Chicago Boyz

                 
 
 
What Are Chicago Boyz Readers Reading?
 

 
  •   Enter your email to be notified of new posts:
    Loading
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Authors:

  • CB Twitter Feed
  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • 25 Stories About Work – “Don’t Hang Up” and the Recruiter from Detroit

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on October 19th, 2014 (All posts by )

    I was recently on a plane doodling and thought of some funny / interesting stories from 25+ years of working and traveling. So I decided to write them up as short, random chapters of a non-book with the title of this post. Hope you enjoy them and / or find them interesting. Certainly the value will be at least equal to the marginal cost of the book (zero)…

    Champaign, early 1990s

    As I graduated from college in the early 1990s, I went through the interview process on campus. About half the companies really liked me and about half the companies hated me. I guess I was a polarizing interviewee but who knows I had little idea about what to expect in an interview or how to behave. I do remember buying a suit with my mother for about $400 which seemed like an astonishing amount of money at the time.

    In addition to the on campus recruiters, I also fielded some phone calls. Looking back before the age of cell phones it is amazing that anyone ever got in touch with anyone else – they must have called me in my dingy hellhole of an apartment in the 5 minutes that I happened to be there in between class, prepping for the CPA exam, and going out drinking. I guess we had an answering machine but I’m not even sure about that and my roommates at the time weren’t exactly the most reliable.

    I was enamored with the idea of work and getting the heck out of Champaign so I was like a happy puppy when anyone called. The joke is that I would select the last recruiter to call.

    One day I did receive a call: Hello. I’d like to talk to you about a job opportunity in the transportation industry, he said. I was interested. I was always interested. Then he said something I’ll never forget.

    The job is in Detroit. Don’t hang up!

    The recruiter combined both sentences into almost a single thought, with urgency, because he apparently was used to people instantly hanging up as soon as they heard the job opportunity was in Detroit.

    I didn’t hang up. But I surely did not pursue that opportunity. Because it was in Detroit, of course. No wonder that city went down the drain…

    Cross posted at LITGM

     

    18 Responses to “25 Stories About Work – “Don’t Hang Up” and the Recruiter from Detroit”

    1. MikeK Says:

      My oldest daughter is a lawyer and, dissatisfied with family law in Washington State, she applied to the FBI. A year later, when she had given up and moved back to California, the FBI asked her if she was still interested. She was and went to the Academy. Unfortunately, her class was the last of the fiscal year and, when they got their choices of a post, she ended up with, yup, Detroit.

      I told her to cheer up as there would be plenty of crime. She was there seven years until the SAC changed and she could get out before the new SAC figured out that he would have double finding a replacement. She has been in California now for ten years or so. She lived in Bloomfield Hills, a nice suburb, but her office was in the city. At least she was armed.

    2. Bill Brandt Says:

      I think some areas of Detroit are nice – like Grosse Pointe?

    3. Bill Brandt Says:

      Have you all noticed when you are hot – everyone wants you and when not….

      I went to a computer tech school in San Diego – graduating with a BSCS. Sent resumes all over. Was hoping I could stay in San Diego but then everyone else was hoping the same too. Got a job offer from Cessna Aircraft in Wichita, which I accepted.

      The day I accepted got an offer from Texas Instruments in Dallas.

      Cessna was interesting – all 6 months of it before I got laid off.Carter was President, interest shot up to 20%, and companies who had placed $90,000 deposits on Citation Jets to be made – just walked way from their deposits and planes.

      But I was in the center of the General Aviation Industry. Stuff you’d read about in the aviation periodicals I’d see in person as I’d walk by through the experimental hanger on the way to lunch at the cafeteria.

      My desk was next to a small room where 3-5 engineers would get together – with strange parts like prop spinners – they were designing the Caravan which is all over the world today.

      Sometimes you gotta take the opportunities where they come.

    4. Whitehall Says:

      I was a co-op student in the early 70s with a small nuclear engineering firm in Clearwater, FL. I was sent to the HQ of Detroit Edison for a week to gather some data for a license application for a new reactor they were building.

      I was amazed that the liveliest thing the engineers there did was watch a pigeon build a nest on a window ledge.

      What a depressing place.

    5. dearieme Says:

      Forgive me if I’ve told you this story before. When I was a final year undergraduate, I liked to work in the Mathematics Reading Room of my university. Every now and then I’d get up from my table and have a little leg-stretch. One afternoon I read a notice pinned to the “jobs” noticeboard. It seemed rather enigmatic; then the penny dropped. It was a recruitment ad from our security services: perhaps GCHQ, perhaps MI5, perhaps MI6. It was quite clever – if you are the sort of youngster who can see what we mean then we are interested in you. Hats off.

    6. Will Says:

      I live in metro Atlanta. I’ve been here close to ten years. Most everyone is a transplant. Most of the people that I have met are from “Michigan”, that’s what they usually say. Further query usually reveals a particular metro area. We have an acquaintance who grew up there in the thirties, forties, fifties and six…she told us in detail what a beautiful place it was, her relatives from Germany visiting after escaping the horrors of WWII and being enthralled. We were polite enough not to ask if she goes back to visit. I’ve seen a black n’ white bumper sticker around that reads “I know people in Detroit”

      I always take heed.

    7. Mike Doughty Says:

      I was born and raised in Downriver Detroit. In the 50’s when my brother and I were kids, we could take a bus to within a mile or so of Briggs Stadium (later Tiger Stadium) and walk through Corktown, the Irish section, to the game….no problem. My friends and I frequented the city during high school. Everything changed after the ’67 riots, like a switch had been thrown. The city was never really safe for white people after that. Then came Coleman Young and the rapid downward spiral into chaos. I and most people I knew wouldn’t have gone into Detroit proper after dark, even to drive through, if you’d paid them to do so. I left in 1982 (and consider it perhaps the best decision I ever made), but all my family stayed. What’s happened to Detroit ought to be an object lesson to the rest of the country on many levels, but instead it’s largely ignored…..it’s really a sad thing to see a once great city literally in ruins because of leftist policy, political cronyism, corruption and simple incompetence.

    8. Bill Brandt Says:

      @Dearieme – when I have driven though the Bay Area I’ve seen billboards with extensive mathematical formulas – ads from Google. If you can figure out the formula they are interested in talking to you.

    9. MikeK Says:

      “If you can figure out the formula they are interested in talking to you.”

      There is a great story in Between silk and cyanide.

      Leo Marks went to SOE for a job interview. They gave him a code sample to decipher. They checked on him a couple of times and finally the interviewer came in and told him that he had failed a test that even the FANYs (Female Auxiliary Nursing Yeoman) had passed. The interviewer then demanded that Marks return his “key” to the cipher. The FANYs used a key but they had neglected to give him one. The interviewer was dumbfounded when he realized that Marks had deciphered the message without a key by standard cryptographic methods.

      He got the job even though he had been turned down by Bletchley Park. It’s a great book that I read after someone here reviewed it.

      Bill, Grosse Pointe is a suburb, like Bloomfield Hills. Coleman Young railed about whites fleeing the city for the suburbs, which continue to be nice and filled with what middle class whites and blacks remain. Going into the city is the problem. Chicago is on the way to the same end, I fear.

    10. Bill Brandt Says:

      You see pictures of the gutted downtown and it boggles the mind. An empty Packard plant where the homeless live. Entire neighborhoods of gutted homes. You’d think the best thing they could do would be to raze these blighted areas.

      Maybe the ’67 riots were the turning point but I would throw in the labor unions, driving manufacturing to the South and overseas, and a long period of enlightened liberal leadership.

      Mike – interesting story on the Leo Marks.

    11. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      I worked with a guy who grew up in Michigan. I’ve never been there, but I was told by him and others it’s beautiful. He said it was a great place to grow up and live.

      In light of FDR’s get people to work doing something useful programs, like the WPA and the CCC, you could employ architects and civil engineers and construction workers and steel producers and glass makers and artists and all sorts of people doing a large scale redevelopment of a place like Detroit. They did that in London and Paris both after major fires. And having liberals in charge of a place for a few decades is a lot like a major fire. Same results anyway.

    12. Mike K Says:

      “Mike – interesting story on the Leo Marks.”

      He has other stories like his concern that the Dutch underground radio had been taken over by the Germans. He realized it when the agents stopped have transmission errors. They had tapes of transmissions and agents typically made smilier errors from time to time. When the transmissions became perfect, he was worried. This was before “Operation Market Garden,” the Arnhem parachute drop that was a disaster. Connected ?

      It is still controversial, especially in Holland.

    13. Mike K Says:

      “Mike – interesting story on the Leo Marks.”

      He has other stories like his concern that the Dutch underground radio had been taken over by the Germans. He realized it when the agents stopped have transmission errors. They had tapes of transmissions and agents typically made smilier errors from time to time. When the transmissions became perfect, he was worried. This was before “Operation Market Garden,” the Arnhem parachute drop that was a disaster. Connected ?

      It is still controversial, especially in Holland.

      Apprehended radio operators continued broadcasting encrypted messages, but without the required security checks, which should have alerted the SOE that they had been compromised. Further, SOE’s head of codes Leo Marks claims to have quickly realised that, unlike all other coded messages, the Dutch messages contained no errors which made them indecipherable. He reasoned that this was because they were not coded in the field, but by German cryptographers. In the documentary Churchill’s Secret Army he recounts how a wireless operator ended a telegraphic radio communication with “HH”, which stood for Heil Hitler and was the usual closing for German communications. The other party instantly replied “HH” which indicated it was a German who was used to doing it automatically and not a British agent who would have been confused by the two letters. Finally, he sent them a deliberate indecipherable message of his own, which was replied to. He reasoned that no ordinary agent could have reconstructed his message. He reported these findings to his superior who told him to not discuss the matter with anybody else and no action was taken.

    14. Mike K Says:

      Ooops !

    15. David Foster Says:

      I reviewed Leo Marks’ memoir, Between SIlk and Cyanide, here:

      https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/11935.html

    16. Bill Brandt Says:

      David – Mike – if you haven’t read this book I think you would find it fascinating. On espionage during the revolutionary war but in particular a ring of 6 based in Long Island (a heavy seat of Loyalist sympathies) – who reported to George Washington.

      And until the 1920s-30s, their identities were unknown.

      They talk about methods of encryption, secret invisible ink….

      On the Loyalist side for an encryption key they used one of 3 books and the coded message has a series of numbers relating to the book, page, line number and word location.

      The invisible ink was used by both sides….

      http://www.amazon.com/George-Washingtons-Secret-Six-Revolution/dp/1595231102/ref=sr_1_fkmr2_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414008979&sr=8-1-fkmr2&keywords=ingtons+secret+six

    17. skh.pcola Says:

      I love comment threads on this blog. There is a fascinating level of experience, knowledge, and intelligence among both the writers and visitors that is unusual. Thanks to all of you for the reading and learning material.

    18. Bill Brandt Says:

      He has other stories like his concern that the Dutch underground radio had been taken over by the Germans. He realized it when the agents stopped have transmission errors. They had tapes of transmissions and agents typically made smilier errors from time to time. When the transmissions became perfect, he was worried. This was before “Operation Market Garden,” the Arnhem parachute drop that was a disaster. Connected ?

      What I have always found fascinating about the intelligence field is the subtleties that 999/1000 would miss. I will try to dig this out-of-print book up but it was called Secrets of D-Day – just some amazing things that turned history. Obviously fooling the Nazis into thinking the landing would be at Calais was the big thing but there were a dozen other things that were intelligence-based. In re: Germany and Russia there was some huge thing the Abwehr did to fool Stalin – I will have to find that book.

      This book I referenced above – the Secret Six – – I don’t want to be the spoiler but one of the 6 agents in Long Island noted something most people would miss – and put the suspicion on Benedict Arnold. Both seeing the forest for the trees and seeing the trees is a prerequisite, an ability lacking for most people.

      The game has remained relatively constant – just the tools have improved.

      The Abweher was particularly interesting. Sometimes it seems Wilhelm Canaris was working for Hitler – sometimes for Churchill.

      Evidently Hitler thought the same as Canaris was executed just days before the Nazi surrender.