I have mentioned before that I fell into my present career by accident. It is fair to say that I was not exactly a catch when it came to the graduate recruitment process. In fact, I went out of my way to discourage people from employing me.
At the time, I was determined that I wanted a career in retail management, despite the number of people who felt that I was entirely unsuited to it. All of my job applications were therefore for places on the graduate recruitment schemes of various high street stores or – for some reason – banks. I actually wasn’t bad at getting interviews, it was the interviews themselves that I kept making a mess of.
The first one was, I think, with Debenhams. I know for sure that I set an immediate bad impression by showing up in a light grey suit, looking for all the world like an uglier, scruffier, speccier version of Don Johnson.
Then there was the interview with Dixons which I wrecked by insisting that employees should have a second chance before being sacked for stealing from the company, the one with Sainsbury’s where I spent most of the time complaining about the places I had worked before, and the Royal Bank of Scotland one where I went completely the other way and was rejected for being too timid (remarkably, that was a second interview. I still have no idea what I did right at the first one).
In fact, the more I think about it, the more surprised I am that I have had a career at all.