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After it became clear that I would not be able to further my studies in high school, I applied for several jobs. The pickings were slim as at 16 years and fresh from school, I had no marketable skills to speak of.

After three months of job-hunting, which meant scanning the classified advertisements and despatching letters, my hopes soared when I received a letter requesting my presence for an interview.

Poring over the street directory, I located the company address. Next, I trotted down to the bus stop to check out the routes. I had to take two buses to reach the gates of Seletar Airbase and another feeder service within the base – one and half hours of commuting time, one way!

On the morning of the interview, I set out bright and early, and all gelled and awkward. Under my arm a thin file that contained my GCE examination results and several testimonials from the school exhorting my suitability for employment – we highly recommend this young man to any prospective employer.  Right, every other kid from every other school had testimonials that more or less said the same thing.

I presented myself at the reception and a very ample and bored receptionist asked me to take a seat. Coming from a school environment, I was impressed by the hush of the place. Oh, so this is what an office looks like and air-conditioned! Wow!

A middle-aged man in long sleeves and charcoal grey trousers stepped out a door that led to more offices behind him. He spoke softly to the receptionist and turned to me.

I got up, bowed stiffly and probably said something overly polite.

The man had a copy of the appointment letter. Yes, the interview was for 23rd April at 10.00 a.m.

“Yes sir”, I said. It was 9.50 a.m. and with a comfortable slack.

“But today is the 23rd of March.

I was a little too early for the interview, thirty days early to be precise 😦

I apologised and with tail tucked securely under my legs, hurried out red and flushed.

One month later, I presented myself for the interview, after having checked the letter at least a dozen times, and landed the job as an apprentice aircraft engineer. Whew!

********** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2012 **********