For years now I’ve (28f) never really settled on one label or another. First I told myself I was bisexual (as someone brought up in the church and attending a christian university for a while, that was my “only” option) and then I gave in to the fact that I am just not attracted to men, and figured I must be gay. However, the idea of sex just doesn’t appeal to me very much. If I truly fall in love with someone, maybe I would, but for now all I ever really want is affection. The only thing that has remained the same is that I have no desire to date a man. Woman? Absolutely. Trans woman? Sure! Non-binary? Not a problem. Man? We can be buddies. submitted by
Anyone else like this? What are your thoughts?
This post draws on my personal experiences and challenges over the past term at school, which I entered with hardly any knowledge of DSA (data structures and algorithms) and problem-solving strategies. As a self-taught programmer, I was a lot more familiar and comfortable with general programming, such as object-oriented programming, than with the problem-solving skills required in DSA questions.
This post reflects my journey throughout the term and the resources I turned to in order to quickly improve for my coding interview.
Here're some common questions and answers What's the interview process like at a tech company?
Good question. It's actually pretty different from most other companies.
(What It's Like To Interview For A Coding Job
First time interviewing for a tech job? Not sure what to expect? This article is for you.
Here are the usual steps:
- First, you’ll do a non-technical phone screen.
- Then, you’ll do one or a few technical phone interviews.
- Finally, the last step is an onsite interview.
Some companies also throw in a take-home code test
—sometimes before the technical phone interviews, sometimes after.
Let’s walk through each of these steps.
The non-technical phone screen
This first step is a quick call with a recruiter—usually just 10–20 minutes. It's very casual.
Don’t expect technical questions. The recruiter probably won’t be a programmer.
The main goal is to gather info about your job search. Stuff like:
- Your timeline. Do you need to sign an offer in the next week? Or are you trying to start your new job in three months?
- What’s most important to you in your next job. Great team? Flexible hours? Interesting technical challenges? Room to grow into a more senior role?
- What stuff you’re most interested in working on. Front end? Back end? Machine learning?
Be honest about all this stuff—that’ll make it easier for the recruiter to get you what you want.
One exception to that rule: If the recruiter asks you about your salary expectations on this call, best not to answer.
Just say you’d rather talk about compensation after figuring out if you and the company are a good fit. This’ll put you in a better negotiating position later on.
The technical phone interview(s)
The next step is usually one or more hour-long technical phone interviews.
Your interviewer will call you on the phone or tell you to join them on Skype or Google Hangouts. Make sure you can take the interview in a quiet place with a great internet connection. Consider grabbing a set of headphones with a good microphone or a bluetooth earpiece.
Always test your hardware beforehand!
The interviewer will want to watch you code in real time. Usually that means using a web-based code editor like Coderpad
. Run some practice problems in these tools ahead of time, to get used to them. Some companies will just ask you to share your screen through Google Hangouts or Skype. Turn off notifications
on your computer before you get started—especially if you’re sharing your screen!
Technical phone interviews usually have three parts:
The beginning chitchat
- Beginning chitchat (5–10 minutes)
- Technical challenges (30–50 minutes)
- Your turn to ask questions (5–10 minutes)
is half just to help your relax, and half actually part of the interview. The interviewer might ask some open-ended questions like:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Tell me about something you’ve built that you’re particularly proud of.
- I see this project listed on your resume—tell me more about that.
You should be able to talk at length about the major projects listed on your resume. What went well? What didn’t? How would you do things differently now? Then come the technical challenges
—the real meet
of the interview. You’ll spend most
of the interview on this. You might get one long question, or several shorter ones.
What kind of questions can you expect? It depends.
Startups tend to ask questions aimed towards building or debugging code. (“Write a function that takes two rectangles and figures out if they overlap
.”). They’ll care more about progress than perfection.
Larger companies will want to test your general know-how of data structures and algorithms
(“Write a function that checks if a binary tree
is ‘balanced’ in O(n)O
) ↴ time.”). They’ll care more about how you solve and optimize a problem.
With these types of questions, the most important thing is to be communicating with your interviewer
throughout. You'll want to "think out loud" as you work through the problem. For more info, check out our more detailed step-by-step tips for coding interviews
If the role requires specific languages or frameworks, some companies will ask trivia-like questions (“In Python, what’s the ‘global interpreter lock’?”). After the technical questions, your interviewer will open the floor for you to ask them questions
. Take some time before the interview to comb through the company’s website. Think of a few specific questions about the company or the role. This can really make you stand out.
When you’re done, they should give you a timeframe on when you’ll hear about next steps. If all went well, you’ll either get asked to do another phone interview, or you’ll be invited to their offices for an onsite.
The onsite interview
An onsite interview happens in person, at the company’s office. If you’re not local, it’s common for companies to pay for a flight and hotel room for you.
The onsite usually consists of 2–6 individual, one-on-one technical interviews (usually in a small conference room). Each interview will be about an hour and have the same basic form as a phone screen—technical questions, bookended by some chitchat at the beginning and a chance for you to ask questions at the end.
The major difference between onsite technical interviews and phone interviews though: you’ll be coding on a whiteboard
This is awkward
at first. No autocomplete, no debugging tools, no delete button
…ugh. The good news is, after some practice you get used to it. Before your onsite, practice writing code on a whiteboard (in a pinch, a pencil and paper are fine). Some tips:
- Start in the top-most left corner of the whiteboard. This gives you the most room. You’ll need more space than you think.
- Leave a blank line between each line as you write your code. Makes it much easier to add things in later.
- Take an extra second to decide on your variable names. Don’t rush this part. It might seem like a waste of time, but using more descriptive variable names ultimately saves you time because it makes you less likely to get confused as you write the rest of your code.
If a technical phone interview is a sprint, an onsite is a marathon. The day can get really long. Best to keep it open—don’t make other plans for the afternoon or evening.
When things go well, you’ wrap-up by chatting with the CEO or some other director. This is half an interview, half the company trying to impress you. They may invite you to get drinks with the team after hours.
All told, a long day of onsite interviews could look something like this:
- 10am-12pm: two back-to-back technical interviews, each about an hour.
- 12pm-1pm: one or several engineers will take you to lunch, perhaps in the company’s fancy office cafeteria.
- 1pm-4pm: three back-to-back technical interviews, each about an hour.
- 4pm-5pm: interview with the CEO or some sort of director.
- 5pm-8pm: drinks and dinner with the company
If they let you go after just a couple interviews, it’s usually a sign that they’re going to pass on you. That’s okay—it happens!
There are are a lot of easy things you can do the day before and morning of your interview to put yourself in the best possible mindset. Check out our piece on what to do in the 24 hours before your onsite coding interview
The take-home code test
Code tests aren’t ubiquitous, but they seem to be gaining in popularity. They’re far more common at startups, or places where your ability to deliver right away is more important than your ability to grow.
You’ll receive a description of an app or service, a rough time constraint for writing your code, and a deadline for when to turn it in. The deadline is usually negotiable.
Here's an example problem: Write a basic “To-Do” app. Unit test the core functionality. As a bonus, add a “reminders” feature. Try to spend no more than 8 hours on it, and send in what you have by Friday with a small write-up.
Take a crack at the “bonus” features if they include any. At the very least, write up how you would implement it.
If they’re hiring for people with knowledge of a particular framework, they might tell you what tech to use. Otherwise, it’ll be up to you. Use what you’re most comfortable with. You want this code to show you at your best.
Some places will offer to pay you for your time. It's rare, but some places will even invite you to work with them in their office for a few days, as a "trial.") Do I need to know this "big O" stuff? Big O notation
is the language we use for talking about the efficiency of data structures and algorithms.
Will it come up in your interviews? Well, it depends. There are different types of interviews.
There’s the classic algorithmic coding interview, sometimes called the “Google-style whiteboard interview.” It’s focused on data structures and algorithms (queues
, binary search
That’s what our full course
prepares you for. It's how the big players interview. Google
For startups and smaller shops, it’s a mixed bag. Most will ask at least a few algorithmic questions. But they might also include some role-specific stuff, like Java questions
or SQL questions
for a backend web engineer. They’ll be especially interested in your ability to ship code without much direction. You might end up doing a code test or pair-programming exercise instead of a whiteboarding session.
To make sure you study for the right stuff, you should ask your recruiter what to expect. Send an email with a question like, “Is this interview going to cover data structures and algorithms? Or will it be more focused around coding in X language.” They’ll be happy to tell you.
If you've never learned about data structures and algorithms, or you're feeling a little rusty, check out our Intuitive Guide to Data Structures and Algorithms
. Which programming language should I use?
Companies usually let you choose, in which case you should use your most comfortable language. If you know a bunch of languages, prefer one that lets you express more with fewer characters and fewer lines of code, like Python or Ruby. It keeps your whiteboard cleaner.
Try to stick with the same language for the whole interview, but sometimes you might want to switch languages for a question. E.g., processing a file line by line will be far easier in Python than in C++.
Sometimes, though, your interviewer will do this thing where they have a pet question that’s, for example, C-specific. If you list C on your resume, they’ll ask it.
So keep that in mind! If you’re not confident with a language, make that clear on your resume. Put your less-strong languages under a header like ‘Working Knowledge.’ What should I wear?
A good rule of thumb is to dress a tiny step above what people normally wear to the office. For most west coast tech companies, the standard digs are just jeans and a t-shirt. Ask your recruiter what the office is like if you’re worried about being too casual. Should I send a thank-you note?
Thank-you notes are nice, but they aren’t really expected. Be casual if you send one. No need for a hand-calligraphed note on fancy stationery. Opt for a short email to your recruiter or the hiring manager. Thank them for helping you through the process, and ask them to relay your thanks to your interviewers. 1) Coding Interview Tips
How to get better at technical interviews without practicing Chitchat like a pro.
Before diving into code, most interviewers like to chitchat about your background. They're looking for:
- Metacognition about coding. Do you think about how to code well?
- Ownership/leadership. Do you see your work through to completion? Do you fix things that aren't quite right, even if you don't have to?
- Communication. Would chatting with you about a technical problem be useful or painful?
You should have at least one:
Nerd out about stuff
- example of an interesting technical problem you solved
- example of an interpersonal conflict you overcame
- example of leadership or ownership
- story about what you should have done differently in a past project
- piece of trivia about your favorite language, and something you do and don't like about said language
- question about the company's product/business
- question about the company's engineering strategy (testing, Scrum, etc)
. Show you're proud of what you've done, you're amped about what they're doing, and you have opinions about languages and workflows. Communicate.
Once you get into the coding questions, communication is key. A candidate who needed some help along the way but communicated clearly can be even better than a candidate who breezed through the question. Understand what kind of problem it is
. There are two types of problems:
- Coding. The interviewer wants to see you write clean, efficient code for a problem.
If you start writing code and the interviewer just wanted a quick chitchat answer before moving on to the "real" question, they'll get frustrated. Just ask, "Should we write code for this?" Make it feel like you're on a team
. The interviewer wants to know what it feels like to work through a problem with you, so make the interview feel collaborative. Use "we" instead of "I," as in, "If we did a breadth-first search we'd get an answer in O(n)O
) time." If you get to choose between coding on paper and coding on a whiteboard, always choose the whiteboard. That way you'll be situated next to the interviewer, facing the problem (rather than across from her at a table). Think out loud.
If you're touching on a fact
(e.g., language-specific trivia, a hairy bit of runtime analysis), don't try to appear to know something you don't. Instead, say "I'm not sure, but I'd guess $thing, because...
". The because
can involve ruling out other options by showing they have nonsensical implications, or pulling examples from other languages or other problems. Slow the eff down
. Don't confidently blurt out an answer right away. If it's right you'll still have to explain it, and if it's wrong you'll seem reckless. You don't win anything for speed and you're more likely to annoy your interviewer by cutting her off or appearing to jump to conclusions. Get unstuck.
Sometimes you'll get stuck. Relax. It doesn't mean you've failed. Keep in mind that the interviewer usually cares more about your ability to cleverly poke the problem from a few different angles than your ability to stumble into the correct answer. When hope seems lost, keep poking. Draw pictures.
Don't waste time trying to think in your head—think on the board. Draw a couple different test inputs. Draw how you would get the desired output by hand. Then think about translating your approach into code. Solve a simpler version of the problem.
Not sure how to find the 4th largest item in the set? Think about how to find the 1st largest item and see if you can adapt that approach. Write a naive, inefficient solution and optimize it later.
Use brute force. Do whatever it takes to get some kind
of answer. Think out loud more
. Say what you know. Say what you thought might work and why it won't work. You might realize it actually does work, or a modified version does. Or you might get a hint. Wait for a hint.
Don't stare at your interviewer expectantly, but do take a brief
second to "think"—your interviewer might have already decided to give you a hint and is just waiting to avoid interrupting. Think about the bounds on space and runtime.
If you're not sure if you can optimize your solution, think about it out loud. For example:
Get your thoughts down.
- "I have to at least look at all of the items, so I can't do better than O(n)O(n)."
- "The brute force approach is to test all possibilities, which is O(n^2)O(n2)."
- "The answer will contain n^2n2 items, so I must at least spend that amount of time."
It's easy to trip over yourself. Focus on getting your thoughts down first and worry about the details at the end. Call a helper function and keep moving.
If you can't immediately think of how to implement some part of your algorithm, big or small, just skip over it. Write a call to a reasonably-named helper function, say "this will do X" and keep going. If the helper function is trivial, you might even get away with never implementing it. Don't worry about syntax.
Just breeze through it. Revert to English if you have to. Just say you'll get back to it. Leave yourself plenty of room.
You may need to add code or notes in between lines later. Start at the top of the board and leave a blank line between each line. Save off-by-one checking for the end.
Don't worry about whether your for loop should have "<<" or "<=<=." Write a checkmark to remind yourself to check it at the end. Just get the general algorithm down. Use descriptive variable names.
This will take time, but it will prevent you from losing track of what your code is doing. Use names_to_phone_numbers instead of nums. Imply the type in the name. Functions returning booleans should start with "is_*". Vars that hold a list should end with "s." Choose standards that make sense to you and stick with them. Clean up when you're done. Walk through your solution by hand, out loud, with an example input.
Actually write down
what values the variables hold as the program is running—you don't win any brownie points for doing it in your head. This'll help you find bugs and clear up confusion your interviewer might have about what you're doing. Look for off-by-one errors.
Should your for loop use a "<=<=" instead of a "<<"? Test edge cases.
These might include empty sets, single-item sets, or negative numbers. Bonus: mention unit tests! Don't be boring.
Some interviewers won't care about these cleanup steps. If you're unsure, say something like, "Then I'd usually check the code against some edge cases—should we do that next?" Practice.
In the end, there's no substitute for running practice questions. Actually write code with pen and paper.
Be honest with yourself. It'll probably feel awkward at first. Good. You want to get over that awkwardness now so you're not fumbling when it's time for the real interview.
2) Tricks For Getting Unstuck During a Coding Interview
Getting stuck during a coding interview is rough.
If you weren’t in an interview, you might take a break or ask Google for help. But the clock is ticking, and you don’t have Google.
You just have an empty whiteboard, a smelly marker, and an interviewer who’s looking at you expectantly. And all you can think about is how stuck you are.
You need a lifeline for these moments—like a little box that says “In Case of Emergency, Break Glass.” Inside
that glass box? A list of tricks for getting unstuck. Here’s that list of tricks. When you’re stuck on getting started 1) Write a sample input on the whiteboard and turn it into the correct output "by hand."
Notice the process
you use. Look for patterns, and think about how to implement your process in code.
Trying to reverse a string? Write “hello” on the board. Reverse it “by hand”—draw arrows from each character’s current position to its desired position.
Notice the pattern: it looks like we’re swapping
pairs of characters, starting from the outside and moving in. Now we’re halfway to an algorithm. 2) Solve a simpler version of the problem.
Remove or simplify one of the requirements of the problem. Once you have a solution, see if you can adapt that approach for the original question.
Trying to find the k-largest element in a set? Walk through finding the largest
element, then the second largest
, then the third largest
. Generalizing from there to find the k-largest isn’t so bad. 3) Start with an inefficient solution.
Even if it feels stupidly inefficient
, it’s often helpful to start with something
that’ll return the right answer. From there, you just have to optimize
your solution. Explain to your interviewer that this is only your first idea, and that you suspect there are faster solutions.
Suppose you were given two lists of sorted numbers and asked to find the median of both lists combined. It’s messy, but you could simply:
- Concatenate the arrays together into a new array.
- Sort the new array.
- Return the value at the middle index.
Notice that you could’ve also
arrived at this algorithm by using trick (2): Solve a simpler version of the problem. “How would I find the median of one
sorted list of numbers? Just grab the item at the middle index. Now, can I adapt that approach for getting the median of two
sorted lists?” When you’re stuck on finding optimizations 1) Look for repeat work.
If your current solution goes through the same data multiple times, you’re doing unnecessary repeat work. See if you can save time by looking through the data just once.
Say that inside one of your loops, there’s a brute-force operation to find an element in an array. You’re repeatedly looking through items that you don’t have to. Instead, you could convert the array to a lookup table
to dramatically improve your runtime. 2) Look for hints in the specifics of the problem.
Is the input array sorted? Is the binary tree
balanced? Details like this can carry huge hints about the solution. If it didn’t matter, your interviewer wouldn’t have brought it up. It’s a strong sign that the best solution to the problem exploits it.
Suppose you’re asked to find the first occurrence of a number in a sorted array. The fact that the array is sorted
is a strong hint—take advantage of that fact by using a binary search
Sometimes interviewers leave the question deliberately vague because they want you to ask questions
to unearth these important tidbits of context. So ask some questions at the beginning of the problem. 3) Throw some data structures at the problem.
Can you save time by using the fast lookups of a hash table
? Can you express the relationships between data points as a graph
? Look at the requirements of the problem and ask yourself if there’s a data structure that has those properties. 4) Establish bounds on space and runtime.
Think out loud
about the parameters of the problem. Try to get a sense for how fast your algorithm could possibly
When All Else Fails 1) Make it clear where you are.
- “I have to at least look at all the items, so I can’t do better than O(n)O(n) ↴ time”.
- “The brute force approach is to test all possibilities, which is O(n^2)O(n2) time. So the question is whether or not I can beat that time.”
- “The answer will contain n^2n2 items, so I must at least spend that amount of time.”
State what you know, what you’re trying to do, and highlight the gap between the two. The clearer you are in expressing exactly
where you’re stuck, the easier it is for your interviewer to help you. 2) Pay attention to your interviewer.
If she asks a question about something you just said, there’s probably a hint buried in there. Don’t worry about losing your train of thought—drop what you’re doing and dig into her question. Relax. You’re supposed to get stuck.
Interviewers choose hard problems on purpose. They want to see how you poke at a problem you don’t immediately know how to solve.
Seriously. If you don’t
get stuck and just breeze through the problem, your interviewer’s evaluation might just say “Didn’t get a good read on candidate’s problem-solving process—maybe she’d already seen this interview question before?”
On the other hand, if you do
get stuck, use one of these tricks to get unstuck, and communicate clearly with your interviewer throughout...that’s
how you get an evaluation like, “Great problem-solving skills. Hire.”
Fixing Impostor Syndrome in Coding Interviews “It's a fluke that I got this job interview...” “I studied for weeks, but I’m still not prepared...” “I’m not actually good at this. They’re going to see right through me...”
If any of these thoughts resonate with you, you're not alone. They are so common they have a name: impostor syndrome.
It’s that feeling like you’re on the verge of being exposed for what you really are—an impostor. A fraud. Impostor syndrome is like kryptonite to coding interviews.
It makes you give up and go silent.
You might stop asking clarifying questions because you’re afraid they’ll sound too basic. Or you might neglect to think out loud at the whiteboard, fearing you’ll say something wrong and sound incompetent.
You know you should speak up, but the fear of looking like an impostor makes that really, really
hard. Here’s the good news: you’re not an impostor.
You just feel
like an impostor because of some common cognitive biases about learning and knowledge.
Once you understand these cognitive biases—where they come from and how they work—you can slowly fix them. You can quiet your worries about being an impostor and keep those negative thoughts from affecting your interviews.
Everything you could know
Here’s how impostor syndrome works.
Software engineering is a massive field. There’s a huge universe of things you could
In comparison to the vast world of things you could
know, the stuff you actually
know is just a tiny sliver:
That’s the first problem. It feels like you don’t really know that much, because you only know a tiny sliver of all the stuff there is to know.
The expanding universe
It gets worse: counterintuitively, as you learn more, your sliver of knowledge feels like it's shrinking
That's because you brush up against more and more things you don’t know yet. Whole disciplines
like machine learning, theory of computation, and embedded systems. Things you can't just pick up in an afternoon. Heavy bodies of knowledge that take months
So the universe of things you could
know seems to keep expanding faster and faster—much faster than your tiny sliver of knowledge is growing. It feels like you'll never be able to keep up.
What everyone else knows
Here's another common cognitive bias: we assume that because something is easy for us, it must be easy for everyone else. So when we look at our own skills, we assume they're not unique. But when we look at other
people's skills, we notice the skills they have that we don't have.
The result? We think everyone’s knowledge is a superset of our own:
This makes us feel like everyone else is ahead of us. Like we're always a step behind.
But the truth
is more like this:
There's a whole area of stuff you know
that neither Aysha nor Bruno knows. An area you're probably blind to, because you're so focused on the stuff you don't know.
We’ve all had flashes of realizing this. For me, it was seeing the back end code wizard on my team—the one that always made me feel like an impostor—spend an hour trying to center an image on a webpage.
It's a problem of focus
Focusing on what you don't know causes you to underestimate what you do
know. And that's what causes impostor syndrome.
By looking at the vast (and expanding
) universe of things you could
know, you feel like you hardly know anything.
And by looking at what Aysha and Bruno know that you don't know, you feel like you're a step behind.
And interviews make you really
focus on what you don't know. You focus on what could go wrong. The knowledge gaps your interviewers might find. The questions you might not know how to answer.
Just because Aysha and Bruno know some things you don't know, doesn't mean you don't also know things Aysha and Bruno don't know.
And more importantly, everyone's
body of knowledge is just a teeny-tiny sliver of everything they could learn. We all
have gaps in our knowledge. We all
have interview questions we won't be able to answer.
You're not a step behind. You just have a lot of stuff you don't know yet. Just like everyone else.
The 24 Hours Before Your Interview
Feeling anxious? That’s normal. Your body is telling you you’re about to do something that matters. The twenty-four hours before your onsite are about finding ways to maximize your performance.
Ideally, you wanna be having one of those days
, where elegant code flows effortlessly from your fingertips, and bugs dare not speak your name for fear you'll squash them. You need to get your mind and body in The Zone™
before you interview, and we've got some simple suggestions to help. 5)
Why You're Hitting Dead Ends In Whiteboard Interviews
The coding interview is like a maze
Listening vs. holding your train of thought
Finally! After a while of shooting in the dark and frantically fiddling with sample inputs on the whiteboard, you've came up with an algorithm for solving the coding question your interviewer gave you.
Whew. Such a relief to have a clear path forward. To not be flailing anymore.
Now you're cruising, getting ready to code up your solution.
When suddenly, your interviewer throws you a curve ball.
"What if we thought of the problem this way?"
You feel a tension we've all felt during the coding interview: "Try to listen to what they're saying...but don't lose your train of thought...ugh, I can't do both!"
This is a make-or-break moment in the coding interview. And so many people get it wrong.
Most candidates end up only half understanding what their interviewer is saying. Because they're only half listening. Because they're desperately clinging to their train of thought.
And it's easy to see why. For many of us, completely losing track of what we're doing is one of our biggest
coding interview fears. So we devote half of our mental energy to clinging to our train of thought.
To understand why that's so wrong, we need to understand the difference between what we
see during the coding interview and what our interviewer
The programming interview maze
Working on a coding interview question is like walking through a giant maze.
You don't know anything about the shape of the maze until you start wandering around it. You might know vaguely where the solution is, but you don't know how to get there.
As you wander through the maze, you might find a promising path (an approach, a way to break down the problem). You might follow that path for a bit.
Suddenly, your interviewer suggests a different path:
But from what you can see so far of the maze, your approach has already gotten you halfway there! Losing your place on your current path would mean a huge step backwards. Or so it seems. That's
why people hold onto their train of thought instead of listening to their interviewer. Because from what they can see, it looks like they're getting somewhere!
But here's the thing: your interviewer knows the whole maze
. They've asked this question 100 times.
I'm not exaggerating: if you interview candidates for a year, you can easily end up asking the same question over 100 times.
So if your interviewer is suggesting a certain path, you can bet it leads to an answer.
And your seemingly great path? There's probably a dead end just ahead that you haven't seen yet:
Or it could just be a much longer route to a solution than you think it is. That actually happens pretty often—there's an answer there, but it's more complicated than you think.
Hitting a dead end is okay. Failing to listen is not.
Your interviewer probably won't fault
you for going down the wrong path at first. They've seen really smart engineers do the same thing. They understand it's because you only have a partial view of the maze.
They might have let you go down the wrong path for a bit to see if you could keep your thinking organized without help. But now they want to rush you through the part where you discover the dead end and double back. Not because they don't believe you can manage it yourself. But because they want to make sure you have enough time to finish the question.
But here's something they will
fault you for: failing to listen to them. Nobody wants to work with an engineer who doesn't listen.
So when you find yourself in that crucial coding interview moment, when you're torn between holding your train of thought and considering the idea your interviewer is suggesting...remember this: Listening to your interviewer is the most important thing.
Take what they're saying and run with it. Think of the next steps that follow from what they're saying.
Even if it means completely leaving behind the path you were on. Trust the route your interviewer is pointing you down.
Because they can see the whole maze. 6) How To Get The Most Out Of Your Coding Interview Practice Sessions
When you start practicing for coding interviews, there’s a lot to cover. You’ll naturally wanna brush up on technical questions. But how
you practice those questions will make a big difference in how well you’re prepared.
Here’re a few tips to make sure you get the most out of your practice sessions. Track your weak spots
One of the hardest parts of practicing is knowing what
to practice. Tracking what you struggle with helps answer that question.
So grab a fresh notebook. After each question, look back and ask yourself, “What did I get wrong about this problem at first?” Take the time to write down one or two things you got stuck on, and what helped you figure them out. Compare these notes to our tips for getting unstuck
After each full practice session, read through your entire
running list. Read it at the beginning of each practice session too. This’ll add a nice layer of rigor to your practice, so you’re really internalizing the lessons you’re learning. Use an actual whiteboard
Coding on a whiteboard is awkward at first. You have to write out every single character, and you can’t easily insert or delete blocks of code.
Use your practice sessions to iron out that awkwardness. Run a few problems on a piece of paper or, if you can, a real whiteboard. A few helpful tips for handwriting code:
Set a timer
- Start in the top-left corner. You want all the room you can get.
- Leave blank space between each line of code. This makes it much easier to add things later.
- Slow down. Take an extra second to think of descriptive variable names. You might be tempted to move faster by using short variable names, but that actually ends up costing more time. It’ll make your code harder to debug!
Get a feel for the time pressure of an actual interview. You should be able to finish a problem in 30–45 minutes, including debugging your code at the end.
If you’re just starting out and the timer adds too much stress, put this technique on the shelf. Add it in later as you start to get more comfortable with solving problems. Think out loud
Like writing code on a whiteboard, this is an acquired skill. It feels awkward at first. But your interviewer will expect you to think out loud during the interview, so you gotta power through that awkwardness.
A good trick to get used to talking out loud: Grab a buddy.
Another engineer would be great, but you can also do this with a non-technical friend.
Have your buddy sit in while you talk through a problem. Better yet—try loading up one of our questions on an iPad and giving that to your buddy to use as a script! Set aside a specific time of day to practice.
Give yourself an hour each day to practice. Commit to practicing around the same time, like after you eat dinner. This helps you form a stickier habit of practicing.
Prefer small, daily doses of practice to doing big cram sessions every once in a while. Distributing your practice sessions helps you learn more with less time and effort in the long run
part -2 will be upcoming in another post !
debug.cpp TesterHook.cpp entityidxarray.cpp graph.cpp graphnode.cpp modAI_Memory.cpp aAI_CommsInstructions.cpp aAI_EntityInterface.cpp cAI_Action.cpp cAI_AdminManager.cpp cAI_Agent.cpp cAI_CommsModule.cpp cAI_CommsPrefix.cpp cAI_CommsPrep.cpp cAI_EntityGame.cpp cAI_EntityPlayer.cpp cAI_TransitionData.cpp cAI_Variables.cpp modAI_Audio.cpp modAI_Communication.cpp modAI_Identifier.cpp modAI_Interaction.cpp modAI_Interface.cpp modAI_Senses.cpp modAI_Synchronisation.cpp aAI_PerformTask.cpp cAI_ActionManager.cpp cAI_AnimInterface.cpp cAI_LowLevelInterface.cpp cAI_PerformanceManager.cpp cAI_PerformancePhase.cpp cAI_PerformTaskAction.cpp cAI_PerformTaskAnim.cpp cAI_PerformTaskAudio.cpp cAI_SpeechInterface.cpp aAI_Controller.cpp aAI_ControllerCombat.cpp aAI_Coordinator.cpp aAI_EntityIDArray.cpp aAI_Objective.cpp cAI_ControllerBoundary.cpp cAI_ControllerCamp.cpp cAI_ControllerCombatBlind.cpp cAI_ControllerCombatCover.cpp cAI_ControllerCombatMelee.cpp cAI_ControllerCoverSeek.cpp cAI_ControllerFollow.cpp cAI_ControllerFollowThrough.cpp cAI_ControllerGoto.cpp cAI_ControllerGotoGunfire.cpp cAI_ControllerGuard.cpp cAI_ControllerHide.cpp cAI_ControllerIdle.cpp cAI_ControllerOrbit.cpp cAI_ControllerSearch.cpp cAI_ControllerStop.cpp cAI_CoordinateBoundary.cpp cAI_CoordinateGenericAction.cpp cAI_CoordinateGenericCombat.cpp cAI_CoordinateGuard.cpp cAI_CoordinateIdle.cpp cAI_CoordinateInvestigate.cpp cAI_CoordinateKillEnemy.cpp cAI_CoordinateSearch.cpp cAI_Goal.cpp cAI_GoalDefinition.cpp cAI_IdleActions.cpp cAI_ObjectiveBeBuddy.cpp cAI_ObjectiveHuntEnemy.cpp cAI_ObjectiveIdle.cpp cAI_ObjectiveScriptedAction.cpp cAI_Pack.cpp cAI_Subpack.cpp cAI_HearingSense.cpp cAI_SensesData.cpp cAI_SensingPhase.cpp cAI_VisionSense.cpp meleeTraits.cpp traits.cpp acts.cpp atomicActs.cpp combatUtil.cpp coverActs.cpp gunActBase.cpp meleeActs.cpp pedBodyAnimFSM.cpp pedTorsoAnimFSM.cpp compDriver.cpp weaponController.cpp formation.cpp motion.cpp navigation.cpp navPoint.cpp navTactics.cpp pointTracker.cpp squad.cpp pedSpace.cpp gunPerception.cpp itemPerception.cpp meleeCombatPerception.cpp pedRelationshipPerception.cpp selfPerception.cpp Senses.cpp Vision.cpp AnimBlendAssociation.cpp AnimBlendClumpData.cpp AnimBlendHierarchy.cpp AnimBlendNode.cpp AnimBlendSequence.cpp AnimHierarchy.cpp AnimManager.cpp Compressed.cpp EntityAnim.cpp App.cpp GameTime.cpp AmbientTransitionManager.cpp AudioAnim.cpp audiobloodfx.cpp AudioCollision.cpp audiolog.cpp audioman.cpp AudioMisc.cpp AudioScripted.cpp AudioTextMap.cpp CriAdxStream.cpp CriAixStream.cpp CriInterface.cpp dmaudio.cpp music.cpp SampleManagerChannelFunctions.cpp sampman.cpp ScriptedStream.cpp SpeechManager.cpp VolumeFader.cpp AgeSupport.cpp manager.cpp sfx.cpp system_wii.cpp BufferedSoundWii.cpp CRC.cpp SectorReadables.cpp ColAABox.cpp ColArch.cpp ColData.cpp ColFrustum.cpp ColLine.cpp Collision.cpp ColModelLine.cpp ColModelPoint.cpp ColModelSphere.cpp ColModelTri.cpp ColPrim.cpp ColSphere.cpp ColTri.cpp ContactInfo.cpp ColCylinder.cpp ColModelCylinder.cpp console.cpp skel.cpp wiiplatform.cpp CollectableEffect.cpp CreationManager.cpp Entity.cpp EntityManager.cpp OddEntity.cpp TypeData.cpp Character.cpp ped.cpp pedstates.cpp attackdirectiondata.cpp attackdirectionlookup.cpp pedcombatlookups.cpp pedspinecontrol.cpp pushporter.cpp Climb.cpp Crawl.cpp Crouch.cpp Detector.cpp Dive.cpp Jump.cpp JumpPredictor.cpp autoped.cpp Hunter.cpp Leader.cpp PedHead.cpp delayedHunterSpawn.cpp RsvGoreEffectForExecutions.cpp CameraData.cpp collectable.cpp conveyor.cpp door.cpp EntityLight.cpp Lift.cpp mover.cpp ShotEntity.cpp slidedoor.cpp switch.cpp Trigger.cpp Useable.cpp EntitySound.cpp EnvironmentalExecution.cpp Helicopter.cpp ShadowPlane.cpp FileHandler.cpp FileNames.cpp LoadSave.cpp eyelayerinset.cpp Frontend.cpp FrontendMenu.cpp GameInfo.cpp GameInventory.cpp GameMap.cpp randomuvanimator.cpp tvlayerinset.cpp confirmnewgamepage.cpp inventorystatussettings.cpp layeredbackground.cpp layeredpage.cpp pageeffects.cpp randomoverlay.cpp screenanim.cpp screeneffectsmanager.cpp startpage.cpp texanimator.cpp weaponslotcolours.cpp weaponswapper.cpp weaponswappersettings.cpp backgroundPicAnim.cpp bar.cpp confirmingameQuitPage.cpp ContextButtonDisplay.cpp controllerPage.cpp defaultSettingsPage.cpp ExecutionBox.cpp ExecutionFrame.cpp FlexText.cpp GoalFlexText.cpp hud.cpp hudItem.cpp ingameMainPage.cpp InventorySelector.cpp inventoryStatus.cpp item.cpp LevelNameFlexText.cpp LoadProgressScreen.cpp menu.cpp newGameBrightnessPage.cpp page.cpp radar.cpp saveGamesPage.cpp sceneselectionPage.cpp screen.cpp startLanguageSelectionPage.cpp textures.cpp cGEN_String.cpp cGEN_Timer.cpp gGEN_Globals.cpp gGEN_StandardFunctions.cpp modGEN_Housekeeping.cpp modGEN_Memory.cpp stats.cpp aGEN_Array.cpp cGEN_CharArray.cpp cDBG_DebugFile.cpp modDBG_LowLevelDebug.cpp aGEN_Memory.cpp modGEN_MemoryReporting.cpp rwcore.cpp TextUtils.cpp UniCodeUtils.cpp MhGlobalData.cpp MhLoadSave_Wii.cpp MhPeripherals_Wii.cpp Pad_Wii.cpp WiiLoadSave.cpp CheatHandler.cpp InputManager.cpp WiiAccelerometer.cpp WiiGesture.cpp ActionMapping.cpp KeyCode.cpp Inventory.cpp fx.cpp fxEmitter.cpp fxInfo.cpp fxInterp.cpp fxKeyGen.cpp fxList.cpp fxManager.cpp fxPrim.cpp fxSystem.cpp fxUtils.cpp MHtoFXinterface.cpp Maths.cpp Matrix.cpp Quaternion.cpp Vector.cpp MemManager.cpp PoolAllocationManager.cpp PoolAllocator.cpp CutsceneCamera.cpp EntityFadeController.cpp SimpleLinearAllocator.cpp Cylinder.cpp FrisbeeArm.cpp CriAfsPartition.cpp CriDataStream.cpp DataStreamManager.cpp Portal.cpp StreamedLevelSector.cpp StreamedLevelSectorCore.cpp StreamedLevelSectorManager.cpp StreamedAnimation.cpp StreamedAnimationManager.cpp TexturePool.cpp TexturePoolGroup.cpp TexturePoolManager.cpp AiHelpers.cpp EntityAttrReader.cpp EntityAttrWriter.cpp EntityTextureRenderer.cpp EnvironmentID.cpp PathSearch.cpp RsvDebuggingInfoForUseables.cpp RsvTvpChecker.cpp StringHashing.cpp OverlayMgr.cpp RwRGBA_Globals.cpp ScreenStringsOverlay.cpp TextOverlay.cpp Physics.cpp collisionFrame.cpp camglobals.cpp Crosshair.cpp ExecutionTutorial.cpp handicam.cpp ImpactDamageMap.cpp player.cpp playercam.cpp PLayerLimits.cpp playerstates.cpp WiiExecutionMap.cpp WiiQuickTimeMoment.cpp grenade.cpp responder.cpp Atomic.cpp Camera.cpp CharacterDamageManager.cpp CharacterDamageMap.cpp Clump.cpp ClumpDict.cpp clumplist.cpp collisionmaterial.cpp EntityShadow.cpp EntityShadowManager.cpp Frame.cpp Geometry.cpp Light.cpp lights.cpp material.cpp materiallist.cpp scene.cpp sceneData.cpp skin.cpp spline.cpp texdictionary.cpp texture.cpp tvp.cpp utils.cpp uvanimator.cpp World.cpp WorldSector.cpp CutScene.cpp CutScenePlayed.cpp EntityShadowFader.cpp MaterialMapper.cpp lit_environmentmap.cpp lit_singletexture.cpp lit_singletexture_uvanim.cpp lit_texreconfig.cpp unlit_32indtexture.cpp unlit_notexture.cpp unlit_singletexture.cpp entityData.cpp LoadedScript.cpp ScriptCaseFloat.cpp ScriptCaseGame.cpp ScriptCaseGame2.cpp ScriptCaseGame3.cpp ScriptCaseGameRsv.cpp ScriptCaseInternals.cpp ScriptCaseStandard.cpp ScriptCaseStrings.cpp ScriptLoader.cpp ScriptManager.cpp ScriptVM.cpp BreakingGlass.cpp clouds.cpp Decal.cpp dualtexture.cpp fogpatch.cpp FXMode.cpp LightFX.cpp ParticleEffect.cpp ParticleModel.cpp rats.cpp Renderbuffer.cpp rubbish.cpp SFXManager.cpp StreakEffect.cpp TrailEffect.cpp Weather.cpp jitter.cpp lipsync.cpp spotlight.cpp spotlightcone.cpp throwgraphic.cpp OverbrightEffect.cpp VideoScreenEffect.cpp Str.cpp Timer.cpp Shot.cpp Weapon.cpp WeaponManager.cpp colramp.cpp Gu.cpp GuProfiler.cpp main.cpp renderer.cpp rslengine.cpp shadermgr.cpp vectorASM.cpp volatilemem.cpp WiiGeometry.cpp WiiShader.cpp WorldCollision.cpp actor.c control.c displayObject.c dmabuffer.cpp fileCache.c geoPalette.c GQRSetup.c List.c normalTable.c SKNControl.c SKNMath.c string.c texPalette.c Tree.c HomeButtonMenu.cpp display.cpp binkfunctions.cpp binkplayer.cpp wiitextures.c adler32.c infblock.c infcodes.c inffast.c inflate.c inftrees.c infutil.c zutil.c binkwii.c binkread.c wiiax.c wiifile.c binkacd.c radcb.c expand.c popmal.c radmem.c fft.c dct.c bitplane.c ai.c arc.c AX.c AXAlloc.c AXAux.c AXCL.c AXOut.c AXSPB.c AXVPB.c AXProf.c AXComp.c DSPCode.c AXFXReverbHi.c AXFXReverbHiDpl2.c AXFXReverbHiExp.c AXFXReverbHiExpDpl2.c AXFXReverbStd.c AXFXReverbStdExp.c AXFXHooks.c PPCArch.c gki_buffer.c gki_time.c gki_ppc.c hcisu_h2.c uusb_ppc.c bta_dm_cfg.c bta_hh_cfg.c bta_sys_cfg.c bte_hcisu.c bte_init.c bte_logmsg.c bte_main.c btu_task1.c bd.c bta_sys_conn.c bta_sys_main.c ptim.c utl.c bta_dm_act.c bta_dm_api.c bta_dm_main.c bta_dm_pm.c bta_hh_act.c bta_hh_api.c bta_hh_main.c bta_hh_utils.c btm_acl.c btm_dev.c btm_devctl.c btm_discovery.c btm_inq.c btm_main.c btm_pm.c btm_sco.c btm_sec.c btu_hcif.c btu_init.c wbt_ext.c gap_api.c gap_conn.c gap_utils.c hcicmds.c hidd_api.c hidd_conn.c hidd_mgmt.c hidd_pm.c hidh_api.c hidh_conn.c l2c_api.c l2c_csm.c l2c_link.c l2c_main.c l2c_utils.c port_api.c port_rfc.c port_utils.c rfc_l2cap_if.c rfc_mx_fsm.c rfc_port_fsm.c rfc_port_if.c rfc_ts_frames.c rfc_utils.c sdp_api.c sdp_db.c sdp_discovery.c sdp_main.c sdp_server.c sdp_utils.c db.c dsp.c dsp_debug.c dsp_task.c dvdfs.c dvd.c dvdqueue.c dvderror.c dvdidutils.c dvdFatal.c dvd_broadway.c euart.c EXIBios.c EXIUart.c EXICommon.c fs.c GXInit.c GXFifo.c GXAttr.c GXMisc.c GXGeometry.c GXFrameBuf.c GXLight.c GXTexture.c GXBump.c GXTev.c GXPixel.c GXDisplayList.c GXTransform.c GXPerf.c HBMBase.cpp HBMAnmController.cpp HBMFrameController.cpp HBMGUIManager.cpp HBMController.cpp HBMRemoteSpk.cpp db_assert.cpp db_console.cpp db_DbgPrintBase.cpp db_directPrint.cpp db_mapFile.cpp lyt_animation.cpp lyt_arcResourceAccessor.cpp lyt_bounding.cpp lyt_common.cpp lyt_drawInfo.cpp lyt_group.cpp lyt_layout.cpp lyt_material.cpp lyt_pane.cpp lyt_picture.cpp lyt_resourceAccessor.cpp lyt_textBox.cpp lyt_window.cpp math_triangular.cpp snd_AnimSound.cpp snd_AxManager.cpp snd_AxVoice.cpp snd_Bank.cpp snd_BankFile.cpp snd_BasicSound.cpp snd_Channel.cpp snd_DisposeCallbackManager.cpp snd_DvdSoundArchive.cpp snd_EnvGenerator.cpp snd_ExternalSoundPlayer.cpp snd_FrameHeap.cpp snd_InstancePool.cpp snd_Lfo.cpp snd_MemorySoundArchive.cpp snd_MidiSeqPlayer.cpp snd_MidiSeqTrack.cpp snd_MmlParser.cpp snd_MmlSeqTrack.cpp snd_MmlSeqTrackAllocator.cpp snd_NandSoundArchive.cpp snd_PlayerHeap.cpp snd_RemoteSpeaker.cpp snd_RemoteSpeakerManager.cpp snd_SeqFile.cpp snd_SeqPlayer.cpp snd_SeqSound.cpp snd_SeqSoundHandle.cpp snd_SeqTrack.cpp snd_SoundArchive.cpp snd_SoundArchiveFile.cpp snd_SoundArchiveLoader.cpp snd_SoundArchivePlayer.cpp snd_SoundHandle.cpp snd_SoundHeap.cpp snd_SoundPlayer.cpp snd_SoundStartable.cpp snd_SoundSystem.cpp snd_SoundThread.cpp snd_StrmChannel.cpp snd_StrmFile.cpp snd_StrmPlayer.cpp snd_StrmSound.cpp snd_StrmSoundHandle.cpp snd_TaskManager.cpp snd_TaskThread.cpp snd_Util.cpp snd_WaveFile.cpp snd_WavePlayer.cpp snd_WaveSound.cpp snd_WaveSoundHandle.cpp snd_WsdFile.cpp snd_WsdPlayer.cpp snd_WsdTrack.cpp ut_binaryFileFormat.cpp ut_CharStrmReader.cpp ut_CharWriter.cpp ut_DvdFileStream.cpp ut_DvdLockedFileStream.cpp ut_FileStream.cpp ut_Font.cpp ut_IOStream.cpp ut_LinkList.cpp ut_list.cpp ut_ResFont.cpp ut_ResFontBase.cpp ut_TagProcessorBase.cpp ut_TextWriterBase.cpp ipcMain.c ipcclt.c memory.c ipcProfile.c KPAD.c mem_heapCommon.c mem_expHeap.c mem_frameHeap.c mem_unitHeap.c mem_allocator.c mem_list.c mix.c remote.c mtx.c mtxvec.c mtx44.c vec.c psmtx.c nand.c NANDOpenClose.c NANDCore.c NANDCheck.c OS.c OSAlarm.c OSAlloc.c OSArena.c OSAudioSystem.c OSCache.c OSContext.c OSError.c OSExec.c OSFatal.c OSFont.c OSInterrupt.c OSLink.c OSMessage.c OSMemory.c OSMutex.c OSReboot.c OSReset.c OSRtc.c OSSemaphore.c OSSync.c OSThread.c OSTime.c OSUtf.c OSIpc.c OSStateTM.c __start.c OSPlayRecord.c OSStateFlags.c OSNet.c OSNandbootInfo.c __ppc_eabi_init.cpp Pad.c scsystem.c scapi.c scapi_prdinfo.c seq.c SIBios.c SISamplingRate.c syn.c TPL.c usb.c vi.c i2c.c vi3in1.c wenc.c WPAD.c WPADHIDParser.c WPADEncrypt.c WPADMem.c debug_msg.c WUD.c WUDHidHost.c debug_msg.c DebuggerDriver.c exi2.c float.cpp alloc.c ansi_files.c ansi_fp.c arith.c buffer_io.c ctype.c direct_io.c errno.c file_io.c FILE_POS.C locale.c mbstring.c mem.c mem_funcs.c math_api.c misc_io.c printf.c qsort.c rand.c scanf.c signal.c string.c strtold.c strtoul.c wctype.c wstring.c wchar_io.c uart_console_io_gcn.c abort_exit_ppc_eabi.c math_sun.c extras.c e_atan2.c e_exp.c e_fmod.c e_log.c e_log10.c e_pow.c e_rem_pio2.c k_cos.c k_rem_pio2.c k_sin.c k_tan.c s_atan.c s_ceil.c s_copysign.c s_cos.c s_floor.c s_frexp.c s_ldexp.c s_sin.c s_tan.c w_atan2.c w_exp.c w_fmod.c w_log.c w_log10.c w_pow.c e_sqrt.c math_ppc.c w_sqrt.c __mem.c __va_arg.c global_destructor_chain.c NMWException.cp ptmf.c runtime.c __init_cpp_exceptions.cpp Gecko_ExceptionPPC.cp GCN_mem_alloc.c mainloop.c nubevent.c nubinit.c msg.c msgbuf.c serpoll.c usr_put.c dispatch.c msghndlr.c support.c mutex_TRK.c notify.c flush_cache.c mem_TRK.c string_TRK.c __exception.s targimpl.c targsupp.s mpc_7xx_603e.c mslsupp.c dolphin_trk.c main_TRK.c dolphin_trk_glue.c targcont.c target_options.c UDP_Stubs.c main.c CircleBuffer.c MWCriticalSection_gc.cpp HashKeyFunctions.cpp MemMan.cpp Random.cpp RelocatableChunk.cpp fmod_eventi.cpp fmod_eventsystemi.cpp fmod_sounddef.cpp fmod_eventcategoryi.cpp fmod_eventparameteri.cpp fmod_eventprojecti.cpp fmod_eventgroupi.cpp fmod_reverbdef.cpp fmod_channel_revolution.cpp fmod_os_misc.cpp fmod_os_output.cpp fmod_output_revolution.cpp fmod_sample_revolution.cpp fmod_dsp.cpp fmod_dspi.cpp fmod_codec_aiff.cpp fmod_codec_dsp.cpp fmod_codec_fsb.cpp fmod_codec_user.cpp fmod.cpp fmod_async.cpp fmod_channel.cpp fmod_channel_emulated.cpp fmod_channel_real.cpp fmod_channel_realmanual3d.cpp fmod_channel_stream.cpp fmod_channeli.cpp fmod_channelpool.cpp fmod_channelgroup.cpp fmod_channelgroupi.cpp fmod_codec.cpp fmod_debug.cpp fmod_file.cpp fmod_file_disk.cpp fmod_file_memory.cpp fmod_file_null.cpp fmod_file_user.cpp fmod_listener.cpp fmod_memory.cpp fmod_metadata.cpp fmod_output.cpp fmod_output_emulated.cpp fmod_output_polled.cpp fmod_plugin.cpp fmod_pluginfactory.cpp fmod_sound.cpp fmod_sound_sample.cpp fmod_sound_stream.cpp fmod_soundi.cpp fmod_string.cpp fmod_stringw.cpp fmod_system.cpp fmod_systemi.cpp fmod_thread.cpp fmod_time.cpp fmod_globals.cpp fmod_output_nosound.cpp fmod_output_nosound_nrt.cpp fmod_reverbi.cpp fmod_speakerlevels_pool.cpp submitted by
Do something for me, will ya? I want you to think back to when you were a kid, think back to those innocent days when the world was your oyster and you could be anything you wanted. Tell me what was that anything? What was your dream job as a child? Most people will say a football player, an actor, a world-famous musician, maybe even an astronaut. Well, not me. I wanted to be a cab driver. I was obsessed with being a taxi driver, I had toy taxis and a taxi costume including a cabbie hat, I even had a bed that was shaped like a taxi instead of a racecar! I drove my parents crazy with my obsession but I was a kid from Brooklyn growing up in the big city surrounded by yellow cabs, I’m not sure why I loved them so much but ever since my Pops brought my brother Vince and me in a cab to a Net’s game when we were younger I knew what I wanted to do with my life.
“Taxies are disgusting, Freddie why the hell do you like them? They smell like liquor and look like Grandma’s wrinkly butt” Vince would say to me, he had a way with words but whatever way that was it wasn’t the right one. Nobody could understand my love of taxis but that was okay they didn’t need to, I loved the thought of driving through the city and meeting new people every single day, sure many taxis were filthy but mine wouldn’t be...or so I thought when I was 8. Vince, however, had much more ambitious goals.
“Me? I’m going to play for the Jets.
I’ll be the best Tight End the NFL will ever see”
Vince was pretty great at football, he even went on to play some college ball but he always reached for the stars with his dreams and that could make failure hurt so much more. I was more realistic in my goals from a young age, I couldn’t kick snow off a rope and I could barely throw a ball from one side of the road to the other, being a taxi driver was a dream but unlike most of all of your dreams when you were all kids, mine was doable.
I received my yellow cab certification when I turned 21 making me a lot younger than my co-workers who were usually in their 40s. I worked for over 8 years as a taxi driver and I never once regretted it bar two robberies at gunpoint and a handful of casually racist remarks from tourists or some freshmen on Wall Street
who wanted to know if they can say the n-word since their friend in college said he was cool with it. Eventually, though my time as a cab driver came to end...well my driving of the living came to an end anyway. Now I drive souls to the afterlife for the Styx Taxis
cab company. Every day I bring multiple souls to the Great Divide
where judgement is made against them to decide if they go to Paradise
. I hear many stories on the clock, people begging to be given another chance or sobbing for forgiveness but I’m just the driver, the car makes the judgement and the car is never wrong.
My day starts like anybody else’s, my alarm goes off at around 6.30 am, I shower, brush my teeth, get my clothes on - usually a pair of black skinny jeans, a loose tee, some Air Force Ones and my Grampa’s brown suede jacket he gave to me in his will - and I will usually grab something to eat from a drive-thru Starbucks once I’m out on the road. My alarm didn’t go off today but thankfully my body jolted me awake before 7, this meant no breakfast and I was behind on at least one passenger though on a good day I could get through three before 8.30, this would hurt my place on the standings but if I worked effectively I could make up the lost points.
My first passenger was a Charles Monroe, a 45-year-old stockbroker who died from a coke overdose after partying too much during a promotion party. At least he was a Jets fan. It took me around fifteen minutes to reach him, he was sitting on a bench in his clothes from the night before, if the coke didn’t kill him that hangover would have. I pulled up and the backdoor opened for him. The crossing over process had begun.
“Charles Monroe?” I asked knowing damn well I had the right guy.
“Yeah...who’s asking. What the hell is going on, why am I stuck here?” he replied while slurring some words.
“You’re dead buddy, bit too fond of the charlie there...Charlie. I’m here to pick you up and bring you to your eternal resting place. Get in” I said. The emotions of people when they are told they have died can range from anger to sadness to in some cases jubilation though that is usually due to a sense of smugness that they were right about an afterlife existing.
“Fuck off” he shouted at me while spitting at my car, his dirty grey phlegm landing on my passenger side window cleaning some dust off of it, it was safe to say Charlie’s fell into the former category, he was pretty angry.
“I’m not fucking dead, I’m fucking invincible”
You often got these types of people, usually rich white guys. They genuinely buy the bullshit they were sold about dying peacefully in their bed surrounded by loved ones even though they knew full well that no one loved them.
“Nah bro, you are absolutely dead, here look I’ll show you.” As I replied I began to pull some pictures up on my iPad and cast them to the screen attached to my passenger side mirror, as I scrolled through the array of pictures the reality of the situation began to dawn on Mr.Monroe.
“See there’s you face down in a pool of your own vomit, there’s you being zipped up in a bodybag, there is your mother Margaret identifying your body at the morgue...ignore that last picture that’s my Greyhound ‘Rufus’ not sure how that got in there”
The tough bravado wasted away as Charles fell to the floor and burst into tears, he continued to do that for another few minutes - taking more time off my schedule - before I decided it was time to get a move on.
“Look, dude, I know this is a shock for you and all but there is no changing it. It’s science, what's dead is dead. Your energy is being used for something else now so hop in and we will bring you to wherever you are meant to spend eternity. Paradise or Damnation.”
He lifted his head to look me in the eyes, his tears caused his deep blue eyes to shine immensely bright in the blistering sunlight. He wiped his tears from his face and took four deep breaths to compose himself.
“I’m not going with you, not a chance. I will fight this, I have gotten out of worse situations” he said, his air of invincibility only momentarily shattered.
“I can promise you that you haven’t. You better come with me because the second that door shuts it’s over you don’t get second chances.” I responded mostly hoping for him to get in so I could add some points to my tally but also because I knew the punishment of disobedience.
“LISTEN BUDDY CLEAN YOUR FUCKING EARS OUT, I’M NOT GOING. END OF STORY,” he screamed back at me.
“Close your damn door, see if I care” were the famous last words of the jackass.
“Okay, suit yourself” I replied while exhaling loudly, I pressed the large red x button beside the radio and the door slammed shut, once that happened his fate was sealed a lightning bolt shot down from the sky and he slowly dissipated right in front of my eyes, he screamed and begged for help and even tried to bargain with me to get the door open but the door can’t open once it has been closed. There are no second chances.
Charles Monroe paid the price of disobedience, his soul was zapped and sent to NULL, a plane of existence outside of all other realms, NULL is an empty grey room with no directions. No up, down, left or right. To meet another soul in NULL is about as unlikely as anything, odds don’t go that high. This is where Mr.Monroe would spend the rest of his eternal life. NULL was quite literally a fate worse than hell.
They say all things are binary, they are either a 0 or a 1. They are or they aren’t. NULL was -1.
That little escapade took even more precious time away from me, when a new passenger request popped up on my screen I accepted in an instant and sped to the pickup point. My second passenger of the day was a Ms.Melina Cortez, a 28-year-old mother of one who had died in a drink-driving incident, the child’s father was not involved if you wanted some good news. When I arrived Melina was sitting on a bench, her knees pointing in and her arms wrapped tightly around herself, she looked scared but also like she knew what had happened to her.
“Hey there, Melina. How are you doing? I’m Freddie, I'm your driver today, I’ll be bringing you to the afterlife” I calmly said to her as the backside door opened once more. She did not respond to me, no questions about who I was or what was happening. Nothing, she just stood up with her head down and took her seat in the back of my cab. I decided to take my foot slightly off the pedal for a few moments to slow our trip and allow her time to cope but she wouldn’t have much, she would need to speak or the judgement would be made for her. After five minutes of cruising, I broke the silence.
“You know I’ve driven some celebs, I’m legally not allowed say who but fun fact those people who post memes about them all in Paradise are going to be sorely disappointed when they die”
She lifted her head and smirked, the best I could ask for given the situation and I had an opening so I continued on.
“Listen, Melina, I know it is tough for you but you need to tell your story, your life, your successes and your failures and any transgressions you may have cause it’s your best chance of getting into Paradise”
“I know it’s tough but you have t-” “I’m not getting into Paradise,” she said matter of factly cutting me off in the process.
“I’ve done horrible things, any God with even a little sense of respect would know not to let me in”
“What have you done, Melina?” I asked bewildered by the emotionless tone in her statements.
“Oh you know, you got your little screen there with my name on it. I can see it from back here. Just look through my file.” she said while placing her head onto the window and staring out into the abyss.
“Actually I don’t know. This file is filled with the bare minimum I need to convince someone I’m not some fraudster. It has your name, the names of family and loved ones, how you died, some miscellaneous pictures and a list of hobbies, sometimes I don’t get anything bar a location. I know how you died but I know little of the circumstances bar the fact it was a drink-driving accident with one car involved so I would guess you were driving, that is bad Melina but no one else was hurt, I’ve seen people survive Damnation for doing a lot worse.” I responded to her factually, another rule of the job. I couldn’t lie to the passengers.
“I wasn’t even drunk” she responded before a whistle went off, this whistle was the car notifying me and our passenger that they were telling a lie. The whistle was a sort of smug ‘hih hoo’ sound similar to a phone notification, the smugness of the sound often got under the skin of passengers causing them to blurt out truths or half-truths.
“The car says you are lying, Melina. This car has been imbued with the power of an Old One it can tell what is true and what is false.” I ensured her, hoping it would stop any further lying but knowing from past experiences it would not.
“Okay, I had a bottle of wine but I’ve driven drunk before it wasn’t the drink that caused the crash. It was the percs...and my rage. I just couldn’t think straight then I saw the tree and knew what had to be done” she replied, this time to no whistle. She killed herself, why?
“I’m sure the cops have already rang the bastard and told him about everything that happened, my only regret is not getting to see his face when they tell him. The son of a bitch”
“Who are you talking about, Melina? What did you do?” I responded
“Jorge, my boyfriend, Marlon’s father. That son of a bitch, he caused it all, when he eventually eats lead from one of those girls’ fathers he for sure as hell won’t be going to Paradise, no need to even question him” she responded.
“What did you do to Jorge, Melina? Is he hurt, did you hurt him?” I replied, each response from the woman further bewildering me.
“Oh he’s hurting that’s for sure,” she responded before bursting into tears.
“The bastard was fucking underage girls!”
“I found texts and pictures, oh God so many sick fucking pictures, the stuff he would say to these...these kids, these 14 and 15-year-old girls it would make you sick, they did make me sick. I was sent into a haze, I didn’t know how to react so I just drank and drank glasses of white wine, washing down the percocets with it.” she had stopped crying and was now on her knees leaning forward and pushing her face and hands up on the partition window separating us.
“I knew what I had to do, I had to protect myself but most of all I had to protect my son, I couldn’t let that fucking pervert go anywhere near him ever again so I did what needed doing”
I had now taken my eyes off the road and turned to look Melina in the eye, her crazed stare transfixed on me, my heart was in my throat as I struggled to ask her the question I felt I already had the answer to.
“What needed doing, Melina?”
She smiled at me with a wide grin from ear to ear, her blue lips stuck together not allowing her teeth to bare themselves to me.
“I took a pillow to my son in his sleep. It didn’t take long and he didn’t fight, he knew deep down that this was for his own good.”
I gripped the steering wheel tightly in both hands attempting to hide my anger, signs of emotion behind the wheel of a Styx Cab could see me terminated. I waited for the whistle of the car, I prayed the whistle would come...but it didn’t. I didn’t respond, I couldn’t respond, I needed to relax before I could, her next statement didn’t help.
“I protected my son as any mother would”, this time the whistle did sound, a statement too late sadly.
“The car disagrees and so do I. You killed your son, you murdered him in his sleep then you drove your car into a tree to save yourself the jail time. You could have turned Jorge in but you didn’t” I responded to her, the words barely dragging themselves out of my mouth through gritted teeth.
“Turn him in? You must be joking, he’d get 12 years at best. He’s a 30-year-old man he’d be back on the streets in his early 40s, plenty of time to get back to his sick work...plenty of time to abuse my beautiful boy” she responded, the words she spoke had such conviction, she truly believed she was right no matter what me, the car or anyone else said.
“So you murdered your son to protect him from abuse? That makes no sense” I replied my foot pressing down on the gas pedal at full force.
“I saved him,” she replied instantaneously before the car let out another loud whistle.
“I wouldn’t expect you or this piece of junk to understand that”
That was the last we spoke before reaching the gates of the Great Divide, I tipped my hat to Reginald the Gatekeeper and he lifted the barrier to let me through. We drove towards the fork in the road, two large stone doors blocking both paths, the doors had large runic patterns chiselled into them, they both looped and swirled around the stone faces, one pattern gold the other onyx. The door flung open on the car and Melina stepped out, we did not exchange goodbyes. As she walked to the doors the golden runes lit up and the door slowly opened, a warm beam of orange light beamed out from the road and she stepped into it, the door flung shut and her fate was sealed. She was sent to Damnation.
The rest of my day was mostly uneventful, many old people going up or down, mostly down. I did have one interesting passenger named Laney Richards, she had caused her brother to fall from a tree at a young age confining him to a wheelchair for life, she had also gotten involved in the wrong crowd as a teenager and done some pretty minor shit like vandalism and breaking and entering. She bawled her eyes out when we arrived at the doors fully sure her fate was Damnation, them tears stopped unnaturally fast once I took a detour left through the Mariana Forest and out the other side to the tram to Nocturland
, a type of purgatory where people can work to gain entry to Paradise. She had made some mistakes but she had mostly learned from them and her brother’s accident was exactly that, an accident. I’m not a betting man but I would be positive she would end up in Paradise sooner rather than later.
After a hard day's work, I drove to a McDonald’s to pick up a quick bite to eat and then drove to The Depot
so I could clock in my points for the day and update my table standing, I also needed to pick up my paycheck. Once everything was sorted I threw my bag into my locker and grabbed my hat I had left there yesterday, I went to head back out to the car and finish for the day, however, the manager of The Depot, Mr.Anyew stopped me on the way out.
“Freddie, just the man I was looking for. We got another lost soul that needs transporting and I know you were complaining about missing out on some points the past while so I thought I’d give it to you especially since it’s on your way...of course, I can just give it to Grigor he’s in the rec room at the moment.”
Mentioning Grigor was a low blow, we were both at the top of the rankings and Mr.Anyew knew I wouldn’t say no if Grigor was the second option.
“Nah, it’s okay I can do it boss” I responded before putting my hat on and turning to leave. “Great, I just sent the details to your vehicle, enjoy!” I heard the large Eygptian bellow towards me as I walked out the front door.
I got to my car and checked the iPad for the details, only a location and a cause of death was given, this was pretty uncommon but it had happened a few times before, sometimes details got lost in the mix but thankfully you only needed a location, so I set off towards the pickup point to collect Mr Died From Gunshot Wounds.
The best thing about working for Styx was also the worst, you really never know who you might have to pick up on any given day, they could be interesting or horrible. They could truly be anyone, it is a real double-edged sword and when I arrived at the pickup point I was cut by the sword. “Vince?”
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