It’s funny how life throws things up that are less probable than Simon Cowell having trousers that don’t rise above his nipples. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but always leaving with a thought of how and why it happened.
Of course, this is leading up to something, definitely life changing. After all the angst and unhappiness being spilled last week about the callous way in which yet another job interview went up the swanee, all of a sudden I’ve joined the ranks of the paid employed. For the first time in half a dozen years I’ll be getting a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.
Why they’ve chosen me I have no idea. Imbued with cynicism from last week’s rejection, I turned up for an interview expecting nothing. My attitude wasn’t surly, but pretty much defeatist. I had no expectations, so instead of giving carefully rehearsed answers to their bog standard questions, I gave them a piece of my mind.
Of how people can see through anyone deceiving them eventually, that the worst sort of person for the job is someone so smart they think everyone else can be fooled by them, and that extends to management and the corporate world too.
Of course I could do the job, I said, I could do it standing on my head, but that I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they found someone younger, that they can pay a lower wage to. Even if it meant for them it’d be a false economy, because that’s how the world works. Balance sheets and cynicism.
I wasn’t in the best frame of mind, obviously, to see someone for the off-chance of being gainfully employed. Too much consciousness came out of my mind and into the small, dull interview room. The manager and HR person looked and sounded distinctly unimpressed and underwhelmed, even though I was given a mini-tour of the place.
I’d know by the end of the day or, at the latest, the next afternoon. When that came and went, I thought nothing of it. A call the following morning came from the HR person. She asked me how I think it went. I stifled a giggle as I said I wasn’t confident.
Which made it all the more of a shock when she said the feedback was they wanted to offer me the job as soon as the interview finished but had to go through the process of seeing others. I was absolutely baffled. How could they have chosen someone so clearly not expecting or too bothered about being offered the vacancy?
She explained that they were instantly impressed by how my answers came from me rather than from a scripted, downloaded guide they normally get from candidates. She also said I demonstrated not only that I could do the job, but that I could read and see right through people straight away, which was an asset any company would want.
I found it all the more surreal as I’ve struggled year in year out, decade in decade out, to understand myself and how my mind works. I’m still none the wiser after all these years, too. Who cares how perplexed I am though. A job is a job. I accepted straight away. Two months training will be given, too, so this firm are serious about me.
You would have thought I would be dancing for joy, overcome with happiness, at achieving something I thought I’d never do again. Yet the overriding emotion was relief. Part of the nightmare would soon be over and I could move on with my life.
There was also a real sense of sadness too. I know my ex would have been extremely proud at that moment. She wasn’t there to share it though. It hurt. A lot. I wished and wished there would be a knock on the door and she would walk in. I guess wanting to share times of happiness with someone you still love is natural, though, and if they’re not there, is bound to take the edge off it a wee bit.
Nonetheless many people were delighted. I was amazed by how many people seemed thrilled. Not just family, but even my local MP. And a message from someone well known to millions of people. She said to me simply “Grab it with both hands.” Grab it? I’ll squeeze this opportunity for dear life.
Since then, I’ve had offers of help from various people and organisations to make sure I start work smartly dressed and able to afford things in the first month without pay. It’s pretty sobering to know how much people from all walks of life care and what they are prepared to do.
There’s still that anxiety, though, and that bleak little voice in my mind telling me “You’re not good enough and you know it.” I’m ignoring it though. After six years without a pay packet, I don’t care what anyone says (especially me), I’m going to earn that wage, achieve, and be who I know I can be.
And all it took was one lucky break.