Wednesday, 7 July 2010
Nothing nice to say
I have been asked to meet the new batch of trainees who are destined for London. I must represent the desk.
‘Try not scare them,’ my boss says.
‘I’ll try not to scare them,’ I say at the same time.
The trainees have been herded on to a balcony high up in the building, which offers impressive views of the canteen. It reminds me that I have not had time to eat – other than the usual plate of **** I am force fed by certain people.
I shrug and drain my third glass of wine.
The trainees are fresh faced and have come from across the country armed with serious degrees from Oxford and Cambridge, connections and smart shoulder bags.
'What is it like? How do you like London?’ they say, staring into my eyes expectantly.
I pause, stutter something incomprehensible, then accidentally elbow the MD in his back and spill wine down my top. Someone else answers the question, stopping me from saying: ‘Jump! Jump off this balcony now.’
I retreat to the canapé table. A retired member of staff is there. I have been looking forward to catching up with him. He is from Manchester. He knows people there. I can trust him. He says he can help me. We go out for a drink. I look at him expectantly.
‘You won’t be on the money you’re on now in Manchester, you know? You need to be in London to make serious money,’ he says. ‘You’ll be bored up there. There are no jobs... They’ll chuck money at you to make you stay here. Or they’ll make you work three months’ notice... You should commute - it's three hours on the train, I did it for 40 years.’
I want him to stop talking. I look at my glass of wine and consider throwing it down his shirt.