from Pantperthog to Knockando

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Why the hush?

I didn’t get the job. So I guess I can explain why I had a week off blogging and where I was last Wednesday.

You might remember I mentioned that I’d sent my CV off. A week last Friday I got a phone call from the company concerned – one Ted Baker – inviting me for an interview.

The ad had been vague. The instructions even more so. "The door is in the poster of the lobster. I’d advise you take the lift, just for the experience." Was I joining a secret society? Or a cult?

We travelled up Tuesday night, staying with Cath’s aunt in Croydon. The interview was at 8.30 – but I had no problem waking up. Nerves and excitement meant I woke up on the hour every hour throughout the night. We found the door in the lobster. The lift was an experience – with a zillion buttons to press that all said funny things or made funny noises. But before I got to the lift I’d walked into what felt like a bunker, past an animatronic wagging golden retriever and reached an empty desk that had a sign ‘Look up to Ted’. When you looked up there was a camera, a microphone and a screen. Very Alias.

The interviewer, Craig, seemed a friendly guy. He knew his stuff on branding, and seemed genuinely interested in me – assessing whether I’d fit, I guess. TB seemed to be that kind of place. Either you’d fit or you wouldn’t. I think he knew that I ‘got’ the mystique surrounding the great man himself, and how the brand was wrapped in the persona, but then the persona also carried the brand.

The job, when he explained it to me, was far more complicated than I envisioned from the ad. If I’d known beforehand what the job was, I’d have steered my answers more towards that direction, so maybe I did miss a bit of an opportunity there. But that’s the thing with interviews. There’s always something else you could have said, or something you could have phrased differently or emphasised to a greater degree, and on some level it isn’t helpful to beat yourself up about it. Overall I said what I said and I felt I was ‘me’ and if I can’t get the job as ‘me’ then there’s no point trying to be somebody else, getting the job and then having to live life as a fake.

So, am I disappointed? Yes, of course I am. It would have meant living in London at least five days a week. It would have meant a huge upheaval and huge change. But the job as it was eventually explained to me sounded absolutely amazing. Huge. Challenging. Totally absorbing. I think I would have loved it, if I faced the fear and gone for it.

On a final note – I was incredibly calm, all things considered. After the initial panic on the Friday I rang my bro and he said he’d pray that the door would either swing wide open or swing shut (answered prayer there, then). On the Sunday we rocked up at church and on the stage was a door. A real wooden door in a doorframe; a prop for the speaker who was quoting from Revelation chapter 3 – "I have placed before you an open door which no one can shut." I guess I knew that whatever happened it was all in somebody’s plan.

[Of course, that could have been just a coincidence, but as Cath pointed out, how many umpteen thousand sermons have we heard between us and when have either of us ever seen an actual door used to illustrate a point.]

So, it’s disappointment, but tinged with slight relief. It’s not my decision whether to up sticks and move to the ‘big smoke’ or not. I feel I did my best. And I feel calm about it. Not gutted, not glad. Just fair to middling.

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