CEO Steve Jobs showed his mercurial side yet again today as he attempted to fire someone who does not even work at Apple.
Bay-area programmer Paul Corretti was visiting a friend at Apple and ran afoul of Jobs during an elevator ride. Corretti entered the elevator on the ground level and Jobs entered behind him just before the doors closed, leaving the two alone inside.
Corretti said “At first I’m thinking, wow! This is so cool! I’m in an elevator with Steve Jobs!
“But as we’re going up, Steve starts giving me the evil eye and then says to me ‘So… what have you done for me lately?'”
Jobs is notorious for surprise “interviews” of Apple employees in which he attempts to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Unaware of this, Corretti was confused at first.
“I thought, ‘Is he comin’ on to me?’ But then I realized he thought I worked for him and wanted to know what I contributed to the company.”
Despite realizing there was a misunderstanding, Corretti said that Jobs’ demeanor was so commanding that he felt compelled to reply.
“I stammered something about having bought an iPod shuffle a couple of days ago. He looked at me like I had told him I nailed his sister.”
Corretti pointed out that he had actually nailed a friend’s sister once, so he was in a position to know what that look looks like.
Apparently unimpressed by the response, Jobs summarily announced that Corretti was fired and that he should pack up his desk and be out of the building by the end of the day.
“Then I told him ‘OK, but I don’t work here.’ And he said ‘You’re damn right you don’t work here because I just fired you.’ And I said ‘No, I mean I never worked here.’ And he said ‘Oh. Fine, then.’ And I said ‘Fine.’ And he said ‘OK.’ And I said ‘Great.’ And he said ‘Right.'”
The rest of the ride was marked by an uncomfortable silence before Corretti, for reasons he was not able to determine afterwards, felt compelled to say “Thanks!” as Jobs exited the elevator.
Corretti left the campus somewhat confused as to whether or not his visitation privileges had somehow been revoked.