When I moved away in 1981, I had to wait for unemployment money as according to the dole office I had ‘left my job on my own accord and made no effort to find another‘.
That was actually untrue as I had come up from Poole on three occasions for interviews, but none had panned out. Still, I signed on with a temp agency, and in January started work in the accounts department of the Water Board.
It was part-time, though I worked until 7pm on Tuesdays. I ended up actually running the department, though there was no offer of a permanent job, and I ‘lost’ the position by taking a week’s break to accommodate a family who used me as an unpaid holiday resort.
I was out of work for a couple of months, and attended an interview for a vending machine company. The temp agency had taken up my references, though it was not my ability to do the job or my banking experience that secured me the position, but the fact that I was divorced, living with somebody, and had a dog that clinched it!
Apparently, this criteria fitted in with the majority of staff I would be working with.
I was there for over six years, until I left the area to return to Poole.
I had interviews at temp agencies on Monday afternoon, Tuesday morning and Tuesday afternoon. On Tuesday morning I was ‘tested’ and confirmed suitable for office work, but was considered unsuitable for an International Banking position as I had no computer experience. The same job came in on the books of the agency I signed on with in the afternoon, and the girl handling my file was determined to get my foot through the door.
I started on Wednesday morning, within a month was offered a permanent position, and within a year promoted to a section leader and assistant supervisor.
Five years after that I moved up to the Finance Dept as an analyst reporting European branch data to the New York HO. All figure work, and I loved it!
After a total of almost 13 years I was made redundant, and the next few months of being out of work and applying for hundreds of jobs with no response, were the most soul-destroying time of my working life.
Eventually I got a job with a book company as their Credit Controller.
Again it was not my experience or capability that got me the job. Nor was it my marital status and dog ownership. Nay. This one was secured on telling a joke.
Apparently my interviewers were fed up with the previous applicants, the set questions and cliché answers, so they threw a spanner in the works. At me.
I was hired on the strength of the four door banana joke for kids.
I applied my banking experience and devised chasing procedures for overdue accounts and in six months reduced their aged debt report from over 1000 pages to less than 600.
I set up an excel file containing spreadsheets with formulas to work out percentages of aged debt to the whole company as well as the individual publishers, and within a year had the total aged debt down by almost 40%.
My boss was over the moon, and I was given a substantial pay rise at salary review time.
Three years later, I was promoted across the office to Sales Ledger, and on my second day in the job closed off monthend on my own in a day. I got all payments on the system in the morning of the 1st, ran off the reports after lunch, and the following morning had the customer statements printing ready to be sorted by my successor with the relevant aged debt letters. After lunch, we were posting the current payments in the new month figures.
What made this so outstanding (and yes I am blowing my own trumpet here) was that it would take 2 people 10 days to do this together, which actually held up all payments going on to the system and so the credit controller (ie, me at the time) was chasing accounts that were already paid but not processed.
In my new role, I did the bank recs at least twice a week instead of once a month (!!) and balanced all ledgers daily instead of at monthend only.
So, I have no paper qualifications (O levels don’t count, even if some employers knew what they were), but I do have experience, common sense, adaptability and honesty.
With the rumours that people will have to continue working into their seventies, a cheaper workforce by way of migrant workers, and technology
taking over overtaking manual work, unless everything fails and we go back to ‘the good old days’ before computers, I’m toast.
In a nutshell, as an office worker, I have excellent time management skills, am reliable, accurate and methodical. As a money manager, I am trustworthy, accurate, and diligent in my responsibility.