A woman for all seasons

7th December 2007 at 00:00
The postman arrives early.A letter from council HQ. Yes, I'm on the long leet for the vacancy. Am I the token woman? Or the token primary person? Lars, the council champion, is keen on Equality. He came from Croydon, and everyone there was equal, although whether all residents enjoyed his lavish lifestyle is open to debate.

The interviews were to be a series of one-to-one sessions with "key decision-makers" and the external consultants, who, in an amazing coincidence, came from Croydon.

Fail to prepare and you will prepare to fail. I read that once in a magazine at the hairdresser's and it is good advice.

I tried to find out the names of my opposition. The two heads of service were being seen, as was the heidie of the academy and someone from the university. The external candidates were coming later in the week, as it was half-term in Croydon.

I sought advice from my better half but, in his rare moments of lucid conversation, he advised me to keep buying National Lottery tickets and joked that Lars and Co would appoint a one-legged, gay, vertically-challenged person from one of Croydon's ethnic communities - all things being equal.

I discovered that the panellists would be Julia, Lib Dem and education spokesperson of the Rainbow Alliance; Councillor McIntyre, the leader of the SNP; Councillor Robertson, a Tory veteran; and Councillor McGregor, the Labour group leader. And the others - Arthur, chief executive; Hugh, director of legal services; and Tarquin of Super Size Search, the consultants.

Preparation needed to be thorough. Dress was important, but a poor second to accessories. Cometh the panellist, cometh the handbag contents. I spent hours "Googling" the panel and afterwards I felt I knew them personally.

I arrived in plenty of time, and headed for the interview rooms. My oversize bag drew some attention, but I knew its importance. First up was Mr McIntyre, and I prepared in the loo. Tartan ribbon in the hair, heather brooch and a convenient lapse into the odd word of Doric. He was originally from Peterheid. A quick dash to the loo to prepare for the bold chief executive. Lose the ribbon and brooch, clip on the Harley Davidson badge. Arthur was a sucker for motor bikes, part of his Peter Pan complex, and his blood-shot eyes immediately fixed on my Harley accessories. I knew enough about bikes to bluff my way through the 15 minutes. All I had to say was "I didn't know you were a biker, Arthur," and the rest was a monologue of brilliant boredom.

Jean on the reception desk must have thought I had a bladder weakness, as I dashed off to the dressing roomtoilet for my next performanceinterview.

Next up was Mr McGregor, ex TUC, shop steward and chairman of the local trades council.

(To be continued).

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