As I brace myself for another job hunt in trying times, I am reminded of the first job I got in Edinburgh. Scouring the classifieds, I came across an advert for a marketing position “no experience required” (that should’ve tipped me off right there) and I duly applied with naïve enthusiasm. On my first day, I arrived early, smartly kitted out in my sharp business suit and heels (yes, I do own a pair). No one was around but I could hear loud shouts and clapping and cheers from the basement. I later learnt that this was a daily ritual to get all the “marketers” psyched before hitting the road for the day. At the appointed hour I was handed 2 large duffel bags and a “minder” to show me the ropes. On the job training, excellent. We spent the rest of the day schlepping our bags around the city, alternating between taking the bus and walking. One vicious old duck on the bus pointed a bony finger at us and said loudly “you’re no better than thieves”.
I made my debut mid-afternoon, when my mentor thought I was ready – or maybe he just chickened out, in a bar filled with merry men that had obviously been drinking for several hours, if indeed, they had ever stopped. I was trying to sell battery operated hopping, optimistic – more of a shuffle really – obviously not related to the Duracell family of bunnies, Easter bunnies – 8 days after Easter. You can let your imagination run wild at this point.
At the end of the day my feet were in agony, so glad to have worn heels, and my humiliation was complete when I got lost trying to get home. I think I started crying as soon as Graham opened the door. Needless to say, I did not return for day 2!
So I feel some sympathy – empathy would be presumptuous – then for the Jehovah Witnesses that go door to door, trying to spread the Good Word. The abuse heaped on them must be truly eviscerating. I went on a tour of Dachau concentration camp, a working camp rather than an extermination camp, several years ago, and learnt many interesting things – the relevant one here: many JW’s were imprisoned at Dachau (amongst opposition politicians, artists, homosexuals, gypsies and academics), and to regain their freedom all they had to do was sign a document renouncing their faith. There is no record of a single JW ever having signed such a document at Dachau. I find that inspiring.