Currently I am at work. Seated at Desk 50 in an open-planned office. Around me are a Dell computer which I am typing on, connected to a LAN internet connection via ethernet, Siemens phone system to my right. First Aid at Work certificate is pinned on the partition / wall to my right with eleven of my favourite pictures from Hong Kong. When I am down I look at these pictures and they remind me of the great time I had in Hong Kong this March with mum, the people we met and some of the food we ate. Ok, enough of that. We know UK cannot beat HK in anything, but maybe the NHS and welfare system. Besides that, the UK has a lot to catch up on. Only last month did the Glasgow transport system introduce mobile phone signals in a selected few of the popular subway stations. A project that was introduced back in winter 2006! So right now, customers of the O2 network can send and receive mobile signals in five of the busiest subway stations dotted around Glasgow - Buchanan Street, St Enoch, Hillhead, Partick and Govan. It certainly is a cheer for some progress that we've finally made in the West. From as far as I remember, it had always been possible to make and receive calls whilst travelling on the MTR system (Hong Kong) or MRT system (Singapore). So why did we have to wait till now? And when can I, as a Vodafone customer share such privilege too? Ok, enough about that. Back to 'career'.
It's funny how a piece of writing can suddenly derail like that. One thought can indeed lead to another and so on and so forth. Not much has changed in this office since the first paragraph. The atmosphere is calmer than usual. There are people already on Christmas holidays so the people who are still working are bursting with the festive spirit. Yeah right! Lol! The office closes 1500hrs tomorrow. So it would feel like a half day for some people who finish at 1800hrs. I always finish at 1700hrs so will only benefit from the extra 2hrs at home. Still, it's better than nothing. Tesco Extra, the ones that opens 24hrs usually, will close at 1800hrs. So at least I'm not there. My career...yes. So right now in this HR company called Hewitt, I outsource my payroll and IT services to our client Marriott. That's all I want to say, or probably can say about it. Not sure where my limits are in disclosing stuff over the net. I have been here since October 2006 after being made redundant from Ford Customer Relations which was based in the City Centre. I praise God now this office is literally 10-minute walk from my house to the backdoor of this building. It is also just a 2-minute drive. Though I quite enjoy this job, I do not see myself here for long. In fact, I do not want to be here for long.
For many years I've been wanting to pursue the career of a driving instructor. My passion developed as I realised I enjoy driving, I like teaching people, I like leading people and I seem to have the patience for it too (so some people tell me). Is this patience from me? Or is it from the Holy Spirit? Either way, I am thankful to God for it :) For a few years this idea just sat in the background as I was a little apprehensive about taking the risk of paying for the expensive course. I thought of myself as being too young - most driving istructors are middle aged, most not all. And also I wanted to go travelling and see the world a bit before 'settling down' and becoming career-focussed. I have been to Toronto, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong again.
April this year I turned 25, a quarter of a Century. For me it was more than another birthday. I took time to assess where I am in life and where I want to be. I realised it was time for a change, a positive one. I decided to take the plunge and GO FOR IT! So I signed up to AA School of Motoring (as opposed to BSM - there are various reasons for this). And I began my training course, which is all done in my own time outwith my current full time job. I passed my advanced theory test on Thursday 7th August this year, which consisted of 100 multiple choice questions as opposed to standard theory test of 50 questions. I had to pass 80% of each of the four different categories in order to get an overall pass. I praise God for the first time pass.
As for my advanced driving test. Well, that has not been as smooth-sailing (or driving) as the above. The first attempt failed because of another driving who drove right to up my car whilst I was performing the reverse around left corner. We both sat stationary for about a minute (felt like the longest minute of my life!!) before he decided to pull out and overtake me. But because he did that he was on the opposite side of the road and that endangered his life, the examiner explained. Failed on that, with six minors ONLY. I am only allowed a maximum of six minor faults in the advanced test. The normal test will still pass you if you do not exceed fifteen.
The second test was called off because of a rear brakelight failure which was only discovered whilst the examiner asked me the standard safety questions like "where is your engine oil and how do you check it's level?" etc. Well he asked about my brake lights when we discovered one was blown. Safety concern. Test cancelled and rebooked.
The second attempt failed because I was overtaking a vehicle whilst entering a motor. I saw a sign ahead saying "Max Speed 50" so I capped my speed at 50mph to avoid getting a minor for speeding. The vehicle on the left lane was going about 45mph so I was not overtaking quick enough to get back in when a white transit van sped up to me on the right lane around 60mph or so and had to slow down, but still breathing down my neck. I was of no danger to him or anyone else. I did not pull out suddenly to make him stop. I was driving at 50mph according to what sign I saw. However, the examiner said because I stopped another vehicle from making progress, that is a fail, at this advanced leve. Sigh! But listen! (yes, there are always buts!) that guy was breaking the speed limit though!! Nope, still a major fault. Let others drive however they like, as long as you know the law and stick to it. Test rebooked.
Third test was my third (and last attempt). The Advanced test can only be attempted a maximum of three times and you have to take a two year break before you can resit everything again. So I hyped myself up to pass this time round. Got to the test centre in ample time. Sat down and was informed by the examiner (the same brake light and motorway incident guy) that the test had to be cancelled due to the amount of snow and ice around. They had hoped the sun would melt more snow away, but it did not happen by the 1030hrs. So off I went back into the car and drove to ASDA to go shopping with mum. I was quiet peed off really.
'So... what next?' I hear you ask. Well... the test... my FINAL attempt! is booked for the start of January. I feel I have maintained my high standard of driving whilst I wait for this date to surface. I have not told many people about the date because frankly I am sick of retelling all these reasons for the delay in my progress. Also I don't want so many eyes to be hopeful of me and how I do on the day only to let people down at the end. Yes, I know of the four reasons above, two of them were completely out of my control (brake light and ice). But it still contributes to the frustration and the 'shame' of failure.
Having said all that. I do feel God with me throughout this process. Before each of my tests, I pray and ask God not for a pass, but for the Holy Spirit to be with me, His peace in my heart. And that was what I got each time I entered and left the test centre. No doubt there were moments of sighing and questioning, that is human nature. But at the time there was calmness and certainty within, reminding me that God is good, that everything is in control. If anything, this long-winded process will help make me into a more patient person. Make me a better driver. Help me appreciate each step that I take towards achieving this goal of my life. When that day comes, it will be so much sweeter for me.