I once spent four and a half hours cleaning my father’s car, only for him to run his index finger along the bonnet and tell me it wasn’t spotless enough.
Admittedly, I hadn’t really removed any of the dirt, merely repositioned it. Considering the fact I had worked my way through a thousand gallons of water, two giant sponges, six bottles of washing-up liquid and 32 rolls of kitchen towel – this was something of a disappointment.
My parents were very keen to teach my brothers and I the value of money at a young age, and it is fair to say – they succeeded. Having persevered with the car for a further two hours, I was dutifully rewarded for my hard work, determination, blood, sweat and tears (so many tears) with what my father considered to be the going rate: fifty pence. I also caught a cold from being sopping wet all day, developed a rash from the industrial cleaning products and lost all feeling in my fingertips for three days.
Needless to say – that was the last time I ever worked for 7.6 pence an hour. It also marked the end of my short-lived car valeting career.
I was made redundant today, a scary prospect to say the least. To mark the occasion (aside from the obligatory job hunting) I thought I’d take stock of what I’ve learnt so far in my fourteen years of employment. Please remember, I was young and needed the money:
AS A WAITRESS – ONCE YOU’VE TAKEN A FOOD ORDER – MAKE SURE YOU PASS IT ON TO THE KITCHEN STAFF. They’ll cook it so much quicker that way.
CUSTOMERS DON’T TEND TO LIKE IT WHEN YOU SPILL HOT COFFEE DOWN THEM.
WHEN CARRYING 72 EMPTY PINT GLASSES STACKED ON TOP OF ONE ANOTHER, BE CAREFUL NOT TO TRIP OVER YOUR OWN FEET.
IF AN INTOXICATED CUSTOMER LOOKS LIKE HE’S ABOUT TO THROW TWO BEER BOTTLES AT YOUR HEAD – IT’S BECAUSE HE IS ABOUT TO THROW TWO BEER BOTTLES AT YOUR HEAD. That’s your cue to move.
DON’T BE A DOORMAT. If your obsequious boss frequently guilt-trips you into coming in early (unpaid), finishing late (also unpaid), cancelling your social life and mopping the floor with your tongue: leave.
NEVER DATE THE BOSS. Especially when he looks like Phil Mitchell.
WHEN YOU EVENTUALLY GET A PROPER GROWNUP JOB – ALWAYS CHECK YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR BEFORE LEAVING THE HOUSE FOR WORK. You can just about get away with odd socks, but wearing your top inside out in the boardroom will start rumours.
IF YOU FALL ASLEEP AT YOUR DESK/CRY IN THE LADIES TOILETS/VOMIT IN THE WASTEPAPER BASKET, JUST ONCE – DON’T EXPECT YOUR COLLEAGUES TO FORGET IT. EVER.
ANNOY PEOPLE LESS AND THEREFORE AVOID GETTING STABBED WITH A BIRO.
MINIMISE THE WEB BROWSER WHEN YOUR BOSS COMES OVER. Not everyone shares your appreciation of David Beckham in his underpants. (I am yet to establish why).
THE NIGHT BEFORE YOUR INTERVIEW IS NOT THE TIME TO EXPERIMENT WITH FAKE TAN.
BEWARE: “REPLY ALL”.
FOR SOME LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT – REPLACE YOUR BOSS’ MOTIVATIONAL POSTER “PLAN, PREPARE, PERFORM” WITH ONE FAR MORE CONSTRUCTIVE, LIKE “PLAN, PREPARE, POTATO”. I give it 3 weeks before he notices.
DO SOMETHING YOU ENJOY.
HAVE A PLAN E! This is mine.