The following reflection is a personal account based on a climatic Thursday in late October, which I was blessed to be allowed to take time off through legal channels. I had to turn down the original date, which I couldn’t attend due to our shortage of staff and I didn’t want to lie to my gaffer with a folly excuse just to secure a personal appointment.

I basically said to God, if I get rejected for turning down the original date – then so be it, but I would rather honour God by making an honest decision and play strictly by the rules legally. If it was meant to be, then the LORD would grant me a new day to attend. That day is reflected below.

Today was not real. I’m still baffled about how I even reached today. I can only point today to God’s grace.

I unintentionally tailgated myself inside a prominent institution. It was by some coincidence that the moment I turned the handle of the main door, which I suspected was the venue of the heightened discussion, the door swung open. Uh… ok.

A missing receptionist at the desk I thought, yet I was to meet a party of two important figures who I thought would usher me in, so we can start our important discussion.

Instead, a facilities op asked me if I was looking for someone. I smiled and acknowledged the non-existent receptionist as I glazed my eyes towards an abandoned desk. I disclosed a name and I was advised to be seated until someone came along.

Oh boy. Someone did come along. I was confronted by a shocked personnel who was gobsmacked that I walked myself inside the undisclosed building.

10 mins remaining.

I muttered the person of interest and revealed my underlying reason for being inside the building. She drew a blank face. My heart elevated quicker than normal. She couldn’t make contact with the individual by phone. When she returned back, she asked for my letter. As everything is digitised, I flashed my pixelated evidence and read out the details.

Indeed, I was in the right place, but the person of interest wasn’t based here. She was still dumbfounded that I invited myself in. I advised her to contact the person’s mobile. She didn’t know. The person of interest was unreachable.

5 mins remaining.

She then summons a colleague to contact the person of interest, as he was heading eastward. He didn’t come back. Man down.

She head-hunts another person who is a senior gaffer, who promptly attempts to call the person of interest. Eventually, there was communication that they were coming.

By this time, the reception floor resembled an awkward Christmas party, as sudden cliques formed left, right and centre. I was the unintentional life of the party, except I felt like a sore thumb sitting in the bleachers observing the scene. Even the young woman sitting opposite fled her once quiet surrounding to return to her office.

0 mins remaining.

The gobsmacked woman deliberately sits beside me until my party arrived. After all, I had unintentionally tailgated myself like an East Asian tourist.

Meanwhile, my armpits were cool as a cucumber. My newly bought deodorant was working like magic. Who would have thought emulsion paint did the trick? What a miracle!

5 mins late.

I couldn’t help myself, but I decided to make some light chat with her. I found it ironic that I had tailgated myself for the very purpose of my predestined visit. She didn’t budge a smile, but she did recognise the irony. She was too busy prepping herself to formally blast to said party.

10 mins late.

Finally. My party arrives. I sigh a relief – and right enough, my female companion blasts at the foremost senior figure, as he holds up a recycled cup-o-joe from Pret, which may explain the lateness. Eventually, my expected party greeted me with warm welcoming. Said party acknowledged genuine concern. Eventually, I was ushered in to begin my fateful discussion. And so it began…

I was nervous throughout. Why? Because I really wanted the role. It wasn’t the advertised benefits – nor was it related to a potential pay bump, but rather, it was the genuine once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It didn’t help when this particular discussion was my first experience of a different kettle of fish. However, I did my prep work and as usual, I sought to be myself – as I wanted to be honest with myself and with them. I was also expecting a practical of some kind.

The underlying desire to want this type of niche work is a mixture of stability in the economic climate and my growing interest and skillset in the field. For me, I want to ride the final wave before I am washed out dry by the next generation. I’m just glad it’s October and not the summer season.

Fortunately, I answered all in the reduced time that I had. I was not able to fully articulate my words due to sporadic brain-fart episodes. There were tidbits where I was cut off at peak moments, as the important discussion evolved into a ‘chat’ which caught me off guard. I’m just glad that I came across as insightful and honest in my replies. The frequent derailments of excitement and interest from said party often Segway’d my line of thinking – though it didn’t deter their valued interest. I even found myself cutting off their sentences, as I was genuinely entranced at the whole setup (including teams and systems). I found the whole experience bizarre, rushed and very much improvised.

Both shook with sound grips, which is a rare experience that made me hopeful. As I was being escorted out of the premises, one of the two from the party shared a glowing review. My face didn’t flinch as I thought I hiccupped on my personal points due to my nerves, despite coming across as technically strong in jargon and honest in my ethics and moral standing. I allowed my cynicism to keep my emotions in check. However, I did acknowledge the review. Either way, I still need to wait.

By the time I absorbed my exhausted face with the natural sunlight, I found myself nervously playing with my fingers whilst thanking God for helping me through my time there. I’m not a fidget, but it was a unique display of anxiety and uncertainty.

I soon snapped out of fidget-land and walked eastward. I returned to my sanctuary store, as I promised God that I would return back to buy those 4 books that were on sale at £3 each. I just didn’t want to baggage myself beforehand.

I now have extra reading to tickle my soul.

Above all, the penultimate outcome of today’s intriguing episode is in God’s hands.

May His will be done.

Ed: I received word of the outcome in early November. By the grace of God, He has allowed me to move on. Albeit to a more fast-paced and likely stressful environment, but it’s working in the hottest job market verticals in the world. For me, I want to learn from the best in the industry. By the time this reflection goes live on Saturday morning (UK time), I will have finished my last day at my (now) former workplace only yesterday.

~Richard