A Curious situation

It was early September 2009 and I’d been working at Curious Group for almost a month when I got an unexpected call on a Saturday evening from Robert, the technical director. He asked if I could make an “off-site company meeting” the following afternoon and, although his demeanour was as cheerful as ever, he made it obvious that it was very important that I should attend. Without hesitation I said I’d see him the following day at the chosen venue, a bar called Home in Glasgow’s Merchant City, and the brief call came to an end.

My mind began running through all the possible scenarios that would require me to attend an off-site meeting on a weekend after less than a month with the company. The knot of tension in the pit of my stomach grew tighter as the results came in. None of the outcomes had an especially rosy outcome.

From the day I started, I’d been tasked with learning a handful of object-oriented programming patterns. It had been educational, sure, but it wasn’t exactly productive and maybe I wasn’t delivering on the promise I’d shown in my interview. The fact was I really needed the job and there’d already been a process snafu that meant I had been paid a week late. That had stretched my scant resources pretty thin, so redundancy without notice would leave me in a perilous position. I swallowed hard at the prospect of having the rug pulled from underneath me when tomorrow came.

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A Curious interview

In late-July 2009, when I was doing freelance work to pay the bills, a recruiter approached me about a job opening at the Glasgow based agency-of-all-things, Curious Group. I’d long admired the work of Curious’ from afar, having browsed their website showcase even before I moved back up from Liverpool in 2008, so I was excited about the opportunity.

However, when I saw the job spec I swallowed hard. Six years in the sheltered safety of Sony, followed by a gruelling year churning out Python for the purpose of content migration had left me a little rusty as a web developer. More rust, in fact, than I could shake off in the month of PHP and simple front-end work that the freelance project had me doing. But still, I decided I would just be honest in the interview and show a willingness to learn whatever was required should the job come my way.

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Adding injury to injury

On the evening of February the 21st this year I suffered the misfortune of splitting my left elbow open whilst attempting a skateboarding trick. It stung at the time and, once my pads were off, I was horrified to see a gaping cut at my elbow joint.

Whenever I get hurt, I don’t really get fixated on the pain in the moment unless it’s excruciating. Usually my mind projects ahead, thinking about the near term impact the injury will have and I immediately begin working out when I can expect to recover. A couple of years back I had to make a calculated bail whilst skating in the same pool at the skatepark, landing awkwardly on my right heel (in a pair of Vans I never skated in again) and right from the moment of impact I thought; “Damn it! That’ll be two weeks at least.” I was wrong, it was closer to a month before I could walk properly on it again, but the instant self assessment is something of a gut reaction regardless of the accuracy.

When I saw my split elbow in the mirror and then the reaction of the guys at the reception in the skatepark as I was patched up, I tentatively figured I’d be out for two or three weeks at best whilst my body repaired itself. Unfortunately, a¬†week later my arm had become painfully swollen and I was put on an emergency course of antibiotics, double the normal dose, to help fight off the aggressive infection that had taken hold.

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