Sunday, 22 May 2011


Oh no, I forgot to write yesterday! I could backdate this to make it appear as though it had been published yesterday, but that's a bit Stalinist.

I did postpone my tax exam in pretty much the day after my last post and I think my decision will be vindicated. I have freed my time up to focus solely on applications.

Had a Big Four middle-stage interview up in Crawley on Tuesday, which I feel went fairly well, but I won't guess the outcome. It's the sort of performance I might have been very proud of two months ago. But I have since learnt that 'how you felt about it' and 'whether you enjoyed it or not' sometimes bear little relation to how well you actually did - for they can only judge you by the competencies they are looking for. Naturally I hope I do get invited to the final round - any reservations I had about that firm or that office were dispelled on visit. They haven't got back to me yet but I shall pester them if I don't have a result by end Monday.

However, still more important is the final round Big Four interview at St Albans this coming Wednesday. I shall be my usual calm self I'm sure, but this is the first final round interview I've ever had and my life will be completely transformed if I get into this firm.

I also have a first-stage telephone interview with another firm - the date for that needs to be booked. Currently the only date available would clash with my St Albans interview.

(Also there's the group interview on 13 June for yet another firm, althoguh that feels too distant to be real yet.)

I have a nasty habit of fitting my life activities around familiar historical narratives. For instance, take my driving tests. Attempt 1 was akin to Labour in 1987 - never really had a realistic chance. Attempt 2 was akin to Labour in 1992 - better performance but undermined by its own triumphalisn. Attempt 3 was akin to 1997 - very cautious, but a caution fuelled by confidence; the fact that this time it might just actually happen, if only because the memory of Attempt 2 still haunted me, and that the prospect of an Attempt 4 haunts me all the more.

To some extent I have been doing this during my applications as well, although I've been interpreting it as more of a trench war than an election, because the fighting is so continous and grinding. Yet even when victory seems so close at hand I can't lay down my arms till the enemy surrenders. One might call my final interview invitation (and my qualificaiton for the Recruitment Register) akin to the Americans stepping out of neutrality, or my decision to study for the CFAB akin to introducing the tank into the battelfield.

Obviously all this is just a sort of Barnum Effect

However, I certainly have a good chance of getting this offer. If I don't, I'll keep fighting through 1919, 1920... but I feel the end is in sight. If it isn't I'll have to disappoint a lot of people (not least myself), as from the very beginning I anticipated that June/July/August would be three months of bliss, the last days of an earned freedom. And if this Wednesday interview is unsuccesful I think there's still a good chance of getting an offer in June (the three other applications I have in progress are unlikely to take more than the month to resolve).

However I am comforted as always by the fact that whenever I have worked hard for soemthing in the past I have achieved it. Moreover, 'fate' does not care that it is me who is taking the interview. In a sense, nor does my prospective employer. What might seem like a momentous occasion for me is for them just another recruitment decision and none of the subtle 'destinies' I have imagined for myself, positive or negative, come into play at all. If I meet their relevant competencies and the interviewer thinks I'm the sort of person he/they could work with, I get the job. If not, I don't. Fundamentally it's little more than that, and overcomplicating the situation with fretting, analysis, last-minute worrying etc is the surefire way to fail as one loses sight of the bigger picture

In other news, finished American Notes. I've read three Dickens books now (Christmas Carol, Great Expecatations being the other two) and I must say I haven't been able to enjoy his style. I shall remain open-minded though and read another at some point

Also last night I watched The Wave, a 2008 German film about a school social experiment with 'autocracy' that goes horribly wrong. I enjoyed the film but it was pretty unconvincing. The main thrust of the film was that even if a society believes it has gone beyond the 'stage' in which people are susceptible to totalitarianism, the whole thing is packed into one week at a school. One week! And the ending? I won't go into any more detail in case you want to watch it, but I must say I am not able to enjoy unconvincing plots, which on the one hand claim to be examining something critical to human nature but on the other hand use decidedly unnatural and exaggerated interpretations of human nature in order to do it.

It was my birthday on Friday. 22 has been a great year - I finally feel that I'm taking my life seriously and actively getting the things I want to do done rather than just sitting back and waiting. However 23 passed with no major celebration. I met my friends on the Thursday and was going to have a family celebration on Saturday, but given my upcoming interview I thought it best to postpone any celebration to a date when I have something worth celebrating.

And you shall know on the 31st whether I have.

Or the 1st, if I post a day late again

Or before the 31st, if I am in regular correspondence with you. In that case I shall rpobably let you know immediately. Save twenty minutes or so in which I vow not to tell a single soul the result. I shall enjoy or commiserate by myself for those minutes.

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