Fresh out of university, two degrees under my belt, I began to wonder what the point of all that studying had been, because, despite many job applications, no one was getting back to me. Was I doomed to be unemployed forever? I sure thought so!
But, thanks to this
plastic bag carrier robotic arm, I am now employed.
“What?” I hear you say. “How could that inanimate piece of hole-punched plastic get you a job, where fancy CVs and cover letters failed?!”
“Ahh,” I reply. “That is a secret.”
Just kidding. If it were a secret, I’d have nothing to tell you now, would I?
How It All Started
It all began the evening of September 25th, at around half eleven, on a noisy night bus. There I was, large shopping bag in one hand, plastic thingy in the other, stone-cold sober, unlike most of the bus’ occupants.
I sat down, placing the plastic thingy at my feet, the shopping bag on my lap, cursing my lack of headphones (my iPod ones had, unsurprisingly, broken several days earlier). I stared off in to the distance, composing tweets in my head, planning blog posts: all the things you do when you’re avoiding thinking about your WIP.
Gradually, I become aware of someone staring. It was the guy next to me. You know that feeling you get when someone wants to ask you a question, but isn’t quite sure whether they should? That’s the feeling I got.
Finally, he pulled a headphone of his ear, turned to me, said, “I’m really sorry, but what is that thing?” and pointed at my newly-acquired plastic thingy.
“Ah,” I replied. “That is my robotic arm.”
Okay, okay, I’m lying: I told him exactly what it was. But his male mind was unable to comprehend the usefulness of such a bizarre object, so I ended up “confessing” that it was a robotic arm.
Yes, I thought I was being quite witty at the time. Shush, you.
Conversation ensued, turning to the usual subjects: how did you end up in London, where are you from, do you like chocolate, etc. When I told him about my MA in Publishing, he perked up, and said, “I work in publishing!”
Now you can imagine how much I perked up at that!
“You wouldn’t want to give me a job, would you?” I said, half-teasing, half-serious.
He took me seriously, offered to pass on my details to his bosses. There was a brief scramble for pen and paper, and he jotted down his name and email address. Oh, yes, that is when we properly introduced ourselves. Can you believe I asked a guy whose name I didn’t know for a job?!
I shuffled off the bus in awe, scrap of paper tightly clutched in my hand (the one also holding the plastic thingy).
What Happened Next
A paraphrase of our email exchange:
Me: Hi, it’s the girl with the robotic arm (which works amazingly well by the way), here’s my contact details.
Him: Sorry for doubting the robotic arm. I’ll speak to my bosses, see what they say.
Him: Oh wait, chatted to the bosses and found out there’s a hiring freeze. But send in your CV anyway and we’ll see what happens.
Me: *sends CV*
Him: Bosses want to have a look at you. Come in for an interview?
Me: An interview for what?
Him: No idea.
Me: Okay, great. I’m in.
I was nervous, confused, wearing the inevitable new shoes that pinched a little.
There were three of them, three big names in the company, telling me all about this amazing new research project they wanted to start up, and would I be interested in joining?
I felt my cheeks warm as I spoke to them. I’m generally such a confident public speaker, but interviews make me feel anxious. Luckily, it was more them talking to me than me talking to them.
I’ll admit, it wasn’t the kind of job I’d been looking for. But it sounded like hard work, and I like being busy. Plus it sounded intellectual, and I like thinking. Plus, perhaps most importantly, everyone there seemed so nice.
They offered me an internship, a trial period of sorts to see whether we like each other. If things work out—fingers crossed—they’ll hire me on a permanent basis.
I start October 12th. I’ll let you know more about the job and how my first day goes.
Can you believe it? All of this thanks to a tube of plastic.