First of all, I’m still getting interviewed for IT jobs, and even if nothing works out, I’m being put forward for a temp admin job that’ll pay extremely well — but I’m most hopeful for a job that I won’t talk about too much here, lest I jinx it, save to say that it’d set me up extremely well for a career in IT (and particularly IT jobs in the legal sector). I had a phone interview with a high-up in the organisation, which was really more of an introduction to the company, and he said I’d need to be prepared to change and adapt if I joined his crew…
Of course, you guys know I’ve changed over the past couple of years: getting healthy through climbing and personal training (and Wii Fit Plus!), socialising more, getting dates, and taking this “leap of faith” to work in IT. I even started showering more often after having to go without during the early autumn of 2013, and I’m doing my best to fight my anxiety, which has been easier to face this time around than it was in 2011-2012. And I’ve been decluttering, trying to switch to e-books and give away my paperbacks (and two whole bookcases), as well as getting a smaller computer desk and putting my games and DVDs (which I’ve ripped onto a hard drive) into boxes out of the way.
However, there are other changes afoot: for one thing, I’ve finally given away my 15-year archive of Private Eye magazines, which I’d been buying since late 1999. I donated them, two whole plastic crates’ worth, to a local library that was closed by the council but reopened by determined volunteers; they were a bit taken aback, but seem to have accepted them. Since I never really looked at them (indeed, I may not buy the magazine any more, it’s just so depressing to read about how corrupt our country is!), it made sense to get rid of them and not have to transport them through another house move — and I was lucky to find a taker, and not have to dump them in the recycling instead, where they’d be no use to anyone.
(Of course, the library might still decide to do that, but hey, not my damn problem any more!)
Another change is that I think I’m going to stop putting up posters. Shock horror, Dave’s growing out of his student days, only about 15 years late! Well, it’s clear to me that Blu-tac (ahem, other adhesives are available) pulls chunks out of the paint on the walls, and in any case my posters (which haven’t been refreshed in years) are all too old and battered to look good on the walls any more (especially my beloved “Briefcase Full of Blues” one, that’s been on my various walls for 18 years); thus, I think they’re going to the dump this week as well, thus closing a chapter of my life. I don’t want bland walls, however, so I’m going to look into getting more interesting stuff to put up, ideally framed — particularly a nice cityscape. I’ve also put one thing off for far too long: framing my certificates so I can hang them on my wall!
I may also get rid of some of my trinkets — not the ornaments my folks have bought me, like the mineral eggs (or the skeleton of a hippy who died at his computer, which I’ve had since 2001), but rather the sci-fi stuff I’ve bought over the years, including poseable video game characters. I gave away a toy Transformer (yes, I know) to my American friend when I saw him last summer, and I may have to give away some of my Gundam models to charity.
(As for the cuddly toy Minion I won at the arcade in late 2013: from my cold, dead hands!)
Speaking of my room, I recently moved it around for the Nth time, undoing a change I’d made when I started working at that job in November which meant my bed was as far from the window as possible, but right next to the dividing wall with the toilet, and also meant I couldn’t watch TV while lying in! It’s only a relatively small change, but it helps me to feel that things are changing again. My PC is now in the same corner of the room as my TV (which has to be here because the satellite cable only reaches so far), and this means I don’t have a spare plug socket for Ethernet-over-powerlines; the Wi-Fi is appalling in here, but I’ve dealt with that by installing a simple Wi-Fi repeater. I should have done it ages ago, but now I can get perfect reception not only with my computer, but with my Kindle and phone — and this seems to have helped the router itself, as it’s no longer straining to reach me and constantly falling over.
And speaking of my phone, I reverted another change from late 2014: since 3 Mobile got their act together here in Finchley, I’ve gone back to them and their wonderfully cheap service, as O2 proved to be a very poor choice. Put it this way: I paid £10 for a bundle of minutes (which I used up quickly calling recruiters), texts (which I barely made inroads into) and mobile Internet, but I still had to put on another £10 of credit in order to access my voicemail! They couldn’t give me a single reason at the O2 shop to stay, so I came back to 3, and can now get a signal in my room (though they still suck down in Worthing).
One thing I’m probably going to have to face up to in my interview is the fact that I’ve too often let things slide in my life, and have procrastinated rather than getting on with things. This article has made me realise how essential it is to change: I still remember how I used to sit at home and do nothing other than play video games and watch TV every evening, as recently as mid-2013, and complaining that nothing good ever happened in my life! The changes I’ve been making since 2012 (it really began with climbing) have gradually made me a better person, and I’m almost unrecogniseable now.
I can certainly change my behaviour when I need to: my personal trainer noted early on how I always try the exercises he gives me, rather than refusing or complaining (except jokingly, e.g. accusing him of torturing me!), and I’ve achieved massive improvements, such as losing flab and gaining muscle, in the time he’s been mentoring me. Similarly, after years of introvercy, and following that holiday in May 2013, I managed to start socialising with real people and haven’t stopped since (which is why I’ve been better able to cope with this bout of anxiety than I was three years ago). I just hope I can put this across in my final interview, and make it clear that I’m eager to learn and to improve my attitudes, without coming across as needy and desperate for a jerrrb. If the interview happens via Skype, I’ll at least be able to feel relatively at ease being in my own room, rather than having to go across London in a monkey suit.
(Don’t worry, I won’t be on Skype in my dressing gown… or a Gwar T-shirt!)
One consolation is that they want me in post as soon as possible (if I am successful), and I have a feeling I’m not up against a huge amount of competition (since this was arranged by my IT agency); the boss also took two hours to introduce me to the organisation, which I doubt he did lightly. Thus I’m going to face this interview with confidence, though this means I’m also going to write down notes so I can give answers to all the usual questions without stuttering. That’s a change I really need to make in my approach to interviews — planning ahead, rehearsing, clarifying my thoughts, and not just coasting.
I still want to learn to drive and play the guitar, but there’s one change I despair of ever effecting in myself: dealing with cold weather — I’ve even been shivering at 20°C lately! The big cheese I spoke to on Friday is from Chicago and faced the terrible winter of a year ago, and seems to deal with cold a lot better than me; I wish I had his strength. It was my not being able to deal with adversity and discomfort that scuppered my job in November, as I was so desperate to escape that the boss thought it wasn’t worth training me (ironically just as I finished shadowing); hopefully in this new job I won’t need to sit at a cold bus stop for 20 minutes or deal with regular night shifts, but I’ll still face stress and anxiety, and I need to build up my resistance and not give them the excuse to turn me down.
After all, judging from what the man told me about the job, if I can get through 18 months of troubleshooting software for legal clients (for whom time is very much money), I can get through just about anything…