7.00am. I wake up, blinking at the bright morning sunshine and trying to remember why I feel uneasy. Ah. Today is my first day. My new job. I didn’t sleep well. I hit snooze and drift back off for 5 more minutes….
7.31am. I fell asleep! One of the Senior Management Team (SMT) comes bounding in, shouting something about his clock ‘going yellow.’ I sit bolt upright, rub the sleep from my eyes and agree to meet him in the downstairs boardroom for a breakfast meeting, quick sharp.
7.35am. My working day begins in earnest. Turns out the Boss is pretty demanding. As he jacks himself into the iPad for his first conference call with someone called ‘Tree Fu Tom,’ I start preparing breakfast. This fella knows what he wants. First it’s Shreddies, with a dash of whole milk, then some toast, with a spattering of honey, and then some milk served in a very specific cup. “Does it really matter if the cup is red?” I silently muse, but I smile politely, proffer the requested beverage and watch him devour the offerings like Henry VIII at a medieval banquet. I allow myself a small smile. I’m through the first hurdle. My first task is done.
7.55am. Uh oh. I was getting ahead of myself with my smugness. My other boss bounds into the kitchen, dishevelled with a steely look on her face and a tattered bunny under her arm. I start all over again, but her demands are different. Porridge, with honey and cinnamon, in a pink bowl, along with a purple straw beaker filled to 75% capacity with water. She’s precise with impressive attention to detail. She joins the conference call and I am allowed 3 minutes to drink cold coffee over the sink and eat the discarded crusts of some toast.
I’m no rookie. I know these people. We’ve worked together before. But this is different. This is full time, with no other focus or job to turn my attention to. Shit just got real.
8.30am. I check the schedule. We need to be out and ready for the SMT’s development day in 90 mins. I say development day. It’s more of a swimming lesson, but they’ve dressed it up to sound like they’re getting together for the greater good of the company. Typical management bollocks.
This is going to be challenging, as I need to make myself presentable whilst assisting both Bosses not only to get dressed but also to pack appropriate kit. I’ve always been pretty good at multi tasking, but this is a new level of coordination and concentration. This is the stuff Olympians are made of.
Boss 1 appears to be ready and so I foolishly turn my attention to Boss 2, as both her legs are stuck in some trousers like a mermaid. She thinks it’s hilarious and I’m hesitant to challenge her so early on in the day, so I bite my lip and carry on trying to assemble and apply something that resembles an outfit. She’s done, we’re nearly there. But as I turn around Boss 1 has removed all of his clothes, has a sock on his private parts and is wearing his top on his head, flopping around the arms like spaniels ears and shouting ‘I’m a doggy!’ I make a mental note of how inappropriate this is, in case I need to involve a union later on.
9.30am. Where has the last hour gone? How can we still be taking turns at getting dressed and undressed? Boss 1 is now wearing a combination of Thor, Spiderman and Rainbow Dash and Boss 2 has stuck with normal clothes but found my make up and looks like a French 1890’s prostitute. It will do. We leave the house in a mild panic, and it’s only after they’re both strapped into their car seats I realise I’m wearing a Jason Donavon t shirt and plaid pyjama bottoms. We all go back into the house and I change in 5 seconds, brush and put my hair up in another 5 seconds and we are back out in the car before you can say ‘parental discrimination.’ Surely I’m allowed more time for myself than this? I put these negative thoughts to the back of my mind and push on.
10.00am. We are late. So late. We run into the leisure centre and already I am losing my cool. The pressure of this job is intense. Trying to coordinate people who don’t want to be coordinated is always going to be tricky, but it feels like they’re conspiring against me. In a haze of ‘ohfuckedyfuck’ I manage to get them into their swimming costumes and in the pool before the cut off time. Phew.
I might be able to take a minute for a hot coffee. I could pee without being incessantly shouted at. I could close my eyes and quieten my anxious soul.
Not today chica. The tannoy announcement broke me from my reverie and when I heard my name, I knew that being beckoned back so soon wasn’t a good sign. Boss 1 had squeezed out a huge shit in the pool and closed it down. Now everyone is mad at me. Boss 1 and Boss 2 are mad that we have to go home. The lifeguards are mad that they have to start scooping up human faeces with a sieve. The other workers, all with their respective Bosses, are furious that their efforts to get this far have been scuppered by a floating turd. How is this my fault? I push the embarrassment and anger down deep inside and focus on getting both of them dressed for the 411th time that day.
12.30pm. I’m back in the boardroom. I’m now attempting to cook a healthy nutritious meal in difficult circumstances. There are various elements of hot danger, and Boss 2 is hangry and determined to throw a Peppa Pig ball around whilst crying for fishfingers and shouting at Boss 1. Boss 1 isn’t arsed, he’s still on a high from the mornings events and the power trip of shutting down an entire swimming pool.
I combine the main food groups, protein, vegetables, carbohydrates, but all are greeted with utter disdain. How can I be getting this so wrong? Who doesn’t like cottage pie, peas and carrots? But the Nay’s have it, and they will not be swayed by reasoning or bribery. They are not hungry enough for this shit. Until it’s in the compost bin and then they’re starving. I find them both in the pantry, using some Cadbury’s chocolate fingers to spear beef Hula Hoops. I can’t help but protest this time, but my cries fall on deaf ears. I retrieve the cottage pie from the bin and eat it, silently in a corner, watching the clock and counting the hours until I can enjoy warm food, peace and quiet once again.
3.00pm. The determination I had this morning to do well has faded fast. I give less shits than I did 7 and a half hours ago. I’ve had no lunch hour. I was hoping to watch Game of Thrones as I noted Play Doh was scheduled for 1.00pm, but this was apparently not OK. At 1.30pm I was called into a disciplinary meeting where both bosses gave it full barrels, shouting at me about my lack of engagement with the Playmobil dolls house and inability to help them remove permanent pen from a colouring book. I tried to explain that I’d already put all the parts of the dolls house in position 27 times prior to this rather harsh meeting, but it’s hard to hear when you are wearing a witches hat and bouncing on a space hopper.
5.00pm. In the boardroom – again. I should just take up office in here. This job requires a lot of catering and cleaning up. To a very unreceptive audience. I’m getting pretty good at sweeping whilst fetching more water/ bread with butter/ no I said WITHOUT butter/ a new fork/ a straw. I check my Fitbit. 16,374 steps. Not bad considering I’ve done no formal exercise. Most of that is just going back and forth to the meeting table with more essentials. It’s odd that despite doing everything I’ve been asked, along with using my initiative – both Bosses seem pretty unimpressed with my performance so far. I’m deflated, hungry and my right eye has developed a weird twitch from holding in profanities all day.
7.00pm. The home straight. I’ve enlisted help. My colleague has returned from his other job and is now helping me to round up the Bosses for bath time, which is a good thing as for some reason they are both now completely unreasonable and hearing very different things to what we’re saying. We politely ask them to “go upstairs please”, they hear “piss around with a train track.”
I’m grateful for my colleague, more than he will ever know. I don’t know how people do this alone, and I have the most respect for those who do. We get the Bosses into the bath and face the inevitable meltdowns; one wants bubbles, the other definitely does not. But I’m nearly 12 hours in and I’ve now come to the conclusion you can’t please everyone.
7.30pm. Story time. We divide and conquer. I take Boss 2, my colleague takes Boss 1 and we spend the last part of our day negotiating between the writings of Dr Seuss or Julia Donaldson. I’m not sure why we’re bothering, as I suspect neither will command full attention but we carry on regardless.
8.00pm. Boss 2 is asleep. Boss 1 keeps coming out of his room to tell us various things he’d forgotten to mention during the past 12.5 fun filled hours:
- He’s very thirsty. Do you know how much he loves water and needs more now?
- He loves me more than chocolate brioche. Despite the terrible working conditions I can’t help but be pleased by this quick appraisal, and hope it’s noted in my SMART objectives.
- The orange thermometer he has had in his room for his entire life now scares the bejesus out of him and needs to be removed, immediately.
- He needs a wee. Apparently he knows this in the evening but cannot quite put his finger on the feeling of being desperate during the day, hence dancing from one foot to the other proclaiming he definitely doesn’t need the toilet.
- He’s hot then he’s cold, he’s yes then he’s no, he’s in then he’s out, he’s up then he’s down. Katy Perry was BANG on.
8.30pm. Boss 1 is asleep. I sink into the sofa and take a deep breath. The working day appears to be over. Except I haven’t done half of the things on my ‘To do’ list. I haven’t put away the washing. I haven’t made dinner for me and my colleague. I haven’t done an Ocado shop. I haven’t drank enough water and have a dehydration headache. I’ve only achieved these two things:
- Keep Bosses alive, fed and (mostly) happy
- Write blog
Until next time, peace out. N ♥