Did Steve Jobs work nights, weekends, holidays? Or was he more balanced in work and life? Did this change over time?
Kenneth Ho31 Mar, 2017
This article was an anonymous response to a question asked on Quora.
I have had the pleasure of working for Apple since 2003 and the distinct pleasure of working at Apple during that very special time and in particular working on various things with Steve.
And, I am fairly confident Steve considered me a friend as opposed to just someone whom he worked with or just along well with as a college.
I was very lucky (looking back) to have been specifically referred to, then recruited by Apple.
I flew to Cupertino for an interview, at the time I was had just completed my Phd at MIT; was very different (not in the best of ways I should say) and actually went because people told me I would be crazy not to at least go. I fully intended on declining an offer.
After a tour of the beautiful buildings, which made me further convinced that I would decline any offer as it was so corporate to me & somehow felt very Fake. I was lead to my interview with a VP it was typically general interview questions then literally in the middle of a question I heard a door open and close & then after a beat a voice behind me said:
“Do we really still ask such stupid “f-*ing questions during interviews… what possible answer could be offered that would tell us whether or not they are completely stupid or utterly brilliant?”
I didn't bother turning around. I knew it was Steve.
He proceeded to move around the desk and dismissed the senior VP I was interviewing with from his own office. Then he sat & looked at what I gathered was a sheet of questions for the interview the other man had prepared to ask me. He never looked at me or spoke to me.
He read on and occasionally laughed at something he read, shook his head or called whatever he read useless.
After what seemed like forever, he threw the packet of questions across the room where they actually hit a piece of framed art which loudly fell to the floor and he he never bothered to glance at what we probably badly damaged. He just stared at me for what felt like forever. (Definitely a very awkward full minute, which is actually forever in such a situation.)
Then he said, “who are you?” I told him my resume was on the desk - he said “I didn't ask you that.” (Meanwhile he had never so much as glanced away from his piercing stare, mind you.)
I told him my name; he then quickly replied “If I wanted to know your name I would have asked what your name was… I asked who you were” … “You're not very good at this, are you?”
I said I was someone who came all the way there for an interview for a job I was very likely not going to take, but being asked over and over why I wouldn't go for the interview was such a pain that I figured I would go, turn it down, go home & move on to other things. Problem solved. Then I told him my only concern was that it might be awkward turning down a job if they offered me one. Then I thanked him for making that part really easy for me because he was a total arrogant jerk.
He looked quite puzzled at me for a few seconds then asked bewildered “You know who I am, right? I said yeah. He said “you know I'm Steve, Steve Jobs” I nodded - he sat back in the chair (still confused) then he smiled and told me “this office sucks <name omitted> has no taste. “
I actually agreed it did suck.
He said “well I go for a walk everyday around now, you seem smart enough to not sit through an interview for a job your not going to take & its really an amazingly great day” (yes he dropped that cliche line of his lol)
Want to join me. And I don't know what it was he was every bad or mean cliche Steve thing you would have heard about him to me. He was a complete jerk. But I actually did want to go; and I sincerely don't understand why. But I did.
We were walking and it was funny to me absolutely nobody who worked there said hello or acknowledged him - and most people honestly seemed to take awkward turns likely to avoid him.
Somehow though he probably never would have noticed because even as we made small talk he was the kind of person who somehow in crowded hallways him actually being a big deal could make you feel totally and utterly as though his only concern in the world was you gave you his absolute total attention.
It was very unique and he just as easily could often make you seem as though you weren't even actually there in physical space. And that was perhaps even more unique and utterly rude.
Once we were in open space outside Steve changed - He basically was so confused about why I didn't want to work there? He started going through almost childlike logic - he asked me “hypothetically if I hadn’t been rude and totally crashed your interview you still were going to say no? Like the fact I was really obnoxious has nothing to do with it? Right?” I said “you actually are aware that you're that rude?” He said “yeah of course I know I was rude” -”I'm Steve I'm usually rude” (like what a weird question I asked)
Then he started pitching me on Apple - he told me all the things they had done but I didn't know all this other “great stuff” (yes he used that one too) they had told me all this stuff wild stuff (btw he actually still never asked me my name)
But g-d he was like the most excited kid in the world about Apple and their “cool stuff” and it was all so genuine (meanwhile I was like a kid i hadn’t even had a job before and I was a TOTAL idiot not taking a job there. It was insane.
I kept thinking isn't this guy missing meetings or surely he had to be somewhere. Then he wanted to show me “stuff” and meet Jonny.
And we went into Jonny’s little world and be was so polite and gave a knowing glance at hyper excited Steve (and Jonny whispered he really likes you - I whisper he doesn't even know my name seriously Jonny said then he really likes you and he went back to work.
Finally somebody found Steve he had someone super important waiting in his office for a solid 90 minutes and his looked changed again and he said “I really have to go” not before telling whomever found them to “let them wait”
Then he told me “look I promise this will be great … I can show you all this stuff but it won't make sense… he said “give me one month here at Apple and walk away if I'm wrong… I'll pay you 3x a normal really good monthly salary we have an apartment and a car here for you I’ll pay to have everything or anything you want moved here and moved back if I'm wrong”
I said “you don't even know my name yet Steve” - He then said my full name he knew all kinds of stuff about me where and when I went to school my birthday - where I grew up.
Now I was confused. Very.
I asked why he made everything so awkward then or didn't tell me any of this before. He said “wasn't this so much more interesting?”
I had to agree. It was.
Steve then said “you're interesting” I asked why he told me to “just be interesting… things… people are what they are” & “you're interesting”
Then he said so “yes or no”
I was so totally confused lol I said “fine a month”
He said “walking away I’ll see you tomorrow” (it was Friday) I reminded him and he said “I know”.
The door closed Steve was gone.
I had no idea what to do because honestly I didn’t even know where I was in the building - Steve I guess hired me but where did I go - who did I talk to? How did I explain the outrageous offer he gave me?
I went back to the office where my interview started and the VP who was booted. The whole time trying to figure out what I was going to say and then I realized I didn't even know what he hired me to be.
It took maybe 10 mins to get the office of that VP (I knew Steve was lost in what was surely a serious meeting)
But by the time I got to that office - it may have only been 7–9 mins. Somehow, every crazy part of Steve's offer down to the last detail somehow as if by magic had been communicated in full to that VP.
And about 3 people in that office were making everything he offered happen - someone was calling about the car my Driver's License was being copied I heard somebody else on the phone regarding having the apartment stocked for me - They asked if I could arrange someone to open my apartment for the movers (I told them was ok i was fine for now… that girl looked at me and said “look Steve said he wants all your stuff here while your here… it'll be a thing if exactly what he wanted wasn't done” (she almost was both explaining Steve in a weird way and was worried she'd be in trouble that it wasn’t done)
I sat down to fill out a NDA - and other paper work - I finally asked what exactly my job or title was? I was told I was a “Steve hire” (essentially he and I would find a fit place or title or one would be made for me).
Everything immediately promised- the apartment, car, etc was done in 30 mins, I being handed keys - I was handed a map to the apartment and a reverse map to get back to Infinite loop. Told DON’T BE LATE Steve freaks out.
I didn't ever go back to my apartment again.
and it was 2 years maybe closer to 3 before I even went back east.
Steve got me.
I'm sorry this is so long - and doesn't really answer your question. But well, I'm probably the only person left now that he's gone that remembers this.
My obvious bias aside; what a great story.
I am smiling widely with tears streaming down my cheeks as I write this now for the first time.
I'm still with Apple - I now have a senior role. This is really the only job I have ever had. And I love it so much.
Only occasionally do I look back at what Apple and Steve and to a small degree I have been a part of. And it's so wild.
One of the things Steve put in my hand was a working iPad, way back then. Imagine seeing them everyday, everywhere you go and knowing you played some part in it.
Did Steve work hard? Harder then anyone. Was it always Steve who put everything, every risk and every potential failure on himself? Yep.
Did he somehow make a device like iPad - something nobody even knew existed and turn it into something everybody had to have? Yes.
Was it always his vision of an operating system most of which at the core is as old as the oldest OS X. Yes.
Did thousands of people myself among them help create that vision and make it useful? Yes.
Did Steve change the world. Yes.
Did Steve make good on every thing he said was going to happen that strange day he hired me? Absolutely.
Was he often so incredibly and unbelievably hard, mean, harsh, abrasive, difficult, extreme,sometimes cruel. Yes.
Did he push everyone at Apple to be better, smarter and work to an almost impossible standard to meet deadlines and innovate beyond the craziest of of our bery wild imaginations? Yes.
Was he able to somehow know with everything that he had going on in all the above things that you were having a really difficult time in life personally and stop everything he was doing and ask you to go for a walk and make you feel that nothing else was important but you and your problem - and do absolutely everything to make it better and almost always did? Yes.
When he couldn't immediately find a solution or help did he ever stop trying? Never.
Did he ever ask more of us then he gave? Never.
Did he work harder with so much more to lose? Always
Did he come into Apple so incredibly weak and thin from cancer be could barely stand let alome walk to work as much as we did? Yes
Was he ever bitter about that - Did he ever fail notice your issues and concerns despite his much more pressing ones? No.
Did I ever really know or come close to understanding Steve? No way.
Did anybody? No. (Maybe Laurene and his beautiful children)
Do I miss him so very, very much? You have no idea.
Will anyone ever replace him or will there ever be anyone close to him? Absolutely not.
I hope the few people here take away at the least a really “interesting” Steve story. And maybe they'll see another small glimpse at what he was like through my experience with him. I hope so.
He changed so many things. But most importantly he changed me. I'm such a better person for knowing him. He gave me such a wonderful life.
Thanks Steve - I love you and still miss you.
Your friend always.
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