Monday, May 01, 2000

Change of Direction

I only worked half a day at Dixons today. One of the nice things about temping through Reed is that you get a certain amount of paid holiday to take so I didn't lose any money by not working this afternoon. I'd worn my suit to the office for the first time, too. Of course, I got a few comments, most of them sarcastic but I didn't really care; I had an interview to go to.

Twelve o'clock came round and I left to go down to the town centre. The trouble with where the Dixons warehouse and offices are in Stevenage is that it's a long way into town and even a long way to the nearest bus stop that will take me there quickly. Still, the interview wasn't until 2.00 so I had plenty of time and it was a nice enough day so I didn't mind having to walk.

I got into Kings Cross and down to Monument on the tube without any problems and finding my way from there to Mark Lane, which runs just past the entrance to Fenchurch Street station was easy enough. I found the right place and went up to the second floor, where the company had a fairly small office. The receptionist had just got me a cup of tea when the MD came to get me.

I had no idea what to expect but what I got would have been one of the last things I thought of.

The guy explained a bit about what the company does (consulting services for insurance companies) and what the job is (whatever is required, it seems). He may have asked me whether I knew anything about insurance but if he did it was only in passing and the answer was unimportant. Less than ten minutes in and without having asked any searching questions at all he said to me "When can you start?".

If I'd been taking a sip of tea at that point I'd probably have choked on it. My mind raced. I only had to give a week's notice to Reed but Dixons have been good to me so I said two. He didn't look best pleased with that but accepted it anyway and then asked his second unexpected question.

"What do you think we should pay you?"

Now my brain just stalled in mid-thought. I had no idea what the job, and me doing it, was worth so I managed to stammer something to the effect of I don't know and what were they prepared to pay me. Almost as soon as I said it I thought I'd made a mistake but the guy came back with an answer that was about as much as I'd have asked for anyway.

At that point the interview was effectively over but my tea still wasn't cool enough to drink so we chatted on for another few minutes before I stumbled out in a daze.

What had just happened to me?

I gathered my thoughts on the train home. Just a few weeks ago I had a very good job opportunity much nearer home but, because I still thought I had a chance of getting onto a Management Accounting training scheme somewhere, I didn't follow it up. Have I really decided to drop that aim, now? After all the effort I've put into it over the last 18 months?

More than that, have I dropped it in favour of working in London, which I swore blind I would never do while I was still at university.

It appears that the answer to that question is yes.

So, in two weeks I will begin the lifestyle of the commuter. Gone will be the twenty minute walk to work, leaving the house at 7.40 and being home in time for Countdown. Instead I will be spending two hours a day on buses, trains and the tube. Still, at least I'll have Plenty of time to read, now.

And what does this mean for my future? This is a change of direction I didn't foresee and I've got no idea what it will mean in the long term. But, ever the optimist, I'm sure it will be just fine.

The future is bright, as the advert says.