When I was a young game designer wannabe living in St Andrews, I interviewed with a company in Manchester. For years, this was my biggest travel time:interview time ratio in that I got up shortly before 6, took a taxi, train and different train to get there by 1, had a 15 minute interview and then took two trains and a bus to get home by 11pm 1.
Now, the ratio is still unbeaten (31:1) but I have now definitely overtaken the basic numbers. I've recently travelled to Berlin twice to interview with Nokia's Ovi offices. I have since come to the conclusion that there is some mysterious force at work who really doesn't like me travelling through Schiphol. Note: I don't mean an omniscient being, I mean some actual arch enemy.
Leaving on a Tuesday afternoon, I jumped on a plane at Edinburgh Airport to Amsterdam Schiphol then changed onto a plane to Berlin Tegel. I eventually arrived at my hotel in Berlin around 11pm. After checking in, hanging up my interview shirt and scrubbing my face to get rid of the sheen of fellow air passengers, it was after midnight. Not the best prep for a full day of interviews, to be honest. The next morning, I got up, tried to partake of a German breakfast of rye bread and wurst, settled for a croissant and coffee and headed out into the -10°C weather. I won't go into the details of the interview process but by the end of the day, I'd been interviewed by 8 different people, drunk two pots of coffee myself and been told that I don't look particularly German. Not being German, I thought this statement was accurate.
I left the office, caught a taxi back to the airport and relaxed safe in the knowledge that I'd be back in Edinburgh in a few hours. An incorrect assumption, it would seem.
I arrived in plenty time to double-check the flights were all okay. There was even a flight to Schiphol before mine that some passengers were offered the chance to catch. I was relaxed, it was fine, I wasn't in a hurry, I'll catch the next one. Several hours later, I regretted that decision. The second flight was held in Schiphol before coming to Tegel due to broken air conditioning. By the time it had landed, turned round and let us board, I should have already been half way to Edinburgh and had missed the last connection. Boo.
One over night in a hotel later, I finally made it back to Edinburgh at 8am. Approximately 40 hours after I left. About 5.7:1.
When it came to my second round of face-to-face interviews, I wasn't lucky enough to get an overnight stay, unfortunately. I had to get to Berlin and back in a day. The 2.45am start would have been bad enough under any circumstances but when you have a teething 5-month old and have generally been running on empty for the best part of 2 months, it very nearly killed me. Still...
Edinburgh to Schiphol â�� fine; Schiphol to Tegel â�� also fine. I arrived at the office only 3 minutes late for my 12 oâ��clock interview which isn't too bad after travelling about 800miles. Three hours of geek talk later, I'm back in the taxi on the way to Tegel, snapping photos out the taxi windows just to prove I was there. This time there's no delay at Tegel and I land in Amsterdam with about 2 hours to make it to my gate. I'm not exactly a relaxed traveller so I'm not the kind who can go via the airport pub, have a sit-down meal and casually meander to the gate in time to board. I'm more inclined to high-speed sprints and panicked departure board-scanning just to make sure I get to the gate several hours early so I can sit and do nothing. That's exactly what I did. I got to the gate in plenty of time to see the â��Flight delayedâ�� ticker come up. Plenty of time to watch the â��Estimated Departureâ�� go from 21:00 to 22:00 to 23:00 to 00:00. It was when it flashed â��00:30â�� it finally decided to stop.
I made it back to Edinburgh around 1am and got back to my house around 2.30am. Just in time to pick up Oskar as another night of painful teething screams started off, in fact. 7:1, this time.