Chapter 4

Chenle & Mark: Not a Love Story

“Congratulations graduates of batch 2042!” Graduation caps were thrown in the air. Happy and excited screams from the fresh graduates filled KAIST’s auditorium.


“Mark! Mark! We finally graduated. This is like the best day of my life.” Mark was looking at Jeno so fondly. The excited look on his cousin is priceless. To say happy is an understatement for what Mark really feels inside. He can’t explain it. All he knows is that the practice is over and that he’s off to the real race. Race to the top. It’s time to fulfill his mother’s dream – to build China’s future #1 technology company.


“Jeno, from this day forth, I’m going to live my life like I never lived before. Jeno, let’s say hello to the future.” The two boys joined in the cheering of their batch mates. Congratulations poured here and there from fellow graduates and their parents.


“Mom. It’s time for me to make your dreams come true.” Mark thought.



NCT has been busy hiring new people for their upcoming big project. Chenle volunteered to be part of the interview process as he wants to personally pick the future employees he will be working with directly for the project.


Dream Project, as they called it, is Chenle’s brainchild. The concept came directly from him and it will also be handled directly by him. Everyone who will work for Dream Project will directly report to NCT’s CEO, Chenle Zhong.


“How many more applicants do we have, Jisung?”


“There are about 15 more. Do you think you can still handle this for today? We can reschedule them if ever.”


“No. Let’s finish this today. Let’s call in the next one.” The staff manning the door opened it to reveal the next applicant.


The applicant entered and exuded confidence that most of the previous ones barely carried. He stood in front of the chair in the middle of the room and introduced himself.


“Good afternoon Mr. Chenle Zhong and Mr. Jisung Park. My name is Mark Lee.”


“Good afternoon Mr. Lee. Please take your seat and we’ll start with the interview.”


The first set of questions asked by Jisung is mostly about the applicant’s personal information and interests. This is to make the applicant feel relaxed as they are talking about facts about themselves something like....


“Interests? Well, I like basketball. I like playing it. I like watching games.”


“Interesting. Our CEO Mr. Zhong is also very fond of basketball. The two of you may want to play it should you be hired here in the future.”


Mark nodded to the two men while smiling.


“Anything other interests you would like to share with us?” Jisung asked.


“Yes there is. I am very much interested in working for NCT.” Chenle’s lips formed a smirk.


“I am glad you mentioned that Mr. Lee. Why else would you be having this interview if you weren’t interested to work for us in the first place, right?” Chenle commented. “That’s right, Sir.”


The second set of questions asked by Chenle is more focused on how the applicant feels towards working with the company in the future.


“Mr. Lee, I am not sure how many interviews you have been to before but if I may warn you, I don’t give cliché interview questions.”


“This is my first interview, Sir.”


“Well, if that is so. You’re in luck, I guess.” Chenle and Jisung looked at each other and smiled mischievously before the former gave Mark his first question. 


“Just answer the questions. No need to explain further. Would you rather work with information or with people?”


“Work with information”


“Would you rather have way more work than you could ever accomplish in a day and be stressed or have hardly any work at all and be bored?”


“Work more and be stressed”


“Would you rather have a terrible boss but a great job or a great boss but a terrible job?”


“Terrible boss but a great job”


“Would you rather work on a big team or just with one other person?”


“Just with one other person”


“Would you rather be the CEO of a company or another executive?”


“CEO of a company”


“That’s all the questions Mr. Lee. You will get a call from us within the week if we decided to hire you. Otherwise, you won’t hear from us again. Thank you for your time.” Chenle points Mark to the door.


“Thank you for your time Mr. Zhong and Mr. Park.” Mark nodded before exiting the room.


The day continued with Chenle and Jisung finishing the interview of the remaining applicants.


“Man, today was exhausting. I hope we get something, or rather someone, out of this. Got any picks, Chenle?”


“Yeah I do. Let’s discuss them over dinner. I’m famished.” The two best friends finally headed out of the room they have been in throughout the day.



Mark returned to Jeno’s place after the interview. After their graduation from the university, Jeno volunteered to 'adopt' Mark for a while at his own place.


“Jeno, I think I’ll never get a job.” Mark heavily dropped his body on the sofa sulking. Jeno approached his cousin, “that was just your first interview Mark. I am sure there other ~”


Jeno was cut off by Mark.


“I don’t want other companies Jeno. It’s NCT or nothing.”

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