Wednesday 11 September 2019
Today is my scary job interview. It’s in town. It’s in a new location. I find that without any of my trusty trio to guide me…I get a little lost!
I am awake by 5am, my bag is packed, my reflection is looking groomed and professional and I am on the road before seven. My interview is not until nine and the SatNav tells me it’s a 36 minute journey, but I am not taking any chances. To say that I really am “not great” at navigating in unfamiliar places, would be an understatement.
The traffic is horrendous but nonetheless, feeling rather smug, I am parked, within half a mile of my destination, by 8 am. And not just parked in any of your usual car parks. Oh no! In an unusual moment of travel-inspiration, I have discovered Just Park and for the bargain price of £3.40, I find myself manoeuvering, my loyal Toyota Winston, into a space on a quiet road, having avoided the stress of Manchester’s ominous one way systems and endless ‘Bus and Taxi only’ zones.
“This is all going perfectly” I am foolish enough to think, as I step out of the car.
Now the rain often ‘falls hard on this humdrum town’, and today is no exception. As I pause to load Google Maps onto my phone, I am regretting the decision to wear my hair down. In the relentless drizzle, my interview-straightened locks are beginning to spring their way back to a cheerful frizz. I tell myself it just adds a bit of personality to my look, twirl my phone around a few times, trying to fathom what on earth those little blue arrows on the screen have to do with my route, choose a direction and set off. After 5 minutes, my screen informs me that my 12 minute walk is now a 17 minute walk and I deduce that I am probably not going the right way.
I decide to abandon the phone and fish a paper map out of my bag. I am squinting to read crumpled road names when a lorry rumbles by, through the puddles and, in a moment reminiscent of that famous Bridget Jones scene, drenches me from top to toe. I am now very soggy. I am now visibly bedraggled. But it’s still only 8.10 am. Plenty of time… hey, I can spruce myself up in the Ladies upon arrival!
Several wrong turns later, but with my watch showing a timely 8:37 am, I am joyfully outside the building with the perfect amount of time to spare. Through the revolving doors I go and into…a very quiet and deserted lobby. Rather oddly, there is no reception, but looking around I find a lift showing the floors for several different companies. Mine is found on floors 2 and 3. I start with 2. There’s a glass walled office here, with a few people tapping away on computers. It doesn’t look too promising, so I am back, riding that lift to floor 3. This takes me to a corridor, where a man in an anorak, who tells me he is from ‘IT‘, helpfully stops to find out … what, in the name of goodness, I am doing wandering, unsupervised around his place of work! He has never heard of the man I am supposed to report to and looks puzzled when I explain that I am here for an interview.
“Did they definitely tell you to come to this building, not our main site ?’“he asks.
“You .. you have more than one building?” I hear myself whisper, a wave of panic beginning to take hold.
Listening with grim determination, I take in Anorak-man’s instructions on how to find the main site. I hurry to the exit and then I run , as fast as my heels can take me, to the correct location. Damp, red faced, frizzy haired, and gasping for breath, I fly into at Reception with four minutes to spare. There’s no time for sprucing-up, there’s no time to reread my notes there’s no time at all before I am called in.
How does it go? I’ll tell you in a week …