In my somewhat unexpected quest to qualify as an trained killer (that's a joke, by the way), there were always going to be obstacles to be faced. However, I had rather hoped to encounter them later, rather than sooner...
My course starts off with a series of core skills assessments, communication, general law, analytical thinking and the like. Think of it as a skills audit but with a sting in the tail, as all subjects are assessed, and all ten must be passed with the required 70% score or better. And it had been going swimmingly until I encountered 'Communicating Effectively in the Workplace'.
There is an obvious irony here, as most of my managers and colleagues have acknowledged that I communicate pretty well. Alright, perhaps over enthusiastically at time, I accept, but I am told that I write well, take a robust but helpful approach to my telephone work, and have a wide vocabulary. So, should be a breeze, right?
Wrong, as it turned out. Yes, I wasn't well, and perhaps should have deferred the test, but found myself confronted with something that was rather blurry, at least it seemed so to my medicated with paracetamol brain. And perhaps I hadn't really grasped the material through the haze. Whatever it was, the result was a failure, albeit a narrow one.
And so, a sudden death resit beckoned. Pass, and I could move on. Fail, and the course was over almost before it had started.
The catch? You have to wait at least a week to resit so, with resit scheduled, my attention turned to the other outstanding assessments. I survived 'Teamworking' and 'General Law Awareness' but missed 'Interacting with HMRC Customers' through ill health.
So, as impending doom approached, I read and re-read my notes. And read them again. And took notes from my notes.
The clock ticked relentlessly towards the assigned time for the assessment until, at precisely 3.00, I clicked on the link to the assessment, and looked, with a degree of bemusement, at the questions, before ploughing in.
Six questions went easily, three required a bit more thought, but the last one left me somewhat perplexed. I thought it through, but didn't really like any of the answers. So, gentle reader, I took what I considered to be an informed guess, pressed 'submit' and crossed my fingers.
Interestingly, good news comes in a red font. And the news was good - I had passed. So, nine down, one to go on Wednesday. Can't wait...