Well, after several months of low level watchfulness of the Brussels job market, two things have matured almost simultaneously.

One is to return to my previous employers, where an interesting vacancy has opened up. I had a first interview for it two weeks ago, and a second interview next Monday. Back in my day, this particular job would have been a step down from my previous position. But my previous position was axed last year, and the department I’d be working with has been seriously upgraded since I left in 2006. Anyway they are in a better position than me to judge if I am overqualified. I must say I appreciate the professionalism of the recruitment process. Last time they hired me, the then boss phoned me out of the blue and offered me a job I hadn’t even applied for.

The second one came similarly out of the blue, when I copied a bloke from one of the big PR firms, who I’d had lunch with two years ago, on a somewhat snippy email that I sent to one of his colleagues about a market research survey they had sent me. The lunchee invited me round today for a cup of coffee and explained that they have this fairly high-powered vacancy coming up, subject to funding, and he thought my face might fit, despite the snippy email. It would be a move to the private sector rather than the NGO sphere where I have been all of my working life, so a bit of a reorientation. But there’s one really important indicator: I have liked everyone I know who works or has worked for this firm, including several people who I knew and liked before they were recruited – one of whom had actually worked briefly for me. So I have an interview with his London-based colleague coming up on Friday, though that’s very much a second rather than final interview.

I should add that in both cases they were very clear with me about regular and structured feedback, goal-setting and assessment. None of my three employers since 1999 has provided that, and I would rather like it. I know that some reading this regard it as an annual or six-monthly ordeal, but it’s far better to have a structure than not. Both of these options would also be larger offices than my current set-up of me plus a single intern. I miss being part of a large group, and hopes of expanding my current office have been repeatedly dashed.

I’m not desperate. I have a couple of other irons in the fire as well, neither of which is likely to bear fruit (mixed metaphor alert) before the summer. But it’s quite encouraging to have two different organisations, both of which are fairly big in their separate domains, not ruling me out on the first pass. If they do rule me out on the second pass, well, I expect I can live with it. And I am not going to build castles in the air about what might happen if by some weird chance I am offered both.

(On my way to buy my lunchtime sandwich today I bumped into a European Commissioner, who spontaneously engaged me in intense conversation about the polemical document I was planning to read as I munched my sandwich in the park. Sometimes life is like that.)