Wow! A lot has happened over the last few weeks!

13 February 2013

Back in February I have applied for a position of Data Manager with British Antarctic Survey. It was a long late night filling the application forms, making sure my CV is up to date, deciding on references (who can I ask can they be my reference at 3am)?… Full of hope and not expecting much I clicked “Submit”… and went to bed. This was actually the second time I’ve applied to BAS – the first time, in 2009 for the position of Wintering Communications Manager, was not successful.

Two full weeks later I got an email from BAS with an invitation to the interview! I booked the day off with my current employer, bought the flight tickets and waited patiently until the day — 16 of April.

16 April 2013

The night before the Interview I got my suit out of the wardrobe (I hate suits), practice how to tie the tie (I’m much better at tying a bowline or a clover hitch), ironed the shirt, polished the shoes… I was ready. The excitement was so huge, I could barely sleep that night. The day turned out to be brilliant and I enjoyed the whole experience immensely. The day’s events were as follows:

Wake up at 0500 in the morning, to drop the car to the Dublin Airport Car Park and to catch a flight to Stansted leaving at 0800. I then got on the train to Cambridge and arrived there around 1100, found a Cafe and spent some time there having my coffee and toast. My interview was set for the afternoon and I was to report to the main reception at 1415, so I had a few hours to burn. Sitting in the Cafe, I realised I’m feeling this funny sensation of excitement and nervousness that you feel when you know you are given a chance to do something that you’d love to do and that depends on how you perform next. Funny, I haven’t felt that in a while…

I’ve never been to Cambridge before. I hopped on the Uni bus from the train station to the BAS facilities which took me through the city centre and I remember thinking: “this is a nice place, I could happily live here for a while”!

I was a bit early in BAS and I spent my final hour before the interview in the canteen. Everyone was very friendly and made me feel welcome. I got some papers to fill and then I was lead into a room where the Selection Panel were already waiting for me.

I must say the conversation was very different to what I expected. It was in fact a conversation more than an interview in my view — very friendly, very informative and genuinely very pleasant. I was impressed! After the interview (which I’ve actually lost track of how long it took) I was lead to the First Aid station to have my medical. Another chance to talk to someone who has been to Antarctica before, and another very friendly person I met there.

We said our good-byes and I got the usual “we’ll be in touch” and headed back home.

Wow, what a day!

17 April – 30 April 2013

This was the hardest bit. I knew I must have done something right as I was invited to the Interview in the first place. I had a very good feeling after the Interview and I was full of hopes then. At the same time, I had this nagging feeling that the fact that I think the Interview went well, doesn’t mean there wasn’t someone else for whom the interview went even better, or that I was simply wrong!

I was waiting patiently the 10 days within which I was told I’ll get the answer… and nothing. The longer I waited, the more concerned I became that maybe the Interview didn’t go as well as I’d hoped… and I was preparing myself for the bad news. Finally, after two weeks from my visit there, I got an email from BAS:

(…) I am pleased to offer you the position of Data Manager based at Halley Research Station, Antarctica.

Let the fun begin!

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