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This is a question Winging It

Don Spang says: I once found myself winging it in a job interview and somewhat exaggerated my technical experience in the field of mainframe computer operations. 24 years later, I'm still there. Ever had to improvise to get by? Tell us you tales of MacGyver-type genius.

(, Thu 28 Mar 2013, 12:31)
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A-level Design Technology...
For my A-level DT class our teacher decided to select some of her students and nominate their final projects for design awards, so as to augment the official grade and perhaps put some lacquer on our turds of CVs. In the previous year I'd somehow gotten a silver award, and so my teacher thought I should be able to go for gold this year. The only problem was that to get gold you needed some sort of industrial input to the project. A few people had gotten bespoke parts machined or printed, demonstrating an ability to communicate a design sufficiently to professional. I, on the other hand, being resourceful (read: cheap) managed to put my entire project together myself from offcuts and scrap. Despite this, and despite my teacher knowing I'd had no outside input to my project, I was still entered for the award.

Judgement day arrived, and I set up my project to be grilled. Three professional designers came up to me and asked me to describe my project. I'd built a set for a stop-frame animation, plus characters. The set was a secret lab, and the characters consisted of a professor, a school boy, and a monkey wearing massive boots. A classic concept. So far, my presentation was going well. Predictably, the very first thing they asked after that was, "so, in what way did you work with industry to put this design together?" I did that thing where you say "Well..." in an overly positive way to stall the conversation but trying to sound like you actually have something to say. I then lied and explained how I had been communicating with Aardman Studios with regards to my project, and how I had gotten feedback on the set design, lighting issues and initial stages of the character design. The judges sounded impressed, but they weren't fools. Immediately they asked who I contacted, and how. I replied, "Um, I spoke to a...Steve...who is an...animator at Aardman. We spoke on the phone...and...also e-mail."

'And also e-mail' - the loose thread on my weave of lies. I obviously would have e-mailed had I contacted them, so I had to say it to be believable. I'd created a fake, virtual paper trail. One judge then said, "so you have some printouts of your discussions?"

"Yep...yep! Got a whole load of those e-mails...somewhere. I haven't got them with me though. Did you want to see them?"

Another judge chipped in, "well, it'd be nice, but if you haven't got them printed out then perhaps just the first email or two that you sent and received?"

I smiled sheepishly. "Okey dokey...you want me to print then out now or...?"

Thankfully, those wonderful, merciful bastards didn't need them immediately, and I finished answering their technical questions about the actual build. At the end, they all smiled, shook my hand, and said that if they could just see a quick print out of an e-mail before they left at the end of the day, then they'd recommend me for an award. I was one more lie short of the gold. I scurried off while they judged others, and sat at the computer. Frantically, I wrote an e-mail to 'Steve', and sent it to myself. Then, I stripped the e-mail address and logo from the Aardman website, a picture of Morph and Chas from Google Images, and slapped them into a reply e-mail. I added a whole bunch of text saying 'thanks for the e-mail', and 'yes, we'd love to help your DT project', 'blah blah', and changed my address in the to-from text section to the Aardman one, remembering also to change the date and time to months ago. Flawless. I printed it out low-quality black and white to distract from any remaining flaws in the details, and ran back. The judges were still busy looking over other projects, so I asked my teacher to pass the letter on, and wiped my hands of the whole ordeal.

One month later, who gets sent a Gold Design Award? Not me. It was fecking obvious I'd faked the letter and my tower of lies crumbled like a sand castle in Stompsville. So close. C'est la vie.
(, Wed 3 Apr 2013, 14:26, 1 reply)
Wrong career, try baking.

(, Wed 3 Apr 2013, 15:57, closed)

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