IBM and The Coffee Machines

Back in June 1999 I attended a day of assessments for a post at IBM Hursley for a programmer’s post.

The atmosphere in the place was electric. People were passionate about the work they were doing. In many ways, I could have seen myself working there.

It was not to be.

I can only assume that their HR department had simply made a mistake in evaluating my suitability for the jobs available. The written tests concerned technology I had never used. The interview questions might as well have been in dutch. Even the coffee machines were beyond me. It was embarassing – not just for me, but for the interviewers, too. When we ran out of small-talk, the sessions were unbearable.

I went home quite depressed.

Needless to say, after “careful consideration” (I kid you not) “we will not be taking your application for employment any further at this time”. I must admit, I was relieved. There would have been something very wrong with the place if they had done anything else. After all, would you want to work with someone who couldn’t even make his own coffee?

Some time in the latter part of 1998 (if I recall correctly) I had already been interviewed for a post at IBM North Harbour: for a rather cool job in network security.

Things had gone well. Thankfully, the coffee machines were a little more friendly, so by the end of the morning the interviewer more-or-less implied that the job was mine. He advised that they still had to finalise some things about the post, so should not quit my present post just yet, but wait untill I heard from them. He had talked about international travel and all sorts.

But then, in March ’99, I received a letter stating that they could not take me on “due to a number of internal IBM factors, which have led to the vacancy no longer existing”. If something suitable came up I would be told as “a matter of urgency”.

I am still waiting, but I am not holding my breath. By now, have head about me and the coffee machines…


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