In Spring 2003, I was looking around for what would be my first professional job after getting my degree. One interview stands out not only because it’s where I ended up but also because I gave what might be the most terrible answer of my career.

Most of my coursework was in C++, so most of the technical questions were on syntax and defining terms like polymorphism. Somewhere along the way, one of the interviewers asked me what ++ does. I looked at him, thought for a moment, and said something to the effect of, “I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before!”

I’ve come up with all kinds of explanations for this. I had been up late the previous night watching news of the Iraq invasion. I had gotten up early because the office was an hour from campus. Previous questions might have put my mind on some strange track where an increment operator wouldn’t apply. Maybe it was all just an extremely vivid nightmare that I’ve mistaken for reality!

I’ve certainly had other moments where I’ve looked back and realized that I could have done better, but it’ll be hard for anything to knock this one off the top spot.

What’s your most treasured goof?


About David Ruttka

I've been "making computers do things" since I first saw King's Quest on a 286 PC in the mid-80's, but I turned it into a career just over a decade ago. While the majority of my experience has been on the Microsoft stack (C#, .NET, ASP.NET), I've recently been diving deeper into JavaScript and exploring the Ruby universe. Occasionally, I'll do a public speaking gig or write a blog post. When I'm not coding, I enjoy spending time with my family, watching hockey, and playing the occasional video game. You can also find me on Stack Overflow, Google Plus, and Twitter. Microsoft Certified Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3 Specialist; MCPD Windows Developer 3.5
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