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The Great Escape


Time for a change

Next week marks the end of an era for me.  I’m moving on to pastures new.  I returned to work in December after my treatment.  Although I had missed the routine of going to work and the daily camaraderie of my colleagues, I had become used to being a lady of leisure.  Well, of sorts.  My only worry was what to have for lunch.  

When I returned to work I found it difficult to get back into it.  My brain refused to work and I felt I had lost the passion for what I do.  I started to think it was time for a change.  Last year I met lots of people who, after their cancer diagnosis, completely changed their profession.  Some went back to University to retrain while others gave up working for someone else and started their own business.  I wasn’t up for something as extreme as this but knew it was time for a change.  


The search

The organisation I work for is a good organisation who look after their employees, so I didn’t really want to leave.  I started to look for a role internally in another area of the business and found something that appealed.  It’s very different to my current role and sounded challenging.  It appeared it would offer me the change I was looking for.  I applied and was invited for an interview.  

A few days before the interview, which was scheduled for a location in Manchester, I received notification that it needed to be rescheduled to the following week.  This suited me as I had so much planned already and it eased the pressure on me a little.  When the invite came through I made note of the date and time and planned my schedule accordingly.  

What location?

The day of the interview arrived and I travelled to the location which happened to be my current place of work.  I headed in to the office at 10am, the interview was at 3pm.  On my way in I checked my phone and noticed a new invite request for the interview.  This confused me but I checked the date and time and realised it hadn’t changed which I was relieved about.  My eyes must have quickly scanned the room name while looking at my phone as a few minutes later, after I had put my phone away, my brain kicked in to gear.  Suddenly I thought “I’m sure that room isn’t in my office”.  I double checked my phone and realised that I was right.  I started to panic, I was turning up at the wrong location!  Now that might not seem so bad until you hear just how far away I was.  I was going to an office in Manchester……….the interview was in London, over 200 miles away!

Catastrophic error

Once I was in the office I double checked the invite and realised I had made a catastrophic error.  As the original interview the previous week was in Manchester I had incorrectly assumed the reschedule was too.  How wrong I was.  What was I going to do?  Once I got my brain engaged I decided I had two options, 1. Call the interviewer and apologise profusely and hope I could get another reschedule or 2. Get on the train to London and hope I get there on time.  Both options had their risks.  Option 1 would make me look unprofessional and unorganised.  Who wants to employ someone like that.  Option 2 would be difficult to explain to my colleagues, wondering why I suddenly needed to leave the office for the rest of the day.  Plus I was worried about bumping in to colleagues in London who would undoubtedly ask what I was doing down south.  Not to mention the risk of not getting there on time.  

After much deliberation and conscious of the time, I opted for option 2.  My brain had two sides arguing with each other…….”You’re not going to make it”……..”Yes I am, it’s doable”.  I was in a state of panic, sweating and pacing.  I ordered a taxi and headed for the train station, leaving my colleagues wondering if I was ok and what could possibly have happened to make me just leave.  At this point I should make it clear, I don’t have an onsite manager, making it easier for me to walk out without explaining myself.  



I made the next train to London and started to calm down.  This was time that I needed to use wisely, planning my route across London and prepping for my interview.  I know London well so my route was planned quickly, thankful for the London Underground.  My interview prep was straight forward too as I had already done so much and just needed to refresh my memory.  

The train arrived in London on time and I ran to the Underground.  I only had to make one change but in my haste to get off the second train I realised too late that I had got off at the wrong stop!  Aaarrrggghhh!  Could I get anything else wrong today?  I really hoped not.  A quick check of my watch told me I had enough time to walk to my destination, arriving with half an hour to spare.  I hid in the office so as not to bump in to anyone I knew.  Before I knew it, it was time for my interview.  

Great escape

I don’t know how I did it but I managed to give the best interview I have ever done, all the while managing to pull off the old “I’ve been here all day” routine.  My interviewers were none the wiser.  When I came out I was so grateful for all the effort I had put in to preparing and relieved that it was over.  I headed straight for my train back to Manchester, congratulating myself for what will go down in history as the greatest escape ever.  Two days later I found out I had been successful and was offered the role.  I was so pleased and excited about a fresh start.  

So after 7 years in my role I will be saying goodbye to my current colleagues and meeting my new ones.  It’s been a great 7 years and I’m sad to leave but it’s time for a fresh start.  Last year taught me that I need to take opportunities when they arise.  It also stole some of my confidence but this interview situation has helped me regain some of that.  On reflection, while difficult at the time, it has made me stronger and helped me believe in myself.



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