The Next Chapter

Simon Choa-Johnston on being laughed out of a job interview

The author of The House of Wives tried to get a job at a steel foundry when he was in university.

The author of The House of Wives tried to get a job at a steel foundry when he was in university.

The author of The House of Wives talks about trying to get a job at a steel foundry when he was in university.

Simon Choa-Johnston is now a successful playwright, director and author. But it wasn't always that way. When he came to Canada from Hong Kong to go to university, he needed to make money. So he did what many students at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario did: he applied for a job at the steel foundry. 

Every summer, the best jobs to have, because they paid the best, were at Stelco, the steel foundry. I wanted a job there because I didn't have much money and I wanted to make the big bucks. I filled in the application and went in for the interview. Stelco, of course, is a huge foundry, it was very hot. They had us line up, take off our shoes and socks and then they weighed us. You had to be at least 145 pounds, because if you work in the foundry, you sweat so much. They didn't want anybody fainting. So I approached and they weighed me. I was 128 pounds and they laughed and sent me on my way.

Simon Choa-Johnston's comments have been edited and condensed.

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