Wasting your and my time
I had a really interesting experience recently which I hope might enlighten others as much as it did me:
I was approached (via LinkedIn) by a recruiter from one of the big tech firms, as they put it "based on the work you've been publishing on image analysis and learning models". I would have to admit that doing this kind of work for one of the holy trinity sounds like a dream job for a hardcore geek like myself.
So I went along late one afternoon (they kindly offered to meet with me at their premises in town at the end of the day to allow me to focus on my current job). To be completely honest, I am happy where I am, but what's the harm in hearing what they have to say, right? What they had to say was truly fascinating.
After the usual niceties, we got down to my professional history. "I see you've been working in the technology industry since the early 1980's. That must be a misprint right?" I briefly explained the somewhat circuitous path that led me to the giants of hardware and software over the years, and how in almost 40 years of work, the best thing I have learned is that I will always keep learning.
"But you don't have a higher qualification in anything relevant. Just years on the job? So who really did the work you've been publishing?"
True, I am for the most part self-taught. I would have thought it's a good character trait. I can assure you that work I publish is my own, and I'll always credit any and all sources and assistance.
"Wow. That's impressive. But if I had known you were so old, I wouldn't have wasted my time contacting you"
At that point, I simply apologised for the obvious inconvenience I had caused the recruiter, and asked to leave. I was sorely tempted to leave with some cheap shot about wasting my time, and vow never to touch their products and services again but why just inflame an already uncomfortable situation.
I can't change the way someone else thinks. We can only change our own minds. This experience did give me cause to reconsider my own personal biases, and I'm going to do my best to see past them in future.
Thank you for your time.