Those of you who know me will know that this blog title is by no means a brag. I am the world’s worst worrier, and actually a bit of an old school square. It is not in my makeup to leave things to chance. I am Mrs On-It-and-All-Over-It, Mrs Well-Prepared-But-Lacks-Spontaneity, and many other names that my so-laid-back-he’s-horizontal husband calls me, in jest, which I wouldn’t like to repeat.
However, once upon a time, about 20 years ago, I applied for a job that I really wanted and then spectacularly overslept for the interview. Here’s what happened.
Life before the interview
I was a second-year undergraduate at the University of Liverpool, recently relocated from Morton House halls of residence to a decrepit old flat on Greenbank Road, just off the infamous Smithdown Road.
Every day, on my way to lectures, I passed this quaint café, the Dormouse Tearooms, located above a fancy dress shop. One morning (or was it afternoon, I forget), when passing, I noticed a job advertised in the window and, though I don’t remember doing so, I must have submitted my CV. The next thing I knew, I had been offered an interview.
The night before the interview
I was really excited and even turned down the opportunity to go out the night before my Saturday morning interview. I retired to bed early, set my alarm, and dreamt sweet dreams of serving tea to real life Liverpudlians, whilst wearing full Victorian costume (this part was a reality of the job!).
Then disaster struck. In the small hours of the morning, a drunk friend of my housemate woke me by banging loudly at the front door. Though I gave the individual short shrift, it took a fair while for them to get on their way, back to the bright lights and many bars of Smithdown Road.
The morning of the interview
The next thing I knew, light was streaming in through the curtains and someone else was persistently knocking at the front door. Realising that I had massively overslept, I leapt out of my futon with the long since forgotten agility of youth, ran frantically down the stairs and opened the door to my would-be interviewer. I was over an hour late for the actual interview!
I can now picture the interviewer in my head, waiting, waiting, waiting, then deciding there was nothing for it, she was going to have to come and physically knock on my door and find out what was delaying me. Rather than being ready, smart, clean, tidy, I was in a state of total disarray, making the worst possible first impression. What must she have thought!
I profusely apologised, promised to be at the interview in record time, and managed to compose myself enough to attend and recover the situation. Unbelievably, at the end of all of this drama, I was offered the job. It turned out to be a dream job for a student and, to me now, it represents a very happy time in my life.
After the interview
My interviewer, Amanda, became a heart-warming and lifelong friend. She well and truly took me under her wing. Each Saturday that I worked, she cooked me a lunch that students can only dream of. She often invited me to her home, and even sent me back to my flat with supplies, to make sure I was fed throughout the coming week. Many years later, she attended my wedding in Ireland, and has kept in touch with cards and letters ever since.
I recently asked Amanda why she gave me a second chance. She couldn’t even remember me being late! She wrote, “God, girl, I am getting old. I can’t remember it, but I am glad I did. You were the best of all the girls she had working for her.” I am pretty sure that she embellished that last part, but the point is that my misdemeanour quickly faded from memory, replaced by what I did next, ranging from eating her out of house and home, through to sobbing my heart out at our work night out to see Jerry McGuire at the cinema.
There are two morals to my story. The first is not to give up when things go wrong. A mistake doesn’t need to define you. If you act quickly and show commitment, there should be plenty more opportunities to create a new perception of yourself. The second moral is to invest in a good alarm clock.