Meanwhile, away from the football…
Today was a two interview day. The first was a telephone interview set for 9:45am for a firm in Leicester. The second was a face-to-face interview at 2pm in Sheffield. What could go wrong?
So I was woken this morning by a telephone call at 5:35am. I surfaced from sleep and picked up the phone: the caller display said “Out of area”. “Who the hell rings at this ungodly hour?” I muttered to myself (or something like that) and thought “That can go to voicemail if they can be bothered”. Ten minutes later, at 5:45am, the phone rang again. “Must be an automatic dialler” I thought; but when I picked up the phone, the display said “Private caller”, which usually means a mobile. So I answered it.
It was my telephone interview. And my alarm clock was showing a time wrong by four hours. Fortunately, the first call had woken me up, though I sounded a bit groggy, as you do first thing in the morning.
So I delivered the interview from my bed! Not as bad as a boss I once had when I worked in Ofwat’s press office; she arranged a telephone interview with the BBC Radio 4 “Today” programme (a fairly heavyweight news and current affairs programme, for overseas readers) for 6:15am, only to have a similar alarm clock malfunction and having to deliver an interview to air from bed…
So you’ll understand it if I say that I didn’t really get any good or bad vibes from my telephone interview. We spoke for about half an hour, and the questioning seemed quite straightforward. Only when I got back from my second interview and picked up voicemail did I find that I’d got an offer of a face-to-face interview on Monday for the Leicester job. So I must’ve been doing something right after all. Perhaps that’s where I’ve been going wrong all these years…
I’ve bought new batteries for the alarm so I don’t have the same problem on Monday!
Then I had to get myself up, much later than I anticipated, and get ready to go to Sheffield,. But first I had to go to put diesel in the car and buy – and post – a birthday card for my sister. The upshot of this was that I didn’t set out for Sheffield until nearly mid-day, and it’s a good hour-and-a-half drive to Sheffield. A long section is on a two-lane motorway, and of course the traffic seemed slower than I would have liked. Then, on joining the main M1 motorway, I ran into a lengthy stretch of roadworks with a mandatory 50mph speed limit, enforced by average speed cameras. So I didn’t get to Sheffield until 1:35, but I had a cunning plan. I’d use a park-and-ride tram system, which I knew would put me into the city centre in ten minutes or less, from where it was only a short walk to the offices of the firm I was going to see.
I got to the tram stop, only to find a sign pasted to the ticket machines – “No trams from here until end of June.” But there was a replacement bus service – every half-hour, on the hour and half-hour. I hot-footed it to the bus stop – right at the other end of a large car park – boarded the bus, and was reaching for my phone when the driver started the bus up and pulled away. I was back on track!
Except that the bus stop in the city centre wasn’t in the same place as the tram stop I’d intended using; fortunately, Sheffield equips its bus stops with helpful city centre maps, so I could clearly see a quick route to the interview venue. It took me little more than five minutes to walk across town, and I arrived at the office front door on the stroke of 2pm.
Except there was no sign of the company on the entryphone or the list of tenants. Well-known (if not notorious) MP and former Minister David Blunkett’s constituency office was in the block, but not the company I was there to see. I was just debating who to ask (and tending toward Blunkett’s office on the basis that there probably would be someone there) when someone came out of the building and I was able to gain access. I went to the first office I could find and asked if anyone knew of this company. No-one did. But by the power of Google they were able to direct me to the company’s new offices. Unfortunately, Google maps aren’t 100% accurate, so I had to do some walking around and try a couple of other anonymous office blocks before locating them. Then I pulled a muscle in the arch of my foot stepping off a kerb, so by the time I finally arrived – at about 2:25pm – I was pretty dishevelled, limping badly and not feeling or looking at my best.
The guy who was interviewing me was really good about this (and it looks as though the agency, who sent me an e-mail with the shocking news that I’d been given an address two years old about the time I was entering the right building, managed to contact them because they knew l’d been to the old address). It felt more like a really pleasant conversation rather than an interview, we managed to make light of my misfortune, and I was very pleased both with the reception I got and the way I was able to deal with his questions (though having been working on a few days’ casual work up to yesterday, my preparation for the interview was less than I would normally have done). I did wonder if I was getting a slightly easier ride out of sympathy for the state I arrived in, but perhaps not. We shall see.
But i could do without another day as weird as this one.