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 **********

38 comments

  1. Eric I’d have hired you on the spot as you can spot character in scenes like that. I once had an interview where my prospective boss and I travelled up to the offices together in an external glass lift. My fear of heights meant I passed clean out at about the 15th floor…I still got the job! This morning I’m waiting for a final telephone test/interview and here I land on your post..missed reading you buddy and I’ll soon have a routine re-established..much love to you xxx

    1. Hello, hello, hello Jane,

      I’ve been keeping track of your blog posts as you know. No worries, you settle down and we’ll see you around my blog when all is in hand.

      Here is hoping and wishing you all the best of luck and outcome with that telephone test/interview.

      Luv and peace for my buddy, Eric 🙂

    1. To be honest Granbee,

      After a 3 month hunt, I was so desperate for a job I probably wasn’t thinking straight.

      Glad the employers saw it as positive and not anything less.

      Peace, Eric

  2. I recalled that when I was fresh out of school, it was almost four months before I landed a permanent job. I wanted a job and it must be in town – the happening place. Those days we receive a letter inviting us for the interview. The job is quasi government, but who cares, it’s in town. Several applicants were interviewed simultaneously. There were three interviewers taking turns to ask questions. When the interviewers asked who wants a front line job and who prefers the back desk, all the applicants went for back desk. I don’t know why I was so bold then. I could not wait for my turn and quickly offered to be in front line. Next thing I know they called the department manager immediately who brought me to my work place. I started work on the same day.
    I’m all cheers for those who shows great enthusiasm. One month too early – you stood out and that’s what is impressive.

    1. From what I understand the front desk meant interacting with customers who might not always be reasonable. You got the job and started work on the very day – Wow! That is something.

  3. Eric, it’s funny how much I was cheering for you even though I know things have turned out in an incredibly inspirational way =) Great story =)

    1. Thank you Que.
      We all tend to root for the underdog – and feel great when that person prevails. It is our humanity coming to the fore, I reckon.
      All good wishes, Eric

  4. You see Eric, you were earmarked as a ‘go-getter’ right from the start and got their attention! LOL There’s always a silver lining…LOL!

    1. Well Jeannie,
      One thing is for sure – they remembered me alright and I reckon that gave me an advantage over the other candidates. I got the job with 5 others although I was the youngest and least qualified.
      Great story now but back then, I was somewhat anxious of the first impression made.
      Cheers, Eric

    1. I like to think the interviewers focused on the calibre of the candidate rather than frivolous stuff.

      I’ve heard horror stories where interviewees in another company were asked – So how many steps did you climb to get to this floor?
      Apparently, those who did not get it right were deemed ‘not attentive’ enough…
      Oh well…

  5. In the US we have a saying, “the early bird gets the worm”, I don’t know if we have one that covers the early season!

    Sounds like they made a great hire!

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