Up here on our small rock, we felt very removed from the headlines about Covid and the lockdown that followed. We are a remote, isolated community with one local shop for local people, with most locals not shopping there, but the below standard horrors and shenanigans of Eday shop will be reserved for another blog post.
Instead of the Psychometric test, the formal applications were being backed up by two written questions. These questions were: -
With my confidence resting on the Psychometric test result, it was a bit of blow having to craft the answers to 4 simple questions. Simple yes, and with a 500 word limit, it would be tough to pick out the best examples from a 40 year life into 500 words.
However, questions are part and parcel of the application process and penmanship is an activity I enjoy. My focus was to be as specific and detailed on relevant experiences.
I took a few days to mull over and scribe an outline, choosing the most impactful yet relatable experiences. The answers focused on past Maritime, military and aquaculture vocations, detailing the skills gained that I could bring to the table, as well as future aspirations for my journey within the RFA.
Proof read, spell checked and approved by the other half, satisfied with the content, quality and structure of my responses, the email was sent. And so began the next cycle of waiting. Waiting seems to be part and parcel of the application process for the RFA, a should of mysticism about the stages and timings seems the norm, but, anyone who has served in any of the forces will be well accustomed to both the hurry up and wait, and the mushroom principle.
A few months passed, nothing heard, not even an acknowledgement, my other pokers in the fire were cooling rapidly due to the lockdown. I utilized this time to my advantage, scrutinizing the internet for any mention of the RFA, roles, operations, locations of vessels (even memorizing coordinates of every vessel), researching every vessel within the fleet – not just names but draughts, armament systems, defensive systems, number and models of dc's... maybe a little to deep, but, if I was offered an interview, I wanted to be ready.
After several months, the ping of an email bought good news. The RFA were offering me an interview. The interview date at the start of August was still a month away, teasing as it was forward momentum, yet, not matching my eagerness to get on with things.