It was the first day of a new job, writing training manuals for my new boss and her beauty business.
I tried to plug in my laptop. “Let me do it!” she shouted, diving beneath the desk: “Health and safety! It’s not safe for you to do it”.
She waved a sheath of typed pages under my nose. “This is what I want you to type up. I wrote it on my computer, I just want you to put it into a nice format.”
“If you’ve already done it on your computer”, I asked, “could you email me the file? I could just reformat it then. It makes more sense than me typing it from scratch.”
“No. I don’t want to get a virus from your computer.”
“You won’t get a virus from emailing me a file.”
“No. I don’t want to do that. Just type it up.”
“That doesn’t seem to be the best use of time.”
“Just type it up.”
So, I started typing up the notes while she stood behind my shoulder, watching me type. After ten minutes of this, she finally spoke:
“I don’t think you want this job, do you?”
“Your body language is telling me that you don’t want the job.”
“Look at you, with your shoulders all hunched up. You think this job’s beneath you, don’t you.”
“What? I do want this job. But you don’t seem to want me here.”
“That’s right, I don’t want you here because your body language tells me that you don’t want this job. You should go now.”
Baffled, I closed my laptop and went to unplug it.
“No!” she shouted, diving under the desk again. “Health and safety! I must unplug it for you.”
I grabbed my laptop and left. It was less than forty minutes from arrival to sacking. It remains one of the strangest – and definitely the shortest – jobs I’ve ever done.