A Trainee Plumber, Some Guts and a Shiny New Van…

Posted by on Mar 7, 2011 in job search, Uncategorized | 4 comments

A Trainee Plumber, Some Guts and a Shiny New Van…

Looking for a job was taking its time for Michael,

But there was a turning point and it came in the shape of a shiny new van.

After his usual round of job and apprenticeship applications on the internet, Michael was on his way into town to meet with a recruitment agency when he saw a plumber’s van parked in the street.

He looked once because it was clean, then twice when he saw the contact number was local.

Fast forward just a few hours and Michael was standing in the reception of the same plumbing company. CV in hand, heart in mouth.

“Sorry. We’re not looking for anyone at the moment and we don’t take on trainees.”

The words rang in Michael’s ears on his slow walk home.

Fast forward a few weeks (a couple more van sightings and some fact-finding on the internet) and Michael was back in the same office, again with his CV.

“Maybe I can leave it here just in case?”

“You’re welcome to leave it but we’re not looking for anyone at the moment. Plus we’ve just taken on a new apprentice.”

How much harder could news like this blow.

A month went by,

But this month was different because Michael not only saw the same van, he also spoke with its driver.

Something this guy said (or maybe it was the way he said it) made Michael more determined than ever.

Another day, another visit to the office (maybe one or two visits have also gone by in-between)

By now the greetings are friendly…

“Back again Michael?”
“Not you again!” (but said with a smile)
“I was wondering when you’d be back”.

And then, on Michael’s next visit, a big turning point (to follow all the little turning points before it)

“The Apprentice we took on didn’t work out. Be here 8 o’clock Monday morning and we’ll give you a shot. Let’s see how good you are.”

And the title of this story? All it needed was the main ingredients,

A trainee plumber, some guts and a shiny new van.

fig 1. A shiny, new plumber’s van (incl. comedy number plate)
Image courtesy of sarflondondunc on Flickr.com

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  1. This is a great story! It says almost everything a person needs to know about job search. First…no isn’t always the end. Second…setting your mind to the task is a powerful ally. Third…job search can happen at any moment.

    Thanks you for sharing this, Paul. Inspiring!

  2. Thanks Ronnie 🙂

    It’s a brilliant story isn’t it. I did my best to do it justice but listening to Michael tell it (and seeing him work his way through it) was even better. From beginning to end he lived every moment, particularly after his chance encounter with this van – or ‘truck’ as you might say 😉

    When I think about Michael’s experiences now, I reckon it sells him short to compare them to climbing a mountain or the ups-and-downs of a roller-coaster ride (something I might have been quick to do in the past). No, this was a job search. Just another everyday, run-of-the-mill, unique, frustrating, boring, surprising, discovery-filled, energy-sapping, exhilarating, inspirational job search.

    I reckon they’re now a breed apart.

  3. Great story — reminds me of tweet 35 in my career advice book, Success Tweets…
    “Persistent people keep going; especially in the face of difficulties. Keep at it and you will accomplish your goals.”
    I am giving away free downloads of Success Tweets. Get yours at http://www.SuccessTweets.com

  4. Thanks Bud, I like your Tweet about persistence too!

    Michael’s story is great because he found something he really wanted and wouldn’t take ‘No’ for answer. I also like the fact that every time he showed up at this company, he gave them another reason to remember him and even admire him towards the end. Standing out from the crowd is one of the toughest things to do when you’re job searching, especially when you’re talking to companies who get applications and people dropping by all the time. Michael’s way of making himself stand out took a little time (a lot of patience & guts too) but it was genuine and it is something that anyone can do. The circumstances, the company, the people and (most importantly!) you, will all be different in your job search story but that’s what makes it unique. That’s how you and only you can stand out!

    All the best for now,



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