“Death will be a great relief. No more interviews” – Katharine Hepburn
It was a bright autumnal morning as readied myself to embark on the 11.12 to London.
* * *
I had already got off to a bad start by waking up late and rushing off leaving my entire life at home. The essential item I had forgotten was a phone charger (for my 2-year-old Samsung Galaxy which, in its current battered and bruised state, had a battery life of around 10 minutes). With no time to go home, I ran (by which I mean walked quickly-ish, quicker than my usual casual saunter anyway) to Sainsbury’s, and bought the world most overpriced charger. On a whim, I also picked up The Girl on the Train to keep myself entertained on the journey. I returned to the station and boarded the train.
* * *
I travelled the additional hour-long journey on the tube* to Deptford ready for my interview.
! SIDE RANT ALERT !
I bloody hate how long it takes to get anywhere in London. Everyone raves about the public transport system, and I will admit that the buses and trains are very frequent, but they neglect to mention:
- Whatever your vehicle choice it only travels at about 10 metres per hour;
- There are strikes every other day which means everywhere you look closely resembles a cattle ranch, the population herded on and off buses and being housed in extremely close quarters;
- Scheduled maintenance guarantees whatever tube line you want to travel on will be closed;
- If you want to go south of the river swimming through the Thames and then hitchhiking to your destination via Guam will end up being much faster.
! SIDE RANT OVER !
Now no offence to the people of Deptford (says she as she is most likely about to cause great offence to the people of Deptford) but Deptford is not a great place… I did see evidence of one shady looking hipster café complete with mismatched furniture and Edison lightbulbs (very original) which implies it is up and coming, however in my opinion its only redeeming feature was a very large and well-stocked Poundland. I believe this illustrates perfectly that it is in fact very much down and going.
My Interview was at the Local Arts Centre with a Poetry and Spoken Word promotions company and on paper looked right up my street. Their Mission? Evolve this area of the arts so it is more widely received throughout London and the UK and to rid people of their preconceptions that all poetry is wanky, pretentious and weird. A brilliant concept.
I signed in on time at the reception and went to chill in the café. After 15 minutes I was approached by the recruitment officer who informed me they were running late (No shit) and invited me to wait in the office. I thought ‘Nope, I am quite happy sitting here where you can’t see me checking social media on my laptop. I would therefore not like to walk into your office where all your staff can stare at me making me feel excruciatingly awkward thank you very much, but not wanting to reveal the sarcastic cynicism that is my personality I said “Ooo yes, that sounds great!”
I took a seat and scanned the offices, a typical arts hub with ratty pictures of success stories on the walls, old furniture including a couple of bean bags to add the air of chill and funk and lots of hustle and bustle. I opted for a chair, sat and picked up a leaflet from the coffee table and pretended to read (to look all profesh and deeply interesting) whilst subtly rotating my head so my ear was pointing in the direction of the raucous laughter in the corner.
Man, I would be a great spy!
Unfortunately, what my sneakiness revealed was not some delightful anecdote about a poet they were with the other day. Alas, No. These middle-aged women were hysterically divulging their individual, very personal, Tinder Dates. Now, I’m no prude, I love a funny tinder story as much as the next person, but in the pub or on lunch or in the office when you don’t have complete outsiders and potential employees coming in and out all day. I turned back to my leaflet, now actively trying to read its incredibly dull content. Anything to attempt to erase the all too graphic images of these strangers and their explicit sex lives that now seem to be burnt on the surface of my mind’s eye.
Finally, the recruitment officer called my name. They were ready for me. I was marched down a corridor to a small meeting room. The door opened.
And so began the worst job interview of my life.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Illustration by Kirstie Notman – Illustrator & Artist