Traffic, Control, and Nothing Else

In December of 2020, I received a call from a woman named Rebecca. I’d applied for a job at her company – a Communications and Marketing Assistant role. Truthfully, I’d applied for so many jobs in the previous weeks that I couldn’t remember what this company was or why I thought I’d be a good fit. Regardless, apparently my resume was good enough to score me an interview two days later.

My call with Rebecca was a brief but friendly exchange. She gave me some advice on the appropriate attire, parking arrangements, and a brief rundown of the company and her position within it. Rebecca was the Marketing Manager, and should my interview be successful, I’d be working in a small team with her.

Another important fact to note about me is that I have anxiety, which among other things, means that I’m a stress head. I spent hours that day researching the company, looking at their social media profiles, websites, YouTube videos, trying desperately to understand everything about them. The night before my interview, I checked the traffic for the next morning, finding out the travel time between my house and the company would be one hour and fifteen minutes. My interview was at 10am, meaning that I would luckily miss peak-hour traffic and my trip would be pretty smooth.

As you’d expect, nothing is ever as easy as you’d hope.

I left my home in Wollongong at around 8:10, giving myself more than half an hour leeway to allow for traffic, crashes, coffee pitstops and the like. As I pulled onto Mount Ousley, Google Maps leading the way, my Google Assistant piped up.

There’s been an accident on your route causing a 40 minute delay.”

Fuck.

Needless to say, I cried. I remember blinking rapidly, trying to clear my vision so I could drive down Picton Road without the worry of crashing. What a horrible first impression that would be, getting into a car accident on the way to an interview. I called my boyfriend and cried to him, cutting in and out of reception down Picton Road (which caused me to cry even harder). He assured me that Google Maps always overestimates the time it will take to arrive, which did little to settle my nerves as we all know it’s the exact opposite.

Skip forward to 9:45am. I’m still very much on the road, my maps showing that I’m 27 minutes away from my destination. My heart ached, my throat was sore, and I could feel a headache coming on. Not only do I have anxiety, but I’m also one of those lucky folks who get crippling headaches from stress.

I remember playing music through my car, blasting it as loudly as possible, singing (sputtering?) the lyrics while trying to hold back tears. My partner, parents, and close friends can attest to this – when I get stressed, I’m a mess. They think it’s awful to witness, but I assure you it’s worse to feel it.

See, on paper, this interview is just that: an interview. Whether I got it or not, I’d be no worse off than I was a week ago. But that’s not how it felt. For me, this was an escape from the horrible job I’d been working since I was thirteen. This was an opportunity for growth, allowing me to be in a secure job before I even graduated. It was a shot at independence – this would be my first paid job which my mum had no part in helping me get. Sure, I’d had other interviews in the previous weeks and months, but this one just felt different.

9:55am. 22 minutes away.

I pulled the car over on a random side street. I grabbed my phone, frantically searching through my call history for the number. I clicked the green phone icon, waited for the ringing to click through to my car, and then I drove off again.

Hello, this is Rebecca speaking.

Hi Rebecca! This is Dayle… Dayle Beazley. I’m supposed to have an interview with you in ten minutes, but there was an accident on the highway and I’m going to be about ten minutes late. I’m so so sorry, I’m so sorry. I’ll be there as soon as I can.

She laughed. That’s okay! It happens. Take your time, be safe. We’ll see you soon.

Oh my God, thank you. Again, I’m so sorry. I’ll be there soon!

See you then. She pulled away from the phone a little, hanging up. Before the phone clicked: Aw, the poor thing—.

Skip forward a month to January 14th.

My first day as a Communications and Marketing Assistant at Trafalgar Group, working directly under Rebecca. Bec.

I work 9-5, but I make sure to show up extra early, pulling up in the car park at 8:30am. I joked to Rebecca about this, saying what a horrible first impression I made. She assured me that it was quite the opposite, saying it was a great way to see how I cope in the face of adversity.

I’ve been with Trafalgar Group for almost eight months now, starting off as a casual Communications and Marketing Assistant two days a week, and now I’m a full time Marketing Coordinator.

Looking back, this experience weighed on me so heavily. I felt embarrassed that this had happened; that something happened that I couldn’t control. In reality, most of life is out of our control, and yet I’m realising now, control is something which I value deeply. These feelings I described earlier are things I’ve felt in a lot of instances in my life, and reflecting upon those times, it’s when I’ve lost control of the situation. When I had lost control, it highlighted how important that control truly was to me.

References:

Carey, M., Walther, S. and Russell, S 2009, The Absent but Implicit: A Map to Support Therapeutic Enquiry, Family Process, 48(3), pp.319–331.

Russell, S. and Carey, M. (n.d.). Remembering: responding to commonly asked questions. The International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work., (3).

Published by daylebeazley

Writer. Editor. Student. Creative.

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