November 18th 2020
I spent a large part of my morning watching various videos sent to me by the Post Office. One video was eighteen minutes long, the first seventeen minutes and twenty seven seconds was all about the safe way to lift and move heavy things. That was followed by a twenty second review. I could have easily saved myself seventeen minutes and twenty seven seconds by skipping straight to the review.
As you know I start my first real job this century on Monday. I am looking forward to it in some ways but in other ways not so much. It will get me out of the house. That is a big tick. I’ll make some money, tick. I will learn something new, tick. The downside is I will have a boss. X. I haven’t had someone in charge of me for over twenty years and the last time wasn’t an overwhelming success. We will get to that job in chronological order.
I have had real jobs, lots of them. At school I got my first job working for JDs, a fruit shop in Chislehurst, fruit & veg was in my genes, the Cruickshanks (Mums side of the family) had been working at Borough Market for generations. I had jobs delivering the local newspaper, leaflets for a hairdresser, a door shop and for two years at MacDonalds. After my school year completed their GCSEs I was looking forward to a ten week summer holiday until mum told me I was going to be making one hundred pounds a week working as a temp in the laundry department of Farnborough hospital. Ten weeks as a temp. I was popular there and because I could read and write was quickly promoted to assistant manager and when I left the staff threw me a party and presented me with a leaving gift and card. I was a temp, a temporary worker, I was never going to be staying. I guess I should just take that as the huge compliment it was.
First proper, leaving school job was as a Bluecoat. These were seasonal jobs and when I wasn’t there I did dozens of random jobs for my mum. For as long as I have known mum she has run or owed recruitment businesses so I was never really out of work, I performed many random tasks including but not limited to, cleaner, envelope stuffer, depot worker, kitchen hand, stockroom worker and a school dinner lady.
Shall we just focus on school dinner lady quickly? Mum was massively respected in her field and was trusted implicitly. Even back then not just anyone could work anywhere and in a school temporary workers were always women. When none were available for a few days working as a dinner lady I was drafted in. I was Shonas’ son, I would be just fine. I was a hit, as the chubby kid at school I knew they’d appreciate extra chips, a bigger slice of pie. I loved it from the minute they opened the school canteen doors and a kid exclaimed ‘The dinner lady is a man!’
I became a pro comedian in April 1993, I made a living out of it until the business closed down last March. In 1998 I bought my first house and was worried about making the three hundred and fifty six pounds I needed each month for the mortgage, so I became the chubbiest fitness instructor in London. I had qualified as a fitness instructor and personal trainer because my mate, and trainer, Steve told me I should. I have always had time on my hands but this time I used it productively. I didn’t last long, having a boss was hard work. It’s a young industry and people follow instructions well. I didn’t and the boss and I constantly clashed.
I won’t bore you with all the stories because, well, who knows how long this lockdown will last, I may need them for another entry. This is my favourite. As a fully qualified fitness instructor I was dismayed to find my shift one morning was going to be downstairs on reception duty. Rather than moan like some others I thought what a great opportunity to use my time productively so I took my seat, opened the newspaper, brought out a pen and pad and set to ‘work’. There were cameras everywhere and the phone rang. Now, you need to know a couple of things. Every call from outside the building would lead to a two ring sound. ‘Ring ring’. Now if the call was from someone inside the gym it’d be a single ring. Oh, and the name of the caller. Alex was my boss. She never liked me.
Nothing. No one there, I hung up, this happened three times before she barked at me
“You’re supposed to answer the phone by saying ‘Good morning, Charlton Millennium Fitness Centre, Paul speaking, how can I help?”
We discussed the merits of this and then she instructed me to find something to do. Knowing I was being watched I carefully folded the newspaper away, returned the pen and pad to my bag and proceeded to look around the desk, lifting things, moving bits and pieces, to anyone watching I was searching.
The phone rang. Once. And in a voice that couldn’t have been more facetious, I answered.
“Good morning, Charlton Millennium Fitness Centre, Paul speaking, how can I help?”
An angry female voice shouted…
“I TOLD YOU TO FIND SOMETHING TO DO!”
“I looked everywhere, there is nothing to do!”
Alex hung up. I lasted around a fortnight more.
My point today is I am not afraid to do anything to make the money needed to keep a roof over my kids head, I am not stubborn enough to think I am a comedian and this is below me. This is a job and without question at some point during the nine shifts for which I am contracted for I will find some material that I can use in my other job.
Shots of Coffee: 2, low, off to make another
Reading: The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza
Listened to: Zac Brown Band, Mumford & Sons and Al Jarreau
YouTube Tip: Shaun Bythell & a kindle
Word Count: 1.411