Uplifting story, hopeful about the future and sort of appropriate today. Great story to finish the Change the Ending Collection. It's been so rewarding to re-read them, they are all engaging and accumulative, the power of public service shines through. Thanks everyone and to Graeme of course.
The Interview - Graeme McDonald
“Can I get you a drink?”
“No, this water is fine… Thank you.”
“OK, I'll let the panel know you've arrived.”
Not sure I can bear this… The waiting… thinking… sweating.
Right, pull yourself together. Focus. What did they say on the website? What are they looking for?
Demonstrate your ‘communication skills’. Written, fine, but I did struggle with presentations at school. How embarrassing! I wasn’t up for standing at the front, all the attention on me, trying to find the right words and not sound too different from the other kids. But my confidence grew, my English got better and while they might pick up a twang, I reckon I’m pretty confident in front of a crowd now.
But how do I show ‘enthusiasm for the subject’? Well, this gets to the heart of it. Politics is what got me here. Rooms full of blokes banging on about their philosophy, their ideolology, while the bombs drop outside never got my people anywhere. I want to break that cycle.
It also said to show I’ve worked ‘independently’. That made me chuckle. How about travelling across Europe in the back of a lorry? Now that’s independent travel! Still, I can’t say I was on my own once I’d met Cate. If it wasn’t for my social worker I’d probably still be camped in France, trying to jump on the next lorry. She was awesome, the first warm, friendly person I’d seen for months.
I remember Gaza felt so far away when I arrived, cold, wet and on my own. Not a great start for a 13-year-old, but was lucky. They might have been strangers, but they were there for me, supported me, trusted me. These people took me in and wanted nothing in return. A home, education, even a job this summer. I worked in IT. How funny – me in the IT crowd! I owe them stacks.
The heavy oak door swings open.
“Jalal, can you come through now please?”
Deep breath. Let’s go make those guys proud.
Graeme McDonald spent 15 years working in local government and is currently Director of SOLACE.