REARRANGE THESE WORDS…
When I arrived back in London from Nice I promised myself that I would endeavour to eat on alternate Thursdays. Well, a girl can dream, n’est pas? What with the recession and everything, the call for comedians has diminished (unless you’re lucky enough to qualify for a seat in Parliament, of course) and so one has to be creative about how to put the odd yoghurt on the table.
Thus it was that I set off this week to look for temporary office work.
I entered the portals of one large, very well known employment agency and six adolescents looked up from their desks, seemingly startled that anybody had worked out how to negotiatethe gap in the walls commonly known as the doorway.
Can I help? a bemused 13 year-old asked me.
I wondered if there was any temp work around, I said.
Have you got a CV? came the reply.
No, I answered. Didn’t occur to me to bring one.
Well, said the teenager, you’d better see Plonker. He deals with the temping side of the agency.
So I walked over to Plonker’s desk.
What can I do for you? he asked. Even though he was seated 4 feet away from where the previous conversation had taken place and had listened to every word.
I wondered if there was any temp work around, I said. (For those of you interested in BBC broadcasting, this is known as a ‘current repeat’. You might want to consider asking for your NotNiceEtoile Licence Fee back).
Have you got a CV? came the reply. (Who said pantomime was dead???)
Resisting the temptation to say ‘it’s behind you’, I instead (again) replied: ‘No. Didn’t occur to me to bring one.’
At this point Plonker realized he was going to have to have a conversation with me. His eyebrows drooped.
OK, what can you do?
Well, I’m a writer, so I’m obviously literate, I’m numerate, and I’ve also done reception work.
How long ago was it that you did reception work? he asked.
Around 25 years, I said.
Oh dear. He looked (even more) disappointed. Haven’t you done any since then?
I looked at him.
Well, it can’t have changed that much, I chirped. I’m sitting here now talking to you well enough, aren’t I?
Hmm. Plonker put on his disparaging face again. Have to admit, it was starting to suit him. The thing is, any potential company is going to ask me how recent your experience is.
What, of saying ‘hello’ to people? I proffered.
I wondered if I’d remembered to put into my handbag a wet haddock. Damn, it was still in the fridge. I’d have to smack him around the head with my devastating wit instead.
I pulled myself up in my chair, looked him straight in the eye and said: ‘It was for the Jim Henson Organization. I was a part-time Muppet. Where do you think I got this nose from?’
No response from the full-time muppet opposite me.
What have you been doing since then?
I explained I’d been idly passing the time being a theatre director, a BBC Comedy Producer / Director, a broadcaster, writer and stand-up comedian.
Well, if you’d like to pop your CV into an email…
I asked him what was the point. Based on his reactions nobody was going to have the imagination to see that I could, in actual fact, file pieces of paper in alphabetical order, because I haven’t very recently been studying the alphabet; nor would they believe I was quite possibly capable of copy typing someone else’s words without inserting the word FUCK every so often. (I didn’t say that to him, by-the-way. But hang on, come to think of it…) And as for saying ‘Hello, can I help you?’ with a smile on my face, well, just forget it.
Will I send him my CV? No point. I could email my ‘C’, but I doubt he’s reached ‘V’ in the alphabet yet (there’s the six-monthly Recognition of Consonants refresher course coming up next week, I think I heard his colleague say) and anyway, he’s probably convinced I’m over-qualified because I entered through the portals instead of coming in through the front door.
Food parcels addressed to NotNiceEtoile, WordPress, London, if you’d be so kind.
Thanks very much.