit. Terra checked his watch. His interviewee was almost ten minutes late. That didn’t help.
Terra formulated a number of reasonable but likely to be rejected anyway excuses for being late when Airlie finally walked in.
Airlie looked like any typical fresh-out-of-college, desperate-for-work grad.
“Sorry I’m late. Haven’t yet shook the habit of Berkeley time!” the kid joked.
And he had the attitude of any typical millennial.
“Love the venue by the way. I came here all the time to study. The lake is beautiful, isn’t it? So green and alive! I’d meditate over the peace and serenity of it, but I’m usually too hyped up on the caffeine from their bomb iced mochas!” Interesting guy. And full of jokes it seemed.
“Let’s get started shall we?” Terra dove right into the questions. “Why do you want to work for Futuru?”
“Well, since I majored in Computer Science…” As Airlie went on to explain how his dime a dozen degree got him interested data science and the crazy world of Silicon Valley startups, a familiar, nagging voice in Terra’s head provided a different answer.
Why not get a more stable job, hon? One that pays the bills? That way, you can do all the fun stuff you’re passionate about without working yourself to the bone, staying up late, getting no reward for it…
“… but most of all I want to make a difference in the world, and I can see myself doing that at Futuru.” Airlie finished.
“Good answer.” Terra hadn’t heard a single word. The voice in his head continued.
Change the world? Hah, a noble cause, that’s for sure. Most people who say that are actually just in it for the fame and fortune. I hope that’s not you, sweetie. Have you really thought through what you’re doing with this company?
“And, what do you think you can contribute to the team at Futuru that’s unique?
Airlie flashed a confident grin. “I like to consider myself a jack of all trades. I figure that’s always a useful person to have in any team…”
Jack of all trades and master of none, they say. You’re going to have to settle on something eventually. You can’t be starting random companies every couple years for the rest of your life. Variety doesn’t pay for retirement as much as focus and single-minded commitment do. See, your father agrees with me.
“What are you hoping to get out of this position?” This was the last question. Terra checked his watch again. He hoped he wasn’t appearing to be rude, but given the tardiness and the air-headed responses to his questions, Terra didn’t feel the kid would be a good fit. Going any further would be a waste of time.
Airlie paused before giving his reply. “Well… I can continue saying the usual bullshit…” The change in tone caught Terra off guard, “Really, I do want to learn and be part of a cool team, but look at me. I’m sure you’ve put it together by now. I just graduated from Cal and I need to get my shit together. Most of all I need money. That’s what I’m hoping to get out of this. I’m also hoping I can prove that I can hustle, so that when I’m done with this soul searching business and finally figure out what I actually want to do, I have some more believable answers to these stupid questions everyone tries to ask me.”
Terra was stunned. And then he felt bad for the kid. These stupid questions? They’ll never stop asking them. “That’s a bold answer.”
“Yup,” the confident grin returned. “I’m trying to stand out. Is it working?”
“It definitely is. We’ll keep in touch.” Terra smiled and held out his hand. They shook and said their polite goodbyes.
Terra rushed out of the cafe to his car, double-checked that his mother’s birthday gift was securely fastened in his passenger seat, and drove to her party.