Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Sing When You're Winning

Places Where it is Acceptable to Sing Out Loud

1. Church
Or anywhere you happen to be holding a hymn book (see weddings, bar mitzvahs and school assemblies). If the spirit moves you...

2. In Your Car
Doubly so because it allows you the freedom to mumble the words you don't know without people (and, ahem, boyfriends) raising their eyebrows at you if you suddenly can't remember a line. Plus, if you're stuck in a traffic jam and some sees you emoting to Kelly Clarkson, you can just pretend to be having a particularly heated discussion on a hands-free.

3. The Shower
Think of it as your own private Wembley Arena. One in which the sound of running water drowns out the actual noise emitted.

4. A Concert
Especially if whilst singing you are brandishing an oversized poster made at home using 6 sheets of A4 and a packet of glitter glue. Especially if said poster bears the words, "Ronin, Father My Son," as I  still remember from Boyzone concert nearly 10 years ago. If the person who made that is reading this blog: genius.

Places Where it is Not Acceptable to Sing Out Loud

1. The Theatre
Ok, good for you, person third row down from me at Dirty Dancing (guilty pleasure, don't judge). I'm really pleased that this was your favourite movie when you were a kid, and that you, like, totally had a thing for Patrick Swayzee (RIP). That does not give you permission to catarwhaul along. That's what the actors are for.

2. On the Pavement, Swinging the Arm of a Friend Whilst Skipping Simultaneously
Come on girls, you know you're guilty of this. It's not cute. You're in my way.

3. On The Tube
I already have the distinct displeasure of having to stand with my head wedged into your armpit for the next 20 minutes, let's not make things worse.

4. In The Office
There is someone in my office who has taken it upon themselves to sing at various intervals of the day. There is no radio in the office, so perhaps this person thinks that they are doing some sort of charitable deed: perhaps they thinks that we are all musically undernourished, and that they and they alone are responsible for our lyrical salvation.

We're not talking about under-breath, lost-in-thought singing - we're talking full-on renditions of Mama Mia, Queen, and even, on one ghastly occasion, Les Miserables.


Singing whilst they're walking to the photocopier. Singing as they types at their desk. Singing when they add milk to their coffee. I have been spared the opportunity to be in the loo with them, but I am convinced that there, too, the slow trickle of their urine will be accompanied by some form of Beatles medley.

Nowhere is safe.

I don't know what this person expects us to do about their singing. Should we applaud them? Cry for an encore? Join in?

As a lowly intern, I am not in a position to react as I would ideally like: namely to shout, loudly and clearly, "WILL YOU KINDLY SHUT THE FUCK UP?" before re-acquanting them with the occasions it is and isn't acceptable to sing out loud.

So instead I have stilled my irritation by sharing it with you.


Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Starbucks: The Sequel

It's official ladies and gentlemen: I'm a Starbucks VIP.

How do I know this?

I was queue-jumped. Twice.

Hell. Yeah.

That's right people - envisage a hefty line of tourists, snaking their way along the register (always in the wrong direction - why, oh why, can't they obey the simple rules of our country?) and little old me is right at the back, with the important mission of garnering the boss' caffeine fix.

But not for long - oh no, I am far too special to waste my time in a petty queue. My friendly barrister spots me, and with a gentle wave of his arm, reminiscent of the soft swaying of corn in summer's breeze (Or something. Hey, I'm a city girl, I tried my best) beckons me over to the front of the queue, assuring me that I have neither the time nor the patience to wait in line with mere mortals.

He's wrong - I have ample amounts of both - but do you think I'm going to stop him?.

I may not have a job, but at least, in Starbucks, I'm a Somebody.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Isn't It Ironic?

Rule Number One about getting a job:

Don't write a blog about your potential employers.

Now, if only some had told me that before...

In a world full of ironies, this has to take the biscuit: I had a job interview last week for a place I've interned  - and vaccuumed at - before, and in a cruel twist of fate this blog was found, scuppering all chances of actually getting said job.


Yes, yes, yes, I know what you're going to say: "be careful what you write on the internet, it'll come back to haunt you": we had full-on lectures about it at Uni, warning us that perhaps our naked and drunken profile pictures weren't the best impression for when potential employers decide to do a bit of digging.

But what can I say? I was young, I was naive, I thought I had it covered: a private facebook profile, a strictly "no names" policy on the blog, the World [Wide Web] was my intern oyster.

But fate had other ideas.

What do I feel? Stupid. Slightly embarrassed - especially as the person who found it was a genuinely nice guy who I would never have wanted to hurt.

Mother Dear, in classic Mellow Dramatic Jewish Mother style, has been having hysterics - "Take the site down NOW, you've ruined your whole career now, they'll send it to all the film companies in the world and you'll be blacklisted forever."

Elder Brother, the Voice of Wisdom, has gone for the more succinct, "Fuck It."

And I think I will plum for somewhere in between.

Vaccuum-cleaning Assistant: if you are reading this, I am truly sorry for offending you. My experiences this year have taken me from the highs and lows of internships, but I am sorry to say that unfortunately, whether it was just my bad luck or not, this experience was not one of the highs, but you were not part of the problem.

But never fear, in the world of internships, I am sure that another will come along which will blow this one out of the water - an experience so wretched that I would rather spend my time cleaning up sick with a straw and a sieve.

I wait this day with bated breath...if not perhaps with my tail between my legs...

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Bully Two Shoes

"Intern...I think I'm an office bully."

These words were said to me by a friend of mine who actually has a job...and look what has happened to them...

Now, this person is my friend, so I can vouch for the fact that they generally wouldn't hurt a fly, but their confession does raise awareness of one of the more unpleasant sides of interning: The Office Bully. 

The Boy, in one of his rare moments of wisdom, has pointed out that it is usually only those lower down in the office pecking order who deign to bully. Or as he scathingly refers to them as, "The Middle Management."

Bosses (generally) don't have time for the pettiness of bullying. If they have a problem, they resort to the quicker and more effective form of yelling at you. Fine. I accept that. Straight, to the point - if you have fucked up, you sort it out and move on.

But what I can't abide by, and what I've witnessed more than once as an intern - particularly, it must be said, in my non-film placements - is the Bully Assistant.

Think about it. These people are on hallowed ground. They have fought through the slog and actually managed to catch hold of the golden apple which is A Job. Many of the people on this first rung considered themselves to be especially intelligent for having been born far enough in advance to avoid graduating during the credit crunch. So they definitely don't want some scrappy little upstart (that's you, interns) coming along and doing a better job than them, in case they are routinely replaced and find themselves out with the rest of the garbage, begging for the scraps of whatever jobs are left.

And so, in order to maintain that primitive awareness - "ME ASSISTANT - YOU INTERN" - they feel the necessity to put you in your place, ensuring that you lose any feelings of self-worth which may make you confident enough to steal their job. 

At Online Fashion Magazine [cue shudders], this took the form of school-girl cattiness, resorting most of the women back to a time and place they feel most at home. You know the sort - hair flicking, giggling, the occasional rolled eyes - and all because you ask where to find something on the shared drive, or attempt to join in the conversation - "Yes, I saw X Factor last night too - I really like...". 

This particular incident, which actually happened to me, plundered me right back to being a ten year old, realising that I had my pinafore tucked in to my knickers. In the workplace jungle, joining in with the conversation is the equivalent of sniffing another cheetah's ass. It says, "hey, look at me, I'm part of your species - Befriend Me!" But when those fellow cheetahs simultaneously look at you, roll their eyes and giggle, you realise you are left out in the cold, and will probably have to hunker down in a separate part of the jungle for the night.

This, like most office bullying, is a wonderful example of passive aggression. They never come right out and say "Fuck Off, get back to the photocopier, you Intern you." No, that would break the unspoken rule of "protocol". Instead, it is giggly-girly batting eyelids, all the while reassuring the victim that underneath that butter-wouldn't-melt smile are a pair of sharply gnashing incisors. 

Now let me get something straight: I am not your "hun". I am certainly no-one's "babe". If you want to put me in my place by telling me to make you a cup of tea, Do Not preface your request with any of these terms of endearment. 

So what does the lowly intern do, when faced with such sickly-sweet but obviously cutting remarks? 
Fight fire with fire my friend. You flutter those eyelids. You smile that smile. They want you to react, and I have it on good authority that if their tried and tested playground efforts are defunct, their heads may just explode.

And then you can steal their job.

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