Job applications, cars and bikes

VW Taigo … fun to drive for four hours at least

This has been something of a tricky week, Monday especially.

But today I got to drive a new car for four hours while mine was being fixed (for the second time in a week), a kind man fixed my bike wheel, and I got the good news that I wasn’t being offered a new job.

It has now been 76 days since I was made redundant. I have applied for over 40 jobs and had only three interviews—where are all the Scrum Master jobs just now?! There seems to be a dearth of agile roles, or they are adapting into delivery manager roles or something SAFe related. A few years ago I got three job offers in as many days; so far I’ve been offered only three interviews—I heard nothing from the first two, and the third gave me a firm no today, which was a bit of a relief to be honest.

So, Monday kicked off with an interview.

Interview

The job was for an agile delivery manager role in a very large company.

The advert clearly stated “remote”, but the interview material downgrated this to “hybrid”, and at the interview when they discovered that I lived on the east coast of Scotland they gasped, “You do realise that you would be required to come into our Westminster (London) office for two days every week, don’t you?!”

“Erm… no. The advert said remote.”

“No, I’m pretty sure there would be our standard statement in the job description about being required to work in the office for 40% of the time. Everyone else here lives in London.”

There wasn’t. I checked. Not really off to a good start.

I think, to be honest, I emotionally checked out of the interview at that point—I’m absolutely not going to move to London, away from my children.

I maybe should just have said something at that point and actually checked out of the interview. But I didn’t, I stayed and things got worse.

There was a big emphasis on the importance of psychological safety in the teams, while I felt I was being subjected to a ‘nice and nasty’ interrogation by the interviewers. I didn’t feel safe answering any of the questions. I was talked over, interrupted and challenged on just about everything. “Come on! We’ve only got 25 minutes left in this interview!”

Well, if you don’t have enough time, schedule longer interviews or ask fewer questions?

I felt rattled and disappointed at the end of the interview process.

I have been an interviewer for more than 80 web and development job interviews over the years. I sincerely hope I never left a single interviewee feeling half as bad as I felt at the end of that.

I am a firm believer in interviews being a two-way process: am I right for them, are they right for me?

Thankfully, I heard today that they don’t want to hire me.

Lessons learned. More on.

The exploding bicycle

I’m pretty sure that tear in the tyre wall isn’t meant to be there

At Monday lunchtime, still feeling rattled, I decided to clear my head with a gentle 10 km bike ride.

I got as far as 2.5 km when my rear tyre rather dramatically and loudly exploded. I always carry a couple of spare inner tubes, a puncture repair kit and a mini tyre pump. But this time the tyre was ripped open by the force of the explosion.

It felt like a long walk back along the main road, pushing my bike in the 21°C heat.

Shout out to the kind gentleman who asked me what my plan was to fix the wheel and offered me a puncture repair kit from the back of his car.

Another shout out to Spokes of St Andrews who quickly and ably replaced the exploded tyre and inner tube this morning for a reasonable £42.48.

The babelfish car light

Surely things can’t get any worse, I thought. But don’t these things happen in threes?

On Monday afternoon, I jumped into the car to fetch Reuben, Joshua and Isaac from school when an engine warning light refused to go off after the initial power-on self tests.

It was this amber light, the one that looks like the Babelfish wearing a helicopter hat:

Babelfish or engine warning light?

The user manual suggested this was something to do with the exhaust system and that I should consult page 151.

Page 151 seemed to have nothing to do with the exhaust system, so instead I consulted my local Volkswagen garage who advised me to book it in.

I got the car back this afternoon after an enjoyable four hours with a VW Taigo loan car.

My car just needed a J179 Glow Plug Relay Control Unit at a cool £118.50. Plus investigation and labour … £331.20.

<Gulp!>

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Former Scrum master at Safeguard Global, Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

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