Had an interview last night, the first one in over 30 years and the first one in my life via video conference.
In search of a new purpose I decided to put myself to stand as a councillor. Last night was the selection meeting to pick the candidate for a County Council elections scheduled for May.
The people who would make the decision were party members in the electoral division I was hoping to represent.
Preparing for the interview had been a good way of getting through the first week of lockdown 2. These months of Covid have convinced me that some part of my retirement life needs deadlines, competition, a certain amount of jeopardy!
I spent quite a few hours touring the area I’d be representing which I found fascinating. I like places – the different styles of housing, retail developments, industrial estates, parks, schools – all the components that help build a distinct community.
Although I’ve not had a job interview for decades I’m an old hand at pitching. As my business grew, highly competitive tender exercises followed by, sometimes very intense, presentations became the main way to win work.
I was able to call on that experience and quickly put together a five-minute speech, focused on my audience with a bit of creativity, summarising why I’d be a good councillor.
I then practised it three times via Zoom in front of the wife and kids. How I looked on screen, everything from the lighting to what shirt I was wearing, to trying to sit still on my swivel chair and not touch my face too much I took into account.
It was both a good thing and a bad thing to be able to see myself, something you get the chance to do in normal face-to-face presentations.
After all that practice which involved refining the presentation each time, it felt like all went well on the night.
The hard bit was the questions from a panel of voters. Despite the research I’d done my relative lack of knowledge of local issues, policies and the workings of a County Council had the potential to go against me. I did ok, I thought, but would do better with more experience.
Now it was decision time and myself and the other two candidates were put in the zoom ‘waiting room’ while the vote took place.
There was not too long to wait before we all reappeared and X Factor style the result was announced there and then and … I won!
That feeling of winning in a competitive situation was just great. All of life, whether you’re retired or not needs these moments for the ups – and, of course, downs – they bring. These moments focus the mind, make you work harder, get better whether you win or lose and, are for me, a part of what life is all about.
Me and Mrs Jones had a celebratory, unscheduled Wednesday night G & T and I thanked her and my kids for their help.
Now lie six months more purpose ahead as I work to win the seat and then potentially, if elected, four years after that working as a councillor.
I feel a little daunted at the thought, and it was not part of my initial retirement plan, but it feels good to have won this stage and it’s good to have a new focus for my future.