Another day, another hour spent asleep on the floor of the bedroom of one of my daughters. This time at least I was tired both from jet lag and from going for a 90 minute run this morning.
Today I interviewed three different people for a job. I ask the same battery of questions to all the candidates but it’s always surprising how wide a range of answers I get. Sometimes people give brutally simplistic solutions to problems. Sometimes they raise deep philosophical objections to the questions themselves. And sometimes they just ask me to repeat the question lots of times.
I do sometimes worry that the questions I ask will find their way to Glassdoor.com for other applicants to pore over. A truly paranoid person would create questions that were the interviewing equivalent of the cartographer’s fallacy, though all that would really tell you was which candidates were cribbing notes from Glassdoor. Does that count as cheating? As careful preparation? Should I stop asking people “what’s the biggest thing you’ve ever eaten?” or “do you want to fight?” (But in my line of work, it’s essential to be able to recite from The Bad Tempered Ladybird so I don’t see a way out of this quandary.)
In a previous role, I put all my interviewing questions on my blog. Which nobody read. There’s something about security through obscurity that has at least aesthetic appeal.
This morning, still feeling tired, I forced myself to go for a run; one that turned out to be quite tough. I then made life harder for myself by going to work in shorts – after all, I do live in a tropical country.
But I work in an air-conditioned office, and it feels like it’s calibrated not by anything as obvious as a thermostat, but by an equation relating to the heat generated by several hundred people being in the office at once. Since there were less than ten people on my floor today, I think that explains why it was freezing cold and my body was constricted, shivering to try to keep me warm.
Or I ate too many crisps, and that’s why I felt rough when I got home this afternoon.
Continue reading “Cold days”
La Serpiente rushed into the house at six this evening, exclaiming "what a beautiful graph!" So I have at least one vote in favour of what I was doing all day: battering at some data in an effort to find something new, and then making a pretty picture. It made me happy, at least for a while, to find some pattern there amongst the numbers. Now all I have to do is find a way to make it useful. Or, alternately, find someone to find a way to make it useful.
Continue reading “Positive feedback from the kids”
Tonight we had a boat trip to Lazarus Island, somewhere round the back of Sentosa, along with a cooler full of Heineken and an enormous mound of meat. Singapore was hot as ever, but the breeze in the early evening made it feel cool. That was deceptive; I came home at 10 feeling utterly dreadful. That must have been the best, not the beer that I drank.
The yacht we had was a fairly big catamaran with two decks and a bedroom below the deck, but even so when a larger boat went past, the swell would pitch us back and forward until I felt like I was going to chuck up. What we needed was an ocean going freighter. That would provide some stability to my life.
It was nice to chunter around Singapore; at the end of the evening we journeyed to the back of the Marina Bay Sands and stared at the shiny casino, then returned to the more prosaic Keppel Bay harbour, past innumerable gantry cranes. I lamented the end of the cheese on sticks then went home to rest up in preparation for the weekend. I hope La Serpiente and I survive.
Today was Games Day, so instead of going to the office we trooped down to the beach in Sentosa Island. Unfortunately, the haze was blowing in. When I got up this morning, there was a strong smell of burning in the house but the air quality reading was just 60, so I assumed it was overenthusiastic immolations for the Hungry Ghost Festival that was producing the smell. By midday today it was at 230 (above 100 you should stay indoors and avoid strenuous exertions) so at least we know my feeling ropey for the past few days isn’t because I’m down with a disease. It’s just Singapore that’s killing me. But still, we had Games Day.
Continue reading “Games Day”
After all my hotel silliness last night, I woke up at 5:30 this morning, a rank injustice after taking so long to get a bed. I could have at least got more than five hours" sleep, watched over by the Beatles.
Continue reading “Coffee in California”
In what may have been an act of self-destructive stupidity, I read Chaos Monkeys on the plane on the way to San Francisco, ahead of my first visit to Facebook HQ. If ever there was something to smash the bright eyed idealism that accompanies the start of a new job and replace it with world weary cynicism, it would be a book that starts by describing your CEO as a smartphone addicted mutterer, surrounded by people who spoke only in corporate platitudes and MBA-speak, and heads downhill from there. I like a good hatchet job as much as the next guy, but it’s a strange experience watching somebody air out the dirty laundry from a place you’re going to…
Continue reading “I, too, was there – Chaos Monkeys”