Commuting on a daily basis in Manila is a skill any Filipino ought to have. Heavy traffic is always expected. But there seems to be an extra level of pressure when you’re commuting on the day of a job interview.
The traffic going to Ayala Center was hellishly heavy for an evening commute from Rizal province. A typical morning ride with an “FX” van from Rizal to Makati City took two hours, and there didn’t seem to be any difference this time.
I felt relieved when the office building at 6750 Ayala Avenue was finally in sight as my commute turned right from EDSA. “Para po“, I told the driver. I then dashed toward the Glorietta pedestrian underpass, striding two steps at once going down and by twos again going up the other side. It was almost six in the evening, and my job interview was about to start.
It was probably the strangest of all my job interviews so far. Normally, job interviews occur in the morning. This one was set towards early evening in Manila. Maybe because the Company was based in Denmark? But then, it was a face-to-face interview….
“Hello, I am looking for Mr. M, is this the place?” I asked a couple of employees who I assumed to be from the Company I was going to be interviewed in. Their blank stares apparently meant they didn’t know the guy, and as it turns out, the entire floor didn’t necessarily mean it was leased under just one company! I never encountered “co-working spaces” up until this point!
One of them seemed to know, so I was led to another room on the other side of the building. I was beginning to sweat from the anxiety of not being able to find the interview room right away.
“You’re just in time, no worries”, Mr. M reassured me as we introduced ourselves. “Let’s begin the interview for the software developer position.”
And begin it did. The usual questions about my programming career were asked, like how long had I been dealing with Java, or how much of a frontend or backend developer I was. Or if I already had some prior knowledge of the Day CQ platform.
“Do you have any other questions?” Mr. M queried, indicating that the interview was about to conclude.
I always had to rack my brain for questions when this part of the interview was reached. But if there’s any question that I was always keen to ask, it’s something bike-related.
“Does our office have a shower facility? This is because I am planning to bike to work.” I asked him.
Mr. M paused for a moment, and then replied, “I do not know the answer to your question, but maybe our general manager, Mr. H, does. Would you want me to call him into our meeting room so you can ask him personally?”
I froze. I was already comfortable in the interview having to answer questions only from him. But to suddenly include, of all people, the general manager?! Before I could tell him that it wasn’t really absolutely necessary, he already went out of the room.
He returned a few short minutes later with another person, presumably the GM. “Here is our interviewee for tonight, and he has some questions that you might have the answers to.” he said, while introducing me to Mr. H. After the quick pleasantries, I once again asked my question.
“That’s a good question. We are moving in a few months to Ortigas Center in Pasig City, where our Manila headquarters will be operating. Currently it has no shower facility, but maybe we can accommodate your request. Would you want that?” Mr. H asked.
“YES!” I exclaimed with glee, trying to calm my overarching excitement on the spot. After all, I never got this kind of response from all other interviews when I asked this question! The others probably just said “no, we don’t have it” and proceeded with the rest of the interview. Who am I to say no to such an offer?
The interview ended on a happy note, and they said they will be updating me on the results of my application.
A few weeks went by, and the contract signing happened. Which of the two sealed the deal? Was it the kind of work that I was getting into, or was it the fact that the Company was open enough to provide for sufficient end-of-trip facilities like shower facilities for bike commuters?
I think it’s both. But with a sliiiightly bigger factor with the latter. 🚴🚴🚴