After living out West for several years I made my way back East to my roots. Boston was one of my bucket list places to live and work. A couple of weeks after I arrived, I connected with a recruiter to begin my search for work.
My first prospect was with a company whose business was the furthest thing from my industry knowledge or expertise, technology. The position was for an administrative assistant and I knew I could do that pretty-much anywhere. MIT was in the company’s back yard and the owner had some connection with the higher ups over there. She had first dibs on some of the most brilliant people coming out of that institution. At the time, the internet was gaining serious traction worldwide and between the talent and product they were producing, everyone was reaping from the benefits in that place.
The day I interviewed, I spent about an hour with the owner in her gorgeous corner office. The deal was if a candidate passed the test with her, he or she was in. Her office was amazing. It had a panorama of windows that looked out across the Charles River and beyond to the Boston skyline.
To say the interview was bizarre is an understatement. She never asked one question about my credentials or abilities. I spent an hour answering questions like: ‘What do you like to eat? What’s your favorite color? Do you like people?’ I was a little confused over that last one, but by that point I figured it was best to just follow her lead. The one thing that I tried to get a read on was her eye contact. She had these piercing blue eyes that looked through you instead of at you.
When my recruiter called the next day and told me ‘blue eyes’ was ‘…enthralled with our conversation…wanted to offer me the job …’ I was tempted to ask if we were talking about the same company.
Once on board, I spent the first couple of weeks getting the lay of the land down. The caliber of brilliance that surrounded me was borderline intimidating. Most days I felt like I had fallen into a planet filled with extremely smart techno weirdoes. My boss was the only guy I could hold a conversation with and understand everything he said. My saving grace, however, was to remind myself that ‘blue eyes’ was enthralled with me.
About a month into the job I arrived at the elevator one morning and saw ‘blue eyes’ waiting for the same car. When the doors closed a moment of awkward silence passed between us. Tired of staring at numbers, I looked down at her shoes. They were these awful purple suede heels with oversized gold buckles. Rumor had it she loved it when people commented on her outfits—especially the shoes; so I did. At first I thought she didn’t hear me, but she turned and gave me that ‘look through’ stare. She had a thin, sharp line of a mouth and barely separated her lips and asked: ‘Do I know you?’ At the same time, the elevator door opened. Mortified, I quickly directed my inconsequential self out of the car. Not sure what happened, I stole a quick glance back toward the closing doors. She was back to the numbers as if what just happened never had.