There are times when it’s hard not to feel a shade inadequate as a human being, such as getting stressed out over a job interview, then reading Band of Brothers and thinking about the stress involved in liberating German-occupied Europe. Still, there it is – it’s all relative, I suppose, and I dare say Eisenhower wouldn’t have found it so easy to answer a question about the provision of archives in Scotland, come to that.
The interview I attended was in Edinburgh, where the Scottish Council on Archives are setting up a small team to evaluate, advocate and celebrate the work of record offices north of the border. As soon as I saw the advert I knew it had the potential to be my dream job; and the timing couldn’t have been better, given that I was going to be out of a job come March. All I had to do was persuade the panel I was the best person for the job.
Truth be told, it wasn’t an auspicious beginning. First of all, I went to the wrong entrance. Then, when I found the right one, I discovered they were running 20 minutes late as they’d squeezed an extra candidate in before me. So I hung around in the incredibly hot reception area of the National Archives, watching a damp patch spread across the front of my shirt like blood on an actor in a Tarantino movie, and trying to keep my spirits up in the face of some light-hearted banter from the receptionist (“If I was you I’d be tempted to tell them where they could shove their job”). At last I was summoned to the interview by a very nice man who ran – ran, I tell you – up the three flights of stairs, while I wheezed along in his wake with my luggage, sounding like Darth Vader on an exercise bike after one too many cigarettes.
After taking some oxygen I was ready for my presentation. Looking at the jumble of letters on the screen like a child’s alphabet I now discovered that their laptop couldn’t display my formatting; then it crashed (not once, but 3 times). It was about then I started to get the feeling, kind of, I don’t know, as though it wasn’t going to be my day. (It’s also the only interview when I’ve actually been rebuked by one of the interview panel for the way I answered a question!)
Imagine then my surprise – and delight – when the phone rang the next day and they offered me the job (which I gratefully accepted, naturally). All the details still have to be sorted out – and my inner Eeyore isn’t taking anything for granted till they offer me a contract to sign – but it still feels like a dream job. It’s only for two years in the first instance, but right now two years feels like forever.
All of which goes some way to explain the lack of progress this week, as I spent the next few days staying with a friend in Southport, recuperating and can’t-quite-believe-my-luck-ing. I’m still on track to finish the gansey around Christmas, after which I have to decide: what to do next? I was going to do the classic Henry Freeman of Whitby pattern (a Google image search will give you the iconic image) but maybe I should start thinking about Scottish patterns now…
Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous 2009.