Two Hours Late

 

I once showed up two hours late for a job interview. 

I had woken up early, gotten ready, then left early for the interview which was about 75 minutes from my house. I had planned on being there 20 minutes early. 

During my drive, there was a right turn that should have occurred. It didn’t. 

By the time I recognized where I was, I was still about an hour away, with the interview scheduled to begin in 40 minutes. 

I called the office to let them know of my plight. They told me it was OK, and not to rush. 

As I found my way to a road I recognized, I glanced down and noticed the orange light  on, indicating that I was nearly out of gas. 

I again called the office to let them know I was extremely lost, extremely late, and extremely frustrated with my car, but I did not let them in on my actual frustration. 

As I pulled into a gas station, I called my wife. I relayed the events of the morning, and how I was going to be two hours late. I told her I was going to just turn around and drive home. I had taken the day off from work, and could easily salvage the afternoon if I just went back home. I was going to quit. 

She said she didn’t think it was a good idea. “Just go,” she said. 

I relented and finally arrived around 11:00am for my 9:00am interview. 

As I entered the office, I apologized and was told that someone would be with me shortly. I waited about a half hour, as the interviewers rearranged their lunch and schedule to accommodate me. 

When I was finally called into the conference room, I knew that it must be out of pity, and that I didn’t have a shot at actually landing the job. 

At that point, I didn’t even care anyway. But I didn’t let on. I walked into that interview with nothing to lose. I spoke from the heart, and ignored some of my canned responses. I gave everything that I had during the interview, and walked out of there feeling relieved. At least the interview was over, and it was a learning experience. 

I was shocked the next day when I received a call inviting me back for a second interview. I went to that interview with a renewed confidence. I found my way to the district office without any issues. I arrived early. 

I again spoke from the heart. I showed them why I was the best candidate. I left feeling confident about my prospects. I knew I had a good shot at the position, but decided that I would not be upset if I didn’t get it. I knew that I had left everything on the table. 

If it wasn’t me, then I would eventually find something that was a better fit. 

Later that afternoon, the phone rang. I was offered the position, my first administrative position. I was happy, but again felt more relieved than anything. 

After I was officially board approved and hired, I asked one of the interviewers what he thought of me being two hours late. 

He told me that he was shocked that I was so calm and collected when I walked in. I thanked him for the 30 minutes that I had to sit once I finally arrived. It had helped to calm my nerves before I walked in the door. 

I still laugh anytime I tell anyone about the time I was two hours late for an interview, and still hired. 

 

The lesson: 

Don’t ever take anything for granted. 

Don’t ever count yourself out. 

Even when all appears lost, you still need to show up. 

 

Rich (@RACzyz) 

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