Monday, March 26, 2007

From Emotion Eric, obviouslyMy brother and I are arguing over which is worse: job hunting or flat hunting. I say flat, he says job. Then again I've just got a new job and he lives in a palace where he never has to do any cooking. It also helps the argument that he's looking for dollars and I move out in July – yes it's early, but I've been looking since last March. I do that: I have a domestic clock that yearns for elegant chairs rather than toddlers.

I'd been job hunting for a week before I realised that I'd never actually been job hunting before and had no idea what the fuck I was doing. Before you start chuntering about jobs-in-laps, silver spoons strapped to tonsils etc, I'm not as fiscally helpless as my accent might otherwise suggest. I've had a job since I was 15 and working in the kitchen of a dreadful pseudo-Swiss patisserie in our local town. It was vile. It was run by a vile woman called Mel who got herself vilely pregnant with a child who, if they'd known what they were in for, would probably have stayed in the womb and pretended to be an ulcer.

Other crap Kat jobs include:

- Life modelling. Sounds glamorous and daring, isn't. At the time, The Archers was mid-way through Siobhan and Brian's fling which always meant I'd get over-excited and move, thus engendering the rage of whichever pretentious artist was scribbling my thighs at the time.

- Bars. Every student works in bars. It's part of the course.

- Box packing. Clutching my degree in French and Italian, I strode purposefully to the temp agency in Durham, only to discover that the only thing they needed was people to pack boxes of reconstituted meat. Yes, I packed meat.

- Victorian street tour seller. Trying to make money during an Edinburgh show I donned my best Victorian garb and attempted to sell tickets in the middle of the Royal Mile. Hideously embarrassing, lasted half an hour before scuttling off to the pub.

- School French assistant. Not in any way a crap job – come on, teaching adorable little children how to make convincing French horse noises for their end of year show? – but had immense backfiring effect of my insisting I be called 'Madame' for the two weeks afterwards and confusing myself with having actual teaching abilities.

My favourite job, in the sense of "I love the fact I did that," rather than actually liking the work was when I started temping in Cardiff. My secretarial-ish course, forked out by my mother in the vague hope that I'd marry a banker, was no use whatsoever so I worked as a dinner lady. I had a hair net and was driven off to school everyday in a big black car that looked like a hearse. In the first school, a primary with cheery Welsh doctrine drawn on the walls in wobbly crayon, I was in charge of pudding, which meant that in the eyes of small children I had a power akin to that of God.

The second school was a secondary, whose kitchen was staffed almost exclusively by bullet-faced females and disenfranchised Polish artists who worshipped at the altar of Vitamin Chip. While I would generally sell my own father for a plate of oven-fried and ketchup, the smell of oil and merciless ignorance of vegetables made me feel like I was leading all these nice children to an early grave instead of expanding their frontal lobes and preparing them for the afternoon ahead.

But job hunting, for a real, proper job instead of something to tide me over between bottles of gin at college and university, I'd never done before. It's really boring and un-fun, right up until people start looking at you like they actually want to employ you. The last time I looked, nobody wanted to employ me at all, and I had to combine outrageous amounts of luck and actual knowing stuff to get jobs that I was lucky enough to adore. The fact that people would apparently like to employ me now surprised me so much I've spent the last week bankrupting myself with celebratory eBay purchases/bottles of drink/expensive bottles of drink with £16 off which means I have to buy them even though I'm already hung over and likely to be very sick if I drink them.

The result, somewhat inevitably, is that I woke up on Sunday going "What have you done you stupid cow?" and my bank have sent wolves after me. I'm sure they must have wolves. Film Joe got a letter from our collective bank telling him he was over his overdraft limit that was dated 25 December. Do these people never sleep? Still, with a new job comes great responsibility or something. Bring out my catsuit.

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