Thursday 26th July 2012
CAN’T say I was all that surprised, but, yes, definitely disappointed: in one case I didn’t even get an interview: huh.
Not long after leaving teaching, I applied to join the Royal Mail. Sid, the caretaker at the school where I’d worked for eight years, suggested I talk to his postman son.
“I don’t drive, Dave. Will that be a problem?”
“Shouldn’t be. There’s a few that don’t. As long as you can ride a bike and aren’t scared of dogs.”
The aptitude test was fun: mostly trying to decipher hand-written addresses. Having been a teacher helped.
During the interview, I asked about worker-management relations, having had experience negotiating when a ‘rep’ for the National Union of Teachers.
“My best guess is they saw you as a potential trouble-maker,” Dave consoled me later.
Not getting the new leisure centre project was harder to take. A stone-cutter and I had plans for word strings everywhere: pithy phrases on walkways from the car park; clever couplets on the bottom of the pool; riddles and poems inside lockers.
The chair of the interviewing panel was a former PE instructor, who regarded words as unimportant, possibly hazardous. He saw our designs as unwelcome graffiti.
A stained-glass artist was given the commission. Some windows at the far end of the pool have pretty blue colours in them.
Then, recently, there was the part-time job at the Corinium Museum, just round the corner: selling tickets; showing people round; welcoming school parties; helping cover the Visitors Information Centre rota.
A friend in a similar post agreed to be a referee. He chuckled at the final paragraph of my application…
As a former Classics scholar, I could offer a working knowledge of Latin and Roman history. In the event of a volunteer being needed to dress in a toga or represent a centurion moaning about the Corinium weather two thousand years ago, I suspect I’d find it hard to resist the challenge.
…but, with hindsight, I should have deleted it.
They didn’t bother sending a rejection letter.