In the viral video, Heather asks David how he accidentally started working for NASA. David replies, "I got an interview for a job working on airplanes, then got a call back saying, 'Hey, there's a different job that we think you might like and it's for the Manipulator, Analysis Graphics, and Interactive Kinematics (MAGIK) team.' I was like, 'I don't know what that is' but I said, 'Sounds interesting. Since you're calling me back, I'm assuming I can get an in-person interview. I'd like to hear about both jobs when I do that."
A few weeks later, David got a call that he was offered the job. "I assumed I got hired for the first job, but it was actually the second one — one that I never even had an interview for. And it was for something that I totally didn't understand. So I moved to Texas and started doing that job," he explained in the TikTok.
And it wasn't until his first day of work when he was completing orientation paperwork that David realized he was doing an entirely different job than he thought he had moved for. HE WAS WORKING FOR NASA.
David told us that this happened about six months after he graduated from Washington University. He originally applied for a job working on the wire harness for Boeing 787s. As he said in the TikTok, he had only had a phone interview for that job — and never even interviewed for the NASA position. So, that is why when he accepted the job, he assumed it was for the wire harness position.
Basically, David moved to Texas not realizing he was about to work for NASA! He said the job was a pretty standard entry-level position for a mechanical engineer. "I just didn’t know the details because they hired me without interviewing me for that role specifically. I actually worked on some space stuff in college, like a student-designed satellite, and I’d done a zero gravity/microgravity test in the Weightless Wonder — AKA 'the vomit comet,'" he said.
"I don’t think the hiring process was meant to be intentionally confusing or secretive, I think it’s just that Boeing is a huge contractor for NASA — and they really needed people for the MAGIK team. Actually, I had a coworker (Karl) who got hired a week before me, and it happened in essentially the same way for him. So, I’m pretty sure they just needed to get the team staffed quickly, so they made it happen from the pool of applicants that were already in their system," explained David.
Even though David isn't employed by NASA anymore, he said working there for the eight years that he did was very cool! "I got to work on things that went into space and physically touch them and make a difference. I was also in Mission Control when things were happening in space, like spacewalks and dockings."
So, there you have it. If you interview for one job, but get a call asking if you're interested in working on the MAGIK team, just say yes — you never know what could happen!!! And if you're curious about what David does now, well, he owns an experiential photography company called LA Photo Party — check it out on YouTube!