My very first job was working as a junior secretary in central London. I hated it. Then I was offered a job at small travel agency just up the road from my former employer. I was hired as a junior travel agent even though I had no experience in this field.
I felt like an outsider as soon as I started my new job. The travel agency had staff issues, I had very little training and I was left to my own devices which made me feel like a ‘fish out of water’. Shortly thereafter I left the agency and decided to become a temp for a while to build up my self-confidence in the travel industry. I was assigned to different agencies each week which gave me the opportunity to look for a place where I could work full time.
In the meantime I had an employment agency assisting me with my job search. One of the first interviews scheduled for me was with a large company that handled the travel arrangements for the ‘James Bond’ movies production company. I ended up cancelling the interview as I felt nervous about working at this company.
The next interview was with a much smaller agency and was conducted at a hotel in Mayfair directly opposite the former Thomas Cook travel company headquarters. This became significant when I was told where the job would be and that was in a small kiosk (booth) at the front of the hotel. Naturally I was concerned about its proximity to Thomas Cook directly across the street! I asked what would happen if this new ‘office’ of theirs failed and was told not to worry as I would be transferred to their main office not too far away. Feeling it would not work for me I turned down the job offer.
Then I was offered a three month temporary assignment at a travel agency directly across from New Scotland Yard in London. I accepted it and settled in very quickly. Much to my delight I was offered a permanent position there which I accepted. On my very first day as a full time employee it was announced that the company had been sold and a new manager was instated. Nobody was happy about it including me as the new manager was more aloof and did not connect very well with the staff. After a year or so the manager told me confidentially that he was leaving and asked if I would consider going with him as I was familiar with all of his accounts which were mainly in the entertainment business. So a few months later I accepted the job offer and moved to a new agency in the west end of London.
So here are the common denominators:
The first job interview I cancelled because I felt nervous about working there. I found out later that the company closed its doors due to financial issues. If I had gone to work there I would have lost my job however I would have met two of the agency’s ‘significant’ employees.
The second job I was offered and then declined (working in a kiosk opposite Thomas Cook) closed several months later. If I had taken the job I would have been transferred to their main office nearby where I would have met the same two ‘significant’ people who, unbeknown to the agency owners, were using it as a base to set up their own business. When their secret was discovered they were ousted before they had a financial backer in place.
The travel agency I followed my boss to in the west end of London was founded by the same two people I would have met at either of the jobs above. However I did not know that during the time I worked for them. When I first joined them they had just opened an office in Aberdeen that was to be managed by one of the two founders. Three years later the staff were informed of a new office soon to be opened in Texas. Shortly thereafter I was offered the opportunity to move to their brand new office in Houston on a two year contract. This was in 1980. My two year contract ended before the Houston office was closed down. Regardless of my change of circumstances I decided to stay here and make a new life for myself.
A few years later I felt that I was here for a reason. I started connecting the dots after going through an old journal where I made a discovery. The very first interview that I decided to cancel would have been conducted by one of the two founders of the agency I ended up working for in London! Each of the three job opportunities I was offered all connected to the same two people. The timing of all of it was not a coincidence. My move to Houston was meant to be!
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