I currently find myself in the ironic position where I actually want to work, but cannot, because I don't yet have my green card (it should be with me fairly soon, assuming I am 'approved'). Recently, I have actually had several job offers to write for websites and even to write blogs for money, but my hands are tied. Wierd. I guess those would be my ideal jobs. Getting paid to spew my thoughts onto a page, with the added bonus of no human contact.
Some of you may think I am just some phantom with an unhealthy fixation with orgasms, but I'm actually a flesh and blood creature who had to toil on the coalface of corporate endeavour, along with the rest of you, for nine years in London. Nine years of my life I will never get back.
Admittedly, some of my jobs have been rather amusing, like my stint at the blind dominatrixes. But most of them were office based, boring as buggery, and about as much fun as having a colonoscopy.
When I left college with a totally useless degree in Art History tucked into my back pocket, I had no idea what I wanted to do. For some reason I latched onto the idea of becoming a journalist. No matter that I had no interest in current affairs or standing outside people's houses for hours until they came out and then asking them highly intrusive questions, I was going to be a journalist. I signed up for this course at the London College of Printing, along with a bunch of graduates who didn't have a clue what to do with their lives either. The course was taught by a bunch of florid faced ex-hacks who'd been fired from England's top papers for writing stories with little/no basis in fact and causing their papers to have to pay huge libel costs before booting them out on their ear. The course turned out to be a bloody good laugh, seeing as many of the 'lectures' took place inside pubs. The downside was that the ex-hacks tried to seduce every female student within touching distance. I resisted their sweaty advances. Well, why shouldn't I, it wasn't like any of them were ever going to get me a job on a paper, was it?
After that, I got a job on a travel trade paper, in which you had to write about the very boring world of the travel trade, although the upside was you got to go on free trips to Europe and test out new cruise liners. Well, that was all right, only sometimes you had to find news stories, yes, and actually stand outside people's houses and ask them questions about was their company going to make a lot of people redundant, and sometimes those people would tell you to fuck off. And then you had to go back to the office and write up stories that the people they were about didn't want you to write, and which made them mad. And believe it or not I felt bad about doing this! It slowly dawned on me that there was a huge impediment to me becoming a journalist: I had a conscience.
So to cut a long story short, I did what every failed journalist does, I got a job in PR. A strange choice, I suppose, for someone who has never in their life gone to a party and gone up to anyone and said, "Hi, I'm Emma. I'd really like to get to know you." I'm always the one cowering behind the punch bowl trying not to talk to anyone. Actually, apart from the talking to people part, I was pretty good at PR. I was good at getting stories into the papers and going on the radio to talk up all sorts of shitty products. But I hated all the people at the PR agency I worked for, and all the clients. And you also had to come in on Sundays to get stories into the papers for Monday. Fuck that for a game of soldiers, I thought. But still I continued in the PR game because I didn't know what else to do.
Shit, it was a strain being nice to people all the time, and do you know the hassle it involves, being an executive? You have to keep lots of sheer tights in your desk in case you get a ladder. You have to wear suits that have to be dry cleaned. You also have to wear makeup. You also have to turn up in the morning and act cheerful and go round to everyone in the office and ask if they want tea or coffee and actually remember who has sugar and who has milk while you have a hangover. Making tea and coffee for people is really one of the worst things about working in an office.
In any case, after eight years of this, I decided to get out of the rat race and just work as a temp secretary for a while. Which wasn't too bad actually. But in the year before I left London for the States, I had a secretarial job in which I lost it. I was working at a University doing, well, God only knows what I was meant to be doing. I was seriously underworked. I had to type about one letter a week. God knows I kept busy with Internet porn. I also wrote two erotic novels while I was there. I also organized a friend's art exhibition, designed and printed his exhibition catalogue and mailed it out to hundreds of guests using the University's postal system, meaning I got it free by scamming it. I also had an office affair with a man who was, quite simply, a challenge. When I first got there everyone was like, "Oh Dan will shag anyone." "God, Dan has slept with more people than I've had hot dinners." And it was odd, because Dan was really pleasant and nice looking and didn't look like he had herpes.
As you can imagine, I was angry. Christ, I was furious. He'll shag anything and he hasn't tried to shag me? Right, I'll have him, I thought. I invited him out on a date. And a very nice date it was too. He told me about what music he liked and how recently he and a friend had tried to sleep with a girl who's fantasy it was to have a double penetration. It hadn't gone at all well. One of the lads couldn't get an erection at the same time as the other, I think, maybe? I forget what the exact nature of the problem was, but I do know that the girl did not achieve her fantasy. In any case, it was all quite intriguing, and I thought we were getting on really well. Then at the end of the night, would you believe it, he walks me home and doesn't even try to invite himself up for a cup of coffee!
I was mad. I was fucking furious.
"I don't believe this, Dan," I said. "Everyone told me that you were a right ladies man, and now, what, you're not even going to try and kiss me? What the fuck's up with that?"
"I didn't think you were all that interested," was all he could come up with.
Interested! What did that have to do with anything? It was simply an experiment to see if he wanted to lure me, and the experiment had failed. Well, in the end I did get him into my flat and persuaded him that I was interested enough to give him a whirl. And very good it was too. But honestly, I've never been so insulted in my life. Is there anything worse than not being seduced by a man who you know would screw anything that wasn't nailed down? Although admittedly, looking back on it, I had gone a bit mad with boredom and probably wouldn't have screwed someone I wasn't particularly interested in, had I been feeling a little more sane.
Where was I? Anyway, I was busy doing all this stuff while at this job, but still it wasn't enough to fill the hours. I was going cuckoo. And on Fridays the temp agency I worked for would let you fax your time sheet to them in the morning (you filled in the hours you were planning to work on Friday). So one day after about eight months working there, I thought, right, I am not going to sit here all day Friday doing fuck all. For one thing, I have a fucking hangover and I want to go to sleep. So I filled in my time sheet for the week and faked the supervisor's signature and faxed it to the agency. Then I went home and went to bed and fell asleep. Well, some prick had obviously grassed me up, because the supervisor at the office phoned me at home and started to leave a message on the answer phone about, "Someone needs a letter typed up and no one can find you." No I didn't answer the phone. I'm not that stupid. I just got out of bed, took the tube back to the job, sat down behind the desk, and when the supervisor found me, told her I'd just been out for a long lunch, was anything wrong?
No, she didn't fall for it. I was fired from that job. Thank God. But at that point I realized I'd had enough of working, thanks very much. And I got myself up the duff and moved to the USA. And actually, truth be told, kids are harder work than those office jobs ever were. But after six years, yes, I do believe this lazy bitch is finally ready to take a job. Wierd how things change, isn't it?
I've done some other bad things while at work, maybe I'll talk about them sometime. I'm not sure whether going home to sleep while you're being paid to work is better or worse than actually sleeping under the desk, as some people I know have done. What's the slackest thing you've ever done while on the job?
Who am I? Displaced Londoner now living in the States with my two little girlies and long suffering husband. Co-author of hilarious parenting book Cocktails at Naptime www.cocktailsatnaptime.com
My mom's an Austrian, my dad's a Brit, which makes me a Britaustrian, or possibly an Austrish?