Last month I watched my long-serving Honda Jazz leave from outside my house, almost fourteen and a half years after I’d driven it out of the showroom in Liverpool, bound for the scrap yard.
As the scrap merchant prepared it for departure, putting jump leads on the battery to give it some life, I busied myself clearing out the contents of the car, with Fliss coming over to help scramble items into either a bag of stuff to keep or one for the bin. With so many family memories centred around the car, I couldn’t help but feel sentimental at the finality of the moment.
A few months before when its MOT had been due I didn’t think it was worth the money to get it through and, when the due date passed, I declared it “off-road.” Feeling that it had had enough money spent on it over the years – from a couple of pricey low-speed bumps in its early years to a brutal £700 bill to replace a failed door deadlock and the exhaust, I decided that it was now in the state that it wasn’t a worthwhile investment to keep it on the road.
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.
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.