I decided not to go straight home. With a mix of emotions, I started to think about what I'm going to do in the next two weeks besides job hunting. Visibly pained, I remember just how much interviewing sucks. It's like your selling your life story in the span of 5 minutes while they assess if your worthy of them.
In my field, I'm a software programmer, they usually grill you pretty hard on tech. The kind of knowledge you only get by actually being involved in hardcore projects daily, engrossed in the technology like it's as vital as breathing.
I'm exhausted already. Thinking about the uncertain future combined with the embarrassment of losing your job... my old friend, depression, has joined me once again.
Distracted by self-pity as I wondered aimlessly through the city, I heard a familiar voice.
"John? John Diamond! I thought it was you, I haven't seen you since college!", the voice exclaimed with excitement.
"Seth Goldstein, I'll be damned!", I spoke with limited enthusiasm.
Seth and I were like yin and yang in college. We were both in the Computer Science program at Rutgers. Wasting our days drinking lots of beer, hacking badly coded website and playing the latest multiplayer computer games. I don't know how we graduated.
"What've you been up to, bro?", he said while squinting curiously. "You're looking kinda pale, you ok?"
Shaking my head, "Just lost my job... I've got no savings, and i got two weeks before I gotta start pimping myself out on that corner over there".
Seth nodded, "Wow... you're like the third friend this week who's sung that same song".
He was silent for a moment then with a glint in his eye, "Well, the company I'm working for is looking for some testers... I could put in a good word for you"
"Testers? Dude, that's like entry level shit work. I'm a code ninja with twelve years under my belt. Are they paying in mountain dew and Twinkies?"
"Yeah yeah, no shit. It's only part time work, and the pay is McDonald's grade, but here's the rub...", Seth paused and grinned widely. "You'll be testing some cutting edge new virtual reality hardware that is insanely immerse. We're building a virtual world that is programmable with this hardware and your experience as a coder would make you uber-valuable."
I scoffed, "Virtual Reality? They've been working on that technology for like twenty years now...".
Seth just stared with that grin watching the wheels turning in my head.
"I really have nothing to lose. I'm going to be in the city interviewing like a nut, I might as well see what this is about."
Seth did a little cheer and slapped me on the back. "That's freaking awesome. Like old times, bro."
He handed me his card an started towards the subway. "Just come into the office at 9 tomorrow and we'll get things going." He said over his shoulder. "Oh, and don't eat for twelve hours before, we gotta do some blood work to calibrate the machine."
"Wait, what... what do you mean?", I called after him while he headed down the subway stairs.
"You'll find out tomorrow. Later, bro"
Now I'm curious as hell. What kind of virtual reality machine cares about my blood chemistry?
Dumbfounded, I looked at Seth's card. It had a symbol of a brain with what looked like beams of light shooting out of it.
It read: "Metacortex Studios, Digital Worlds for a Digital Mind".