New & old horizons

Time’s speeding by and work at the bank is wrapping up for me now. J had some lovely words for me this afternoon as she was going on holiday today and wouldn’t see me again once she’d gone. She reiterated what she said before, that I’d been an asset to the team and that they’d all miss me. Wow, I thought. I really must have done something right during my time there.

V seems to be slowly getting the hang of the customer mailing now. I worry that when I’m gone and she has to do it on her own, she’ll keep getting distracted and lose the ability to think straight. I’ve seen it happen so much in the last few weeks, and with a complicated process like this it’s so easy to make huge mistakes if you’re distracted. I need to let it go now – I’ve done all I can to train her. This time last year when I was handing things over at the last job I felt the same reluctance to let go, the same fear that my replacements would fuck things up without me, and I had to let go anyway, because it really wasn’t my responsibility any more.

I had an interview today. It was for a part time three days a week customer service role at a large job ads website in London. I decided to announce it on facebook last night, purely for selfish reasons, to see how many people would wish me luck. This morning I woke to dozens of likes and comments – a rare occurrence indeed! Someone had even been thoughtful enough to message me a link to an article about common interview questions and tips for answering them, from someone with decades of experience in HR.

All of which proves my theory that the most popular posts on facebook involve life events, such as new jobs, weddings, holidays, house moves. Trying to post witty comments or links to clever sounding articles doesn’t cut it sadly, not when I do it anyway. When will I learn?

It’s interesting that I didn’t spend the day leading up to the interview drowning in anxiety, like I have before interviews in the past. I guess I know my way around a job interview now. I’ve had plenty of practise this year, I know what I need to say and I’m confident in my own abilities. On the way there this afternoon I knew I could do the job that they were offering. it sounded so similar to many of the things I did at the last company for six years, I was sure I just had to sell myself for half an hour and I’d be in with a chance.

To be able to take the afternoon off for the interview I’ve had to work through lunches all week at the bank. As always, J didn’t mind. It was so nice to get out this afternoon and not have to face another full day in the basement. As soon as I got on the train to the interview, the nerves hit me. I don’t think it was nervousness about the interview itself or whether I could do the job: it was a deeper, more subtle nervousness that I get in situations where I have to meet strangers and rely on them for help. In this situation, I’d need to speak to someone at the office reception and ask them to direct me to my interview. Anything could go wrong. They could have forgotten that they were expecting me, or I could get lost in a maze of corridors in the big office building that I was heading towards.

None of these things happened, of course, and I knew they wouldn’t before I got there, so the nerves never rose above a low pitch. I arrived at a gorgeous high rise glass office block in South London, five minutes away from the river, and was pointed in the right direction by a friendly girl on reception. My first impression of the company and its office reminded me strongly of the company I left last year. It had a very strong vibe of being a young tech company, like my former employer, with staff in casual clothes and trainers, lots of big computer screens and laptops, food and drinks and mobile phones scattered comfortably on desks rather than forcibly hidden away like at the bank. The most impressive part was the view from the 9th floor windows overlooking the South Bank. As soon as I saw it I had a strong feeling that I’d like to work there.

Walking into the interview I had thoughts running through my mind of how much it reminded me of the company I left last year, how great it would be to go back into that past and experience all the good things about such a company again. I also had thoughts about how I wanted to change my career and do something more meaningful. As they were asking the standard interview questions and as I was answering with as much gusto and professionalism as I could muster, I recognised that this job was a realistic, good option for me, and I couldn’t turn my nose up at it if it was offered to me. While I’m studying for my counselling qualification I’m still going to need to pay for my living expenses. A part time job in a company like this one would be pretty much the perfect way of supporting myself through studies, based on what I saw today. After five months of hell at the bank, I’d take a job where I can be myself and wear my own clothes every day, and not some ill fitting corporate outfit!

I think the interview went very well, all things considered. I didn’t fluff any of the questions, I was able to give a number of good examples of customer service that I’ve provided in my career, I was friendly and warm, even managing to smile a few times. It may be presumptuous, but I’m going to say that I’ll be a little surprised if I don’t get through to the next round of interviews. There’s just one final round to go before a job offer is made.

Realistically, I’m not going to interview at many places like that. So I will take the job if it’s offered to me. I can do it three days a week and do my studying / live my life the rest of the time. I don’t have to do it forever. Whatever job I end up doing, I sincerely hope that the first few months won’t be a living hell in which I struggle to make any friends. Thinking about it, I really think that the environment at the bank didn’t help me at all in the beginning. It’s shown me that however nice people may be, and however far I’ve come personally, some environments will always be harder to flourish in than others, and I need to always do my best to find the environments that I can thrive in.

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