The demolition of ‘Daddy’
Bow Wow Wow – ‘W.O.R.K’
Work. Everybody has to do it don’t they. Everyone should do it, if only for a day a week. It gets you out of the house and gives you something else to think about. I think I’ve moaned about every single job I’ve had at sometime or another. Not getting paid enough, working on a weekend, one’s boss, the strategic direction of the organisation, the lack of communication, what you would do if YOU were the boss etc. It’s half of the fun.
FACT. I began my new job a year ago today. Blimey, that had sped past. Literally so quickly it makes me feel nauseous and a bit dizzy just thinking about it.
Very soon I was introduced to a world of Wet Trades – which I previously imagined was something one would pick up in a Parisienne vespasienne. But no, particularly for those of you that don’t know, Wet Trades are the generic term for building trades which use cement, concrete or mortar mixed with water in construction. So I regularly deal with men from Wet Trades who come in dressed in overalls, vests, big boots, hi-viz jackets smelling of clay and with filthy dirty rough hands – think a ‘Triga’ film and you will not be THAT far from the truth. It can all get a bit too much. If you factor in the plumbers, sports and motor vehicles boys and well, you can guess the rest.
We offer a huge variety of courses. From Artisan Bread making, Jewellery making (bet you can guess the type of punters that that attracts) – to Creative Writing, Furniture Making. Photography and IT for Work. It seems everyone wants to be an Accountant for the money, probably, or a Counsellor, for the empathetic wringing of hands.
You should make an effort too I think. Especially in my job. I managed to wear a different shirt every day for the first 100 days. It gave me a private chuckle and I did become slightly obsessed – only wearing the ‘wrong’ shirt on two occasions. I wore shirts that I’d not worn in 20 years – I’m such a hoarder though and never throw anything away. Ever.
Much of the time it’s bonkers mad. Dealing with visitors, answering phone call after phone call, signing people in, signing them out again, furnishing people with information, directions to classrooms it’s a delicate balance of customer service and firmness.
Typically the telephone conversations fall into neat categories. Those who put on a ‘sick’ voice (and we’ve all done it) to say they are unable to attend their lesson, Mum’s who phone up on behalf of their son (who can generally be heard grunting on his X-Box out of shot):
‘Which course are you doing again Shane?’ says Mum – ‘Dunno, something to do with Maths’ says son.
‘What’s your tutors name?’ I helpfully add.
‘Shane, what’s you tutors name?’ shouts Mum. ‘Dunno. It’s some woman, with curly hair’
I could write a book (or a sit-com) on the Hairdressing clients. Some are the sweetest ladies you could ever wish to meet – bright, sunny, interesting, chatty.
Others are damn rude and you barely get anything from them.
‘HAIR’ they demand upon arrival. It’s an unusual request and takes some carefully phrased open question to work out exactly which hair they mean, what time their hair is, if they are at the right venue even for their hair. I’ve had a queue of hair outside the door. It can all get quite hairy. All of the clients are ladies of a certain age, relatives of the learner, or someone they’ve just dragged on off the street. They clip clop around the place, wander off into classroom interrupting a teacher mid flow, then pop into the café for a rekkie with the rest of their gang of pensioners. I guess when you have reached retirement a day trip to the local college to get your hair or nails done is the highlight of your week.
You get to know the learners, build up a bit of a rapport even become on nodding terms with Jamie or Kylie on the Number 1 bus back to Whitehawk.
And I even got some CD shelves made for me… (a little wonky but no one will know).
I do actually love it there – it’s nice to return to Further Education. Everyone works incredibly, incredibly hard and the students with Special needs are all adorable – they water our plants, cook our biscuits, have a little chat about their home lives.
It’ll do me until I retire (or get the sack for writing this) but I do so with a certain amount of fondness.