I have been accused in the past of not taking life seriously enough. I once had a job interview where one of the panel said that she was interested in my problem-solving skills. She proceeded to ask me what I would do if the heating in my flat was broken. Now this is a downright silly question to ask when interviewing someone for a teaching post. I decided to give the honest answer. I said “I’d phone my mother and ask her what to do.” The rest of the interviewing panel burst out laughing. The woman who had asked me the question said “Hmm…ask an expert” and started scribbling furiously.
I was offered the job. I’m still not sure what the “right” answer for this question is, but my answer works.
I had been taking my banking crisis seriously. I had written a lovely professional budget and proposal for the bank. After sending that I had a phonecall from a particularly frosty Credit Operations Customer “Service” Officer. She tutted and huffed and puffed. She sent me out a standard form Bank of Ireland budget form. It is possibly the worst designed budget document of all time, with silly questions like “If not in permanent employment, please explain.” Explain! Explain what? Explain that permanent jobs are a thing of the past, that with the increasing onslaught of technology the rapidly changing jobs market does not lend itself to permanent employment? Is that the kind of answer they were looking for? It wasn’t the answer I gave, but really. In the budget part of the form, they’d handily put a space for “income from rental properties abroad” and “cost of life assurance” but had failed to include a space for “rent” or “food”. Really? Really?
I crossed out “childcare” and put “food!” instead (the exclamation mark stood for “you idiots!”) I crossed out “life assurance” and wrote “rent!!!” (three exclamation marks standing for “you ridiculous buffoons!”).
The form also asked how I intended to make up the money I owed the bank, and I said “I’ll keep an eye out for other jobs and if I have to I might sell some of my stuff”.
I like to think my tone warmed the heart of those bankers, because I had a lovely call from a lady in Credit Operations today. She told me that it’d all be fine, they’d stop looking for my arrears till February, they’d reduce my repayments and they’d be happy to talk restructuring the loan at a later date. They’d also forget about closing my current account- our “relationship” can’t be that “unsatisfactory” after all.
So I won’t bother you with my financial woes again in the near future. I still have a stone to lose by Christmas and a PhD to do.