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[For an audio version of this blog story click here.]

‘You can’t unring a bell.’

Of the many quips former Ireland men’s rugby coach, Eddie O’Sullivan, has uttered, that one regularly reverberates in my mind.

Making the bell toll for us while we still can

What’s rung is rung.

A different ball game
In more common parlance it’s expressed as, ‘what’s done, is done’. It can’t be undone. If it’s something that needs fixing, requires a remedy, this may be possible afterwards but we can’t go back in time and re-do the original action. The best we can do is try to learn from it and not make the same mistakes again.

Certain events, however, allow one shot only. Yes, similar situations may arise in the future where we can adopt a wiser approach based on experience but no two scenarios play out exactly the same.

Returning briefly to O’Sullivan and the Irish rugby team that he once coached, followers of the game are well aware of Ireland’s failure to make it to a World Cup semi-final after nine attempts.

In rugby’s professional era, from 1995 onwards, Team Ireland has by now pretty much achieved everything that can be achieved in the sport, except those significant shortcomings at World Cups. 2023 presents another opportunity to address this.

Of course, the personnel involved in each World Cup selection changes, as does the location and the makeup of the other competitors. A new bell is being rung each time, so to put it.

And so it is with every new challenge. None is exactly like another because there are so many variables at play.

‘That I have these uncomfortable dreams could be due to my largely stress-free, relaxed-paced life on Bogotá’s Mediocre Lane.’

Over the last four years, I’ve had, if I recall correctly, eight online job interviews. Three of those were for positions that I’m fairly certain I would have said yes to had I been the preferred candidate. Obviously enough, I wasn’t.

Naturally, I’ve done mental postmortems on each of them. One usually has a sense of where it goes wrong in such things, so this gets played over and over in the mind ahead of the next interview.

As somebody who prefers in-person meetings over online ones, being forced into the latter is a negative before a virtual ball is kicked. My job interview record suggests I have to be seen to be truly believed — or hired, at least!

‘It’s not us, it’s you’
My most recent interview gives a nice illustration of this. I had a technical problem that simply couldn’t happen in person: my laptop’s camera wouldn’t work when it had worked fine just moments before I connected to the “video” call.

As it transpired, I have it on good authority that this glitch had no bearing on the outcome. After all, the interview was for a job where it was much more about my voice, my current affairs/news sense and my ability to write news bulletins. How I looked was not of major importance.

That aside, I did have to write up and record a news bulletin against the clock. When my low-spec laptop has to multitask online, it often throws a tantrum. Its temperament on this occasion made an already stressful task somewhat more taxing than it needed to be.

This might sound like a not-very-skilled workman pointing his finger at the tools at his disposal, but it’s not. I’m just stating the facts, these aren’t excuses.

In any case, that I wasn’t offered the job may have as much to do with my distance from where the gig is based than my interview performance. I say this because I was told that if I happen to be in the city where the work is in the coming months, I should contact the interviewer for potential freelance opportunities.

As rejections go, this was one of the gentler ones I’ve received. Or could it be that the company in question is just being overly and unnecessarily nice?

Don’t dream it’s over
Whatever the real reasons are, I am left with the feeling that I didn’t give the best account of myself on the day. My performance could have been a few percentage points higher. The bell that I rang on this occasion just didn’t sound quite right for its target.

More specifically, the news task did remind me why I prefer interviewing and presenting programmes, i.e. a format that allows for some unscripted dissection of current affairs, to composing bulletins. Alas, such paid gigs are thin on the ground.

I still have the occasional nightmare of rushing from a radio newsroom to the studio for a live bulletin with just seconds remaining to broadcast time. Or, worse again, actually being in the studio with no news to read at all.

I’m fairly sure that second scenario never happened in reality. Well, not to the extent visualised in my nightmares. I did, though, have to make up the weather forecast once or twice. In Ireland, one is rarely wrong in prognosticating wind and rain.

That I have these uncomfortable dreams could be due to my largely stress-free, relaxed-paced life on Bogotá’s Mediocre Lane.

Time, perhaps, for some more daring bell ringing while I’m still in a position to do so. Better to have rung and lost than never have rung at all, right? And there’s no avoiding the eternal empty silence that awaits us all.
Listen to The Corrigan Cast podcast here.

Facebook: Wrong Way Corrigan — The Blog & IQuiz “The Bogotá Pub Quiz”.

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La vida en Colombia desde la perspectiva de un periodista y locutor irlandés, quien ha vivido en el país desde 2011. El blog explora temas sociales y culturales, interacción con los nativos, viajes, actualidades y mucho más. Escucha su podcast acá: https://anchor.fm/brendan-corrigan.

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