You can read the first part of this story here.
The next morning I thought it had all been just a dream, being woken up by a phone call, the bright and breezy American voice, asking A what it was all about. I didn’t think about it again, neither did A, nothing had ever come of it all before so there was no reason to think that it would be any different this time round. We went about our normal business for a few days and then we received another phone call, thankfully not at some crazy hour and not from some cheery American. This chap was Irish, his name was David and he ran his own little business in London placing people around the world by networking with a slew of little businesses just like his own all over the world. It was David who had sent A’s CV to America, and it was Davids contact who had called us late that night, and now David was calling for a chat. Apparently things were going quite well 3700 miles away in Detroit. Chrysler Corporation had reviewed A’s CV and wanted more information, which is how we ended up having quite a serious conversation with an Irish chap called David one evening not long after coming home from work.
Understandably David needed to find out how serious we were, what our current situation was. He said the worst thing for him was finding fantastic jobs for people, spending many hours getting them all set up with contacts and interviews and paperwork and a hundred other things, only to have them pull out at the last minute, usually for personal reasons. The hardest part for most folks was uprooting an entire family, especially if there were small children involved. It all seems so great on paper but the reality of doing something like that is beyond most people. Just think about telling your childrens grandparents for instance, that you’re moving to the other side of the world. So many things to consider. So David was keen to talk to us before it all went too far, and he said he would be reporting back to the American side, obviously they’d all been bitten by this before and just wanted to be doubly sure that they had serious people. He said he’d be contacting us again and very soon.
We were more than a bit excited by this conversation, but tried very hard to keep a lid on it, after all, it could be weeks or even months before anything happened. As it turned out, it was only days. David was soon back on the phone. Chrysler Corporation wanted to interview A! Up until this point we hadn’t really talked about specifics, how things might happen, in what order, what would we have to do, how things would get arranged. Our first question was obviously would A have to fly to Detroit for an interview?? No, David and the American end would each supply a video phone to the interested parties, and the interview would be conducted on our own time in that manner. Other points now seemed more pressing, how long would we have, where would we live, could I get a job too? Sensibly David told us to concentrate on A’s interview and not think of too much else at this stage. If it went favourably then he would come up to Milton Keynes, we’d meet up, have dinner and every question we could think of, and probably a whole lot we hadn’t considered would all be answered. David had been in this line of work for over 12 years at this point and there wasn’t much he hadn’t come across in that time that he couldn’t answer.
A left on a business trip for a couple of days and in the mean time the new fangled video phone arrived at our door. I unpacked it and set it up in our bedroom as I thought that might be the best place to conduct the interview in as it was a bright but quiet room. I called David and told him it was all ready, I remember he chided me for not calling him on the video phone, but I was a totally different person 15 1/2 years ago and I didn’t have the confidence then to do things like that! Amazing really when I think back to that conversation when he tried to get me to use it and I backed away completely from it!!! Once A returned home the interviews was set up for the next Friday afternoon. We were both working at Aston Martin and our hours were set up so that everyone in Engineering finished at 12:30pm on Fridays. It worked out perfectly with the 5 hour time difference between us and America. In order to give A some space I stayed at work that Friday for another couple of hours, not getting home until about 3pm. Thankfully it had all gone well, I could see that by the look on his face as soon as I walked through the door. We stood facing each other in the living room….. so what happens next, I asked. I suppose David will contact us at some point, maybe Monday given the time difference, he replied.
David did indeed call on Monday and the news was good, very good. There was to be a second interview, just with a regular phone, and he wanted to come up to Milton Keynes some time that week and meet us to talk things over, so we picked a day and he said he’d be at Milton Keynes station at 6:30pm. There was a big hotel next to the station so we could go there for dinner and we’d talk everything through. He also asked us for some pictures, just the type taken in a photo booth, for the paperwork. He wanted to have everything ready for submittal, all of his ducks in a row, he was very organized, he scared us.
The second interview for A went as well as the first one had, and just two days later we met David off the London train at about 6 in the evening and retired to the hotel restaurant next to the station for dinner. David had all the answers, or at least he seemed to, there was nothing to him that was insurmountable. We talked for four hours and by the time he caught the late train and we were driving home it seemed like there was nothing standing in the way of our new life. And there wasn’t. The following Monday we received a formal offer from Chrysler, via a phone conversation with David. Obviously we said we needed a little time to think about it seriously, like we hadn’t been thinking of anything else for the last three weeks!, but we now had to tell family and close friends what had been going on and get their thoughts. David understood our need completely but said he required an answer by that Wednesday evening! Two days! Two days only to decide on a life changing opportunity. We asked for more time but he refused, he qualified his position by saying the more time he gave us then the more time we would have to think up reasons not to go, happened all the time, so Wednesday it had to be. Strike while the iron was hot.
So that’s what it came down to, the last couple of years of thinking and hoping, talking and planning and wishing, all of it distilled into two days. We decided not to involve anyone else just yet, we were sure there were people we knew who would encourage us to take the chance being offered, and we were just as sure that there were others who would try to dissuade us from moving so far from everyone else. It had to be up to us, with no external influence whatsoever. We sat by the phone on Wednesday after work, we had to call David between 6 and 7pm and tell him our final decision. I remember that A couldn’t say yes or no, he just kept asking me what I thought….. so in return I asked him why we had gone along this path if it wasn’t what he wanted to do… he didn’t know, he did and he didn’t want to go, I know what he felt like as I was full of nervous energy myself. I asked him yes or no. He just stared at me and said nothing, so I picked up the phone dialed David and told him to count us in, we were going. The decision was made. Now came the hard part….. we had to tell everyone we were leaving England.