CAPS – Chapter 12: Interviews

“Please have a seat,” the interviewer said. “No, that’s my seat. The other seat, please.”

“Oh, ah, sorry,” Shen said, standing quickly and taking the smaller chair in the conference room. 

“Before we begin, I first must say that you’ll need to dress more appropriately if you want this job.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know-“

“This is a bank, Mr. Tian, we don’t come to work without a tie or dress shoes.”

“I understand, sir. It won’t happen again.”

“Now tell me about your past work experience with in-game virtual currencies.”

“Umm…”

“Umm?”

“I uh… don’t have much work experience, sir. But-”

“You mean you have no experience.”

“Yes, sir-”

“I think we’re done here.”

* * * 

“So what game design experience do you have?”

“Umm…”

The interviewer raised her eyebrows expectantly. 

“Err I don’t have any-but I’ve been a very active gamer for the past 12 years.”

“And you think that makes you a designer?”

“Uh… well, I know a lot about-”

“Look, we get people like you all the time. You play some games, and you think that means you can start designing games. But it doesn’t work like that. It’s true that AI makes it easier now, you don’t need intense programming skills like you used to, but that doesn’t mean you understand how to design levels or craft engaging stories.”

“But-“

“Take it from me, you seem like a nice kid,” the interviewer said, though she looked like she was in her early 20s, no older than Shen. “But you’re in over your head. Some people are players, not creators. And that’s okay.”

Shen looked down and said nothing. The words ran through his mind. 

When Colossus stopped updating Constellation, I made my own challenges for our entire game world. I created new and exciting ways to engage players. I made something from nothing! 

But just as it had always been, he couldn’t bring himself to speak them. His level for this skill was still too low. 

The interviewer watched him a moment, then stood and opened the door, signaling the end of the interview. 

“One other thing,” she said at the door. “Just as a tip, kid, if you’re going to interview for game companies, don’t dress like a stockbroker. Lose the tie.”

* * * 

“What in Isla’s name are you wearing! Where is your tie? We work in the gaming industry don’t you know, not some street shop selling pork buns! You need to dress like a professional!”

“I’m very sorry, sir,” Shen said. “Erm… who is Isla?”

“You don’t know Isla? My goodness, son, do some research before you apply to a company. She’s our most holy CEO, first daughter of the chairman, of course,” Kabanagan said and gestured to the portrait on the wall behind him. 

Shen looked up and saw the framed painting of a beautiful young woman. For some reason, he felt as if he had seen her face somewhere before. But he could not place it. Where had it been?

“Majestic, isn’t she?” Kabanagan said, nodding in approval at  Shen’s stare. 

“Ah, yes, very much so.”

“Now, then, let’s get on to business matters. Why do you want to work for Prestige Properties?”

“Yes sir, I’m uh interested in how third-party virtual properties interface with game platforms.”

“Is that right?” Kabanagan scratched his chin, giving Shen a look as if he wasn’t entirely convinced. “As you know, this interview is for an office coordinator position. You wouldn’t do much game-related work. You’ll mostly be grabbing coffees, ordering office supplies, running errands, and doing whatever miscellaneous tasks that need to get done.”  

“I understand, sir,” Shen said. “I’d just be happy to be working for a game company.” 

“Good. Had to be clear on that.” He picked up Shen’s resume and peered down at it, putting on his reading glasses. “Says here you ran a large virtual organization for several years. Tell me more about that.”

“Um… yes… I ran a guild.”

“A guild?” Kabanagan chuckled. “A guild in a game?”

“Yes, sir.” The interview had been going better than any of the others, but Shen knew right then and there what Kabanagan was going to ask next. He pressed his legs together in his chair and held his breath.

“Do you have any work experience related to this job?”

“No…”

“I see,” Kabangan said, putting down his glasses. “I’m sorry to say I don’t think I can continue this interview. We’re a big company. One of the best in our field. Over 90% of employees work remotely in DR. And the ones that work here at headquarters are expected to be the best of the best—even the office coordinators I’m afraid. I suggest you get some more experience then maybe try us again. Though I can’t promise we’ll have a similar position open.” Kabanagan stood and held out his hand. “Nice meeting you, son.”

Shen stood and shook Kabanagan’s hand, mumbling a thank you, then exited his office into the hallway. There were still more places he had scheduled for interviews, but he knew they’d all go the same. 

Colossus was a publicly-traded company worth several trillion credits, while Shen, on the other hand, lived in a capsule hostel and couldn’t even land a job as an office coordinator. His fist tightened its grip like a coiled knot. 

“Excuse me? Heelloooo? Can you hear me?” It was Jason, Kabanagan’s assistant who had brought him up the elevators of the building. “The exit to the office is this way. You can’t just stand here in the hallway. You’re blocking-”

Shen turned around and knocked on Kabanagan’s office door again. Chryses never gave up, and he wouldn’t either. Not anymore. He didn’t get resurrected to be an unemployed gamer. 

“Jason? Come in,” came Kabanagan’s voice. 

“I’m sorry to intrude again, Mr. Kabanagan. I just wanted to say that I really would like this job! The truth is I helped out at my dad’s video game shop when I was a kid, and that sums up all the work experience I have.” The words were spilling out of his mouth at an ever-increasing speed now. “The real reason I want to work here is so I can make money and learn about running a game company so that I can reunite my friends and get revenge on someone who took them from me. But I promise you I’ll do whatever it takes to be the best office coordinator you’ve ever seen.”

Kabanagan raised his bushy grey eyebrows at this and stared into Shen. 

Shen, who now was replaying what he’d just said in his mind, began to blush bright red. 

“Well,” Kabanagan said finally. “You were probably a little too honest with that statement, but I appreciate your spirit. Let me give it a think and I’ll get back to you.”

“Yes sir, thank you for your time,” Shen said, still completely mortified. 

Kabanagan nodded, and Shen closed the door. He let out a huge breath, unsure if he’d just done the right thing. 

He pulled himself together and turned-

“What in the world was that?” Jason said. 

“I uh-”

“Cause’ it was freakin’ AWESOME!” Jason said with a big grin on his face and slapping Shen’s shoulder. “Man, I hope you get the job. You shoulda seen the losers coming in for it. Come on, I’ll take you back to the elevators.”

* * *

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