Wednesday, 26 November 2008

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (it's right under your nose, you ogre)

Wow, so it’s been a while! I decided to take a bit of time out to get my job situation sorted, seeing as how during my job hunt last year I spilled every detail on my blog, and eventually realised the pitfalls of putting your hopes and dreams out there and then having to admit you failed. There’s no shame in it, but it’s twice as bitter a pill to swallow when it feels like the whole world is watching (ok sorry, I had a momentary Britney-complex there; I meant when my small but faithful group of readers is watching!).

So I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that it is 100% sorted now, and I start my new job at an awesome Commercial Media Group, which owns some of the most popular radio stations and magazines in the UK, on Monday. The role is a newly created one, and I will be PA to the Commercial Director, supporting both him and the main sales team and also assisting with the co-ordination of company events. Pretty much all I was looking for wrapped in the attractive packaging of a young, trendy and very sociable crowd. I am pretty pleased with myself!

In the few remaining days at my current temp job, I am interspersing the boring complexities of dvd planning with the infinitely more exciting sales on Ebay. My current obsession is historical fiction, and I’ve been buying several series that will hopefully see me through the long cold winter here in London. Also, shopping on Ebay releases the endorphins my brain so desperately needs to concentrate on the menial tasks at hand. Never has a job ever been less “me”.

Speaking of my need to shop, on Saturday I had to take Shoes on our bi-annual Clothes For Him Hunt, otherwise known as The Shopping Trip From Hell. Even for one who is as addicted to shopping as I am, this is a challenge unlike any other, and I don’t mean that in a good way. To get the perfect formula for this event, one should have the following:

1 x deeply reluctant boyfriend
1 x falsely cheery and extremely determined girlfriend
1 x mall of reasonable size – do not attempt the latest airport sized shopping centre boasting 987 shops, an entertainment complex and a food court to rival a country fair. Doing so will spell certain death for the already fragile relationship.
1 x book of Reasons Why You Should Buy This, memorized word for word with lightning recall ability. This is important: you will have only seconds in which to seal the deal – know your arguments!

Take the deeply reluctant boyfriend and the extremely determined girlfriend and put them in the mall. Have the girlfriend map out the quickest route to all Man Shops, avoiding any or all of the following: shoe shops, underwear shops, women’s clothing shops, any shops selling teddy bears or schmaltzy cards and, most importantly, any signs screeching 50% OFF SALE – TODAY ONLY!!!!! Unless the sign is in a Man Shop, in which case, plan your route around it.

Have the girlfriend lead the boyfriend on the planned retail route, stopping in each shop for a quick once over (remember, men are experts at quick once overs), asking him at each stop whether he sees anything he likes. He may not answer no to more than 2 shops in a row – this is known as the Covert Cop Out, in which the boyfriend pretends to hate everything in order to cut the trip short so he can go home and play on his Xbox.

When he expresses interest in something, however vague, the girlfriend should encourage him with compliments, such as “This would look great with your eyes.” It is important to note that the compliments should be in direct proportion to the kinds of compliments she normally gives him. Saying “Saints alive, you look so hot in those jeans I want to rip them off you and do you against the wall!” when you normally don’t even look at what he’s wearing, will not only incite suspicion on the boyfriend’s part, but will probably result in the compliment becoming an actual event (he’s a man, he’s not going to say no), getting you both thrown out of the mall and forcing you to start the whole Shopping Trip From Hell all over again elsewhere.

The girlfriend must gently guide the boyfriend through the labyrinth that is the floor display, remembering at all times to make any selections seem like his choice, even when they’re obviously hers. She should not attempt to dress him – this infringes on his manhood. There is a pearl of wisdom that all women should know: men are afraid of shops. Shops confuse the shit out of them. Where we see oceans of possibility, they see great white sharks coming to drag them into the murky depths of endless queues and mystifying choices. When he picks out something, she should quietly - but not manically - congratulate him.

Once several items have been purchased the boyfriend will begin to make unhappy noises about tired feet/grave hunger pains/severe boredom/the unfinished game on his Xbox. Note: sometimes this phase occurs after only one item has been purchased. In this case, the girlfriend should redouble her efforts and if necessary, entice him to keep looking by making absurd promises that she has no intention of keeping, such as a whole day of uninterrupted Xbox magic with all his mates.

The girlfriend will know how far she can push her boyfriend. She must gently but firmly use every feminine wile in the book to ensure that he stays in the mall as long as possible, so as to maximise the output of her efforts. Remember, you do not want to do this again any time soon. It is important to note as well that tantrums will not achieve the desired effect. Trying to force a man to shop will only result in the most passive form of resistance possible – he will literally plant himself down at the closest eatery that serves beer and refuse to go anywhere unless you hand over the car keys.

Once the trip is over and the now slightly more even-tempered boyfriend and the extremely exhausted girlfriend are back at home, there is only one rule: What happened at the mall, stays at the mall. All bets are off. Promises made are empty, threats may not be carried out. The couple should agree to put the trauma of the trip in the past, and neither may mention it again until 6 months later and it is time for another.

How lucky for me, then, that last Saturday was so spectacularly unsuccessful that we have to do it again this weekend.

The photographer took bullshitting to new levels.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Back To Basics

I’m back to where I was 2 years ago. It’s like déjà vu, except I don’t feel like the new kid on the block this time – more like the ratty old fart in the corner who drinks 3 cups of tea every day at exactly the same time. In other words, I feel like part of the furniture. The part that people don’t bat their eyelids at, even though you’ve been doing 2 more years of living since they last saw you.

Today I started my new temp role at the media company I previously worked for, and I’d already broken every rule in the book by 11am through opening gmail, facebook and my blog. The most important thing they teach you as temp is to never use the internet whilst on assignment. I don’t think I have ever managed to follow that rule.

It was nice walking in here this morning to some familiar faces. Not much as changed, although I remember the layout of the office as being different, and at least half the women I used to work with are off having babies. There must be something in the water here – every woman bar one in this department has either had or is about to have a baby, all in a period of 2 years. Please let me not catch this virus. Can you imagine; I work here for a couple of months and next thing my life is over because I have a sprog on the way. Heaven help us all. I can see myself buying weekly pregnancy tests, just to double check.

So I don’t have anything to do right now, as I’m waiting to get set up on the systems I need to start on the project they’ve given me. One thing is for sure, where I used to blog occasionally about funny work situations, I will now have to blog exclusively about my personal life. This is just not that kind of place.

I woke up an hour before my alarm today, and didn’t sleep very well last night. I felt like a piece of me was missing this morning when I passed Leicester Square station on the tube instead of getting off to go to work. I miss my old company so much already, and imagining all my mates going in this morning to gossip around the coffee machine about Friday night’s party makes my stomach feel hollow. I know it’s normal and that it will pass. I just wish it would hurry up and do so.

Friday night was a great night, though. A fitting end to a fantastic run of 10 months of truly enjoying my job. It’s rare to look forward to going to work everyday, but I did, and I will try to remember that feeling fondly rather than with bitterness at having to move on. But back to our big leaving do….. we partied from noon on Friday to around 4am. I got home at 5, and woke up again at 8am. Suffice it to say my weekend was a write off. My hangover on Saturday was of epic proportions, and I think my lowest moment came when I had to walk around Wimbledon in the rain for an hour because I thought if I got back on the bus to go home, I’d throw up. Good times.

Let’s see if this new role makes me any wiser.