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Life in retirement: Not missing the seriousness of a career

I don’t take myself very seriously, as you can probably tell by now if you have been following along with this column.

I don’t take myself very seriously, as you can probably tell by now if you have been following along with this column.

But I take my work seriously. I still spend a long time reflecting on my choice of words as I write, trying to carve out just the right phrase in the shortest amount of words. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve missed a deadline over the past 40 years, and they were always a result of something serious that had pulled me off-task. (Well, almost always – there was that one time that I simply thought the assignment was stupid and I just sort of tried to ignore it.) I don’t miss the intensity of that level of commitment. Thinking back, way back, the most intense projects of all were THE JOB INTERVIEWS.

Right after college, when I was still living in Calgary, I once arrived at a job interview downtown incredibly late and frazzled and lost (which is still a frequent occurrence). By the time I found and paid for parking, shot down the street to the building, ducked into the elevator and got through the door, I realized I had arrived with absolutely nothing in my hands. No resume or list of references, no portfolio examples of my work. Not even a purse to dig around in for a brush to try and tame my hair. I was looking down, dumbfounded, at my wide apart empty hands, and then looked up to find the people who were waiting to interview me just standing there staring. Not knowing what else to do, I sort of lightly clapped my empty hands together. Unbelievably, they all began lightly clapping, too! After the interview, which if memory serves me correctly continued to get more and more strange, I was actually offered the job. And I actually declined it!

I know people who had arrived to interviews with mismatched shoes, or who looked in the mirror AFTER the interview to discover a green bean wedged between their front teeth. (little dental note to self: always brush before a big event, even if it falls outside the twice-a-day suggested routine!) One old friend was walking back to her car after an interview and all the cars going by were honking and people inside them were waving. She waved back, thinking that there were sure a lot of friendly people out that day, until she went to duck into her car and realized they were trying to point out that her skirt was tucked up into her pantyhose in the back.

The clincher, though, was my brother’s friend who, a very long time ago, entered the interview room and went to sit down on the rolling office chair. It proceeded to roll right out from under him! As he dropped to the floor, his hand knocked a pile of folders off the corner of the desk. He came to rest, dazed and embarrassed, flat on the floor with sheaves of papers scattered all around. He looked up sheepishly and said, ‘How do you like me so far?’ He’s enjoyed many decades of professional success since then, but those rocky beginnings of a career can become stuff of legend.

Sandy Bexon is stepping into retirement after over 35 years as a communications professional, reporter and writer. She lives in Red Deer.

Byron Hackett

About the Author: Byron Hackett

Byron has been the sports reporter at the advocate since December of 2016. He likes to spend his time in cold hockey arenas accompanied by luke warm, watered down coffee.
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