Sunday, 23 April 2017

Interview Day IV: Mitosis

Time for what has been a considerably delayed update regarding Operation: Swordfish, and my quest for more fulfilling employment. Saying considerably when my interview was only a few days ago may seem grossly over dramatic, but believe me when I tell you it has been a grueling few days; which I am still recovering from as I sit and type.

I did consider that I might write up the exploits of the day in some considerable detail, but as I'd not even reached the point of arriving at my interview, and the post was already the size of a small essay I decided to can that notion there and then; instead opting for a more Cliff Notes run down of events. It's still one hell of a long post, but it could have easily been ten times the size for all that happened on Thursday alone!


Thursday got off to a bad start, as I woke up vomiting, aching and, with a fever. I managed to pull it together though, and get my ass to the bus stop on time.. Which was more than the bus did. The first one didn't turn up, and the second one was late; none of which helped with the general feeling of unease that was washing over me by this point.

The journey to the event was also pretty eventful. Not only did we manage to hit nearly every set of lights when they were red, but for some reason traffic was horrendous. Something that would remain true for much of the day. We also had a passenger who felt that they didn't need to pay the full fare holding up proceedings. It was not a good journey, which is the last thing you need when you're on your way to something important, and you already feel rotten.

One positive highlight of the journey however, was a phone all that I received from an agency that I had been in talks with about another job. They called me with the news that the client wanted to see me for interview, which was great. What wasn't so good however was that they wanted to see me on Friday. I'd already explained to them during a previous call that I simply wouldn't be able to do Friday, but it seems as if that fell on deaf ears.

So I was a little frustrated, but I ran over why I wouldn't be able to do Friday again, and asked if the client could meet me today. I also offered before or after work (as I had been led to believe that they weren't based too far off the route I take for my daily commute to work). At this point they agreed to try and arrange something with the client, and they told me they'd give me a call back.

Which they did! Very quickly at that. Only five minutes could have passed between that call ending, and them calling back to advise me that the client was willing to meet with me today. Brilliant I thought! That's the first thing that has gone my way today. Now all we had to do was reschedule my registration with the agency, as if we'd have kept to our previous appointment for that afternoon (2PM), making the interview on time (3PM) just wouldn't be possible.

Again I was in luck, as it transpired that the calendar of the person I needed to see was completely free other than our previous appointment, for the whole day. So I advised them that I would do what I needed to do this morning, shoot back home to retrieve the paperwork I needed as proof of identity (part of the registration process), and then go straight to them; estimating that I would be there somewhere between one and half one. They were quite happy to accommodate this, and the deal was struck.

I now had two interviews that day, for very similar roles. Mitosis in action baby!

Back to my more immediate concerns, the rest of the journey whilst not best was uneventful; and whilst behind schedule, I did make it to my first interview ahead of time. As chance would have it however, my interviewers where running behind, so I ended up sitting in the nice cool lobby for a while, which didn't go unappreciated given my sky-high temperature.

It wasn't too long before I was collected and escorted to a meeting room however, and a few minutes after that the interviewing began. 30 minutes with the head of international operations, and 30 minutes with the vice president.

Despite my fever, I kept my cool and it all went pretty well; although after the first interview I could feel my voice beginning to go (no doubt another symptom of whatever bug had set up a home in me). Me being me however I pushed on regardless, and despite my significant discomfort I kept it together.

Happy with what I had achieved, but a little worse for wear I headed home for my paperwork, and whilst I was there a top up to the medication I had taken in the morning. This time, a spray to numb my throat completely; figuring I'd soldier on through and being ill could be tomorrow's problem.

Next up was the agency, and I made it there bang on one. A few forms where filled in, and I was given a brief of what the client did, an address and, sent on my merry way with just over an hour to get there. Easy enough I thought. The agency had given me directions during the registration, and the address looked very familiar. I couldn't quite place it, but I was sure that when I got boots on the ground it would all make sense.

So I jumped on the bus and followed the directions, which led me to an industrial estate behind the local council house. After 15 minutes of searching the area however, the client was nowhere to be found. Luckily I had the address though, which means I had the postcode. So I popped that into the GPS on my phone figuring it could show me where I'd gone wrong. Instead however it told me I was miles away!

Something was very wrong here. I'd gone where I was told to go, but apparently I was nowhere near where I needed to be. Either my GPS was wrong, or the address was wrong. Neither seemed likely, so I did the only sensible thing and phoned my contact at the agency and explained the situation; and to see if we could get to the bottom of the situation. I also asked if they could phone the client and let them know that I was running behind.

So whilst one person went off to contact the client, I worked through my predicament with my personal contact at the agency; where it quickly transpired that the initial directions I had been given by them where way off. The GPS was right, and I was miles away. Bugger!

That same person then tried to give me directions to the client with just as much success as their initial attempt, causing me to double back on myself after a rather long stretch of road. By this point I was hot, bothered, sweaty, and frustrated. I was also only minutes off being late, and I hate being late.

Getting nowhere fast I went through a couple of different people in the office before it was decided that the best course of action was to meet up somewhere close to my immediate vicinity, where they would come and collect me. Which in this instance was a petrol station only a couple of minutes walk from where I was standing.

So I got there, and I waited.. And I waited.. And I waited. A good 20 minutes passed before I received a call from mobile phone not in my contacts list. This has to be the agency I figured, and sure enough it was. It was my contact, who had given me the bum directions twice, asking me where I was.

I told them I was by the petrol station as instructed, to which they replied that they had just been there but couldn't see me; but they'd be back in a couple of minutes. They couldn't see me!? I was standing out in the open. Not mention that we had met earlier in the day, so they didn't just know what I looked like, they knew what I was wearing!

Growing more frustrated by the second, I was close to giving up. Very close, and I'm not the quitting type. I feel about quitting the way I feel about being late; and whilst I had lost control over whether I was late or not, I still had both hands on the reigns of whether I threw in the towel or not. So I dug deep, and persevered. I chose not to quit.

A couple of minutes later my lift turned up, and whisked me off to my interview. They apologised, and explained that they didn't really know the area. Can you imagine that!? You're in bad shape, and have just been forced to walk miles by someone who then goes on to tell you that they were basically just guessing when they gave you that first set of directions. How do you react?

Me. I thanked them. That's not a typo, or an edit gone wrong; I genuinely thanked them. You may think that was the fever, but consider this. They may have cocked up royally when it comes to execution, but their intentions were good.

They made the interview possible by bringing it a day forward. They kept their calendar open for me even when I couldn't commit to a solid time. They gave me a brief on the company because I couldn't access the e-mail they'd sent me via my phone. When I was lost they came and picked me up.

That's not a person that you lose your rag with. That's a good person. A person who's in your corner.

I digress however, I made it to my interview some 25 minutes late; and as we pulled up it became immediately apparent just why the address was so familiar to me. I had walked past it on my way to my previous job for 2 years! 2 YEARS!! Words cannot describe the scope of just how embarrassed and stupid I felt at that point.

Still, I was hear, and it was show time! So I buzzed to be let in, was asked to take a seat and soon after that I was being interviewed. Despite all of the drama in getting there, I think it went well. I was able to answer their questions with definite and concise answers, and even though I was quite broken by this point; I was able to put on quite the dog and pony show. The situation was perfect by no means, but when I left there, I did so knowing that I had done the best with what I had been given; and I was proud of that.

Time to go home. Something that as you can probably well imagine, I was looking forward to by this point in the day. I was so far beyond physically exhausted, that it was nothing more than a speck in my rear view mirror; and quite how I was still upright at this point in the day is still a bit of a mystery to me. I was in a bad way, and my body had started to go numb, which is never a good sign. Particularly when you're out and about.

It was at this point I found out that the bus stop where I could have caught a bus home, and the bus stop where I could have caught a bus into the town center where both out of service. The bus would still pass through here, but it wouldn't stop. Mother f****r!! This meant a mile or so trek into the town center, it being closer than home, and catching a bus from there.

So, seeing little choice in the matter I pushed on and about half an hour later made it to my destination. The bus arrived not too long after I did, and finding myself a seat with a good back rest I settled in for the journey home.

Which was okay until about the midway point, where the bus came to a halt. Someone had closed the road ahead, and after a good ten minutes of debating what to do with the depot over the phone, as their radio was broken; it was decided that they'd head back to the town center and take a diversion from there. It was at this point I burst out in hysterical laughter. The situation had literally pushed me beyond the threshold of my sanity.

I had seen the town center when I used it as a hub to connect with the bus that took me to the agency. I had returned there to look behind the town hall for the clients site. It's where the petrol station was that I was picked up from, and it was where I had to walk back to in order to catch this bus. I had seen a lot of that place that day, and it seemed like everything I did just kept on pulling me back there!

This would be the last of it however, with the diversion successfully getting me home, where I promptly passed out asleep on the couch for several hours before dragging my carcass up to bed for some quality sleep.


I woke up on Friday feeling shattered. The kind of shattered that you normally feel at the end of a heavy day, followed by a late night. Thursday had certainly taken its toll, and I felt dreadful. I needed a day or two to recover, but I had a job to do. So much like the day before I dragged myself out of bed, cleaned myself up and, headed out. This time to work.

The day passed largely without incident, and again I was quite thankful when home time came around. It wasn't till I was on my second bus on the return journey that I received a call. It was the bank (the one I had interviewed with, not my bank). They asked me if I as free to talk, which I instantly knew was code for we've made a decision.

Eager to know the outcome of the interviews I said sure, and sure enough that's what the call was about. It took less than a minute to get to the point, which amounted to whilst the feedback from the interview was positive, there were stronger candidates. I was then asked how I felt about it, and whilst I was disappointed I took it on the chin. Business is business after all, so taking it personally is silly. So I told them I understood their decision and wrapped up the call after exchanging the expected pleasantries.

Less than five minutes passes, and my phone rings again; with the caller ID displaying a number I instantly recoginise as the agency I went to see yesterday. I mutter to myself, please not another knock back before picking up the call.

After exchanging, hello's and how do you do's, the topic quickly turns to yesterdays interview; and leads with the ominous "we've had feedback", much the way the previous call had. That's where it takes a twist and a turn however, as I'm told that the feedback we've had is positive and we're expecting to hear back on Monday.

So it's not a yes, but it's not a no either. This is then topped off with with the further information that the client has already rejected the other candidate that the agency sent along to interview for the role, and during the feedback not once was my tardiness mentioned. I was nearly half an hour late to an interview that had been pushed upon the client at short notice, and I still make the shortlist!

Call me crazy, but I think I'm in here! Only time will tell of course, but I'm taking the clients pause for thought as a positive. I figure there's maybe one or two other candidates in contention for the role, but to make the final few despite everything that went against me.. That tells me I made one hell of a good impression on them. Good enough to get the job? We'll soon see. Fingers crossed for me, eh guys?