This week I took some brave steps towards what I hope will be a new career; well, a two to three month contract for starters and we’ll see where it goes from there. I’m punching above my weight and going for something I haven’t done before, but I pretty sure I could do it if given a chance. Normally I wouldn’t be this confident about putting myself out there but I’ve been pushed by a couple of outside influences into taking a chance on myself.

My first influence is this Ten Year Self Improvement Challenge set up by Mark Watson, a comedian from my home town of Bristol. Upon turning thirty and becoming a father, Mark decided he’d better get his act together (not his comedy act, that as far as I know is fine) and set himself some goals. One of those goals was to change his usual pessimistic mind-set and become more optimistic: A pretty good challenge I thought, and I took it upon myself to be more optimistic too. My more tangible TYSIC was to write more, which is why I created this blog, and to get a good job that I enjoy and by the end of the ten years to be able to be in a position to give up work. Well I will be 45 this year and I think 55 is a pretty good age to retire. Taking on board Mark’s optimism I have applied for lots of jobs, averaging one a day for the past couple of weeks, but so far I’ve had no bites. No matter: I have still have optimism!

Now let me backtrack a little. Before my position was made redundant at the end of January, the company I worked for held a workshop on how to find work, one of the things they said was that a lot of jobs are found through people you know, or people who know the people you know. You just have to tell everyone, “hey, I’m available for work” and the more people who know, the better, it’s a numbers game.

Well, this is where the other outside influence comes in, because someone I hardly know, knew of a job and urged me to go for this job even though it’s a bit above what I’m used to. She saw potential in me that I didn’t see in myself. That bit of affirmation from her, combined with my new found optimism propelled me go for something I would have normally believed to be out of my reach.

So, back to this week, the job is through an agency so that was my first hurdle. A couple of nights ago I filled out three email forms and completed four online tests, and today I went for the interview. The day in the middle I had to get my roots done: priorities!

It was difficult to sleep last night because of the fear of the unknown, I haven’t had to do an interview for years. But I really shouldn’t have worried because the day went brilliantly. I knew it was going to be a fun day when the bus driver asked if I was an adult fare! I just smiled and said yes. His eyesight can’t have been that bad as we got to the city without crashing and I arrived in plenty of time for my 11.00am interview. I even had time for a latte before going up to the office. As I sat drinking my latte I noticed the shop across the road, the shop’s number was on a particularly large white sign. The number on it was 101, which will mean a lot to Depeche Mode fans but bugger all to anyone else: it made me smile.

To put myself in a positive frame of mind I listened to Tim Minchin’s So F**king Rock on my iPod before going up to the interview – then I had to wait in the holding pen for half an hour. No matter! I still had optimism! And it stayed with me throughout the interview.

The interviewer was lovely and I must have made a good impression as she is going to strongly recommend me for the role. She could see in me what the other person saw in me. Something that I could not see in myself. I left the office feeling more positive than I have done for a very long time. I have a feeling that this is going to work out. I’m ignoring the little pessimistic voice that says I’m not ready for this, because I am ready for this! I’m like the little engine that could, I just have to keep saying “I think I can – I think I can”