Welcome to a weekly life and relationships column by Iris Owen, aka Nectarine Girl – the reigning queen of Depop, fame-hungry wordsmith, and author of the wackiest newsletter in London, Nectarine News.
Workin’ 9 – 5, what a way to make a livin’! Personally, I prefer working flexible hours, but that isn’t quite as catchy, is it?
They say if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life. I recently found an old letter I’d written for a Year 9 school assignment titled “Dear 25-year-old me”. This precious artifact goes into great detail about the Beverly Hills mansion I’ll own, the six children I’ll bear with Zac Efron, the pink Suzuki Jeep I’ll drive. Most importantly, it mentions my two ideal career paths: either becoming incredibly famous or working in Marks & Spencer. You can’t say I wasn’t ambitious.
To this day, world-dominating fame and working at M&S both seem equally as unattainable. My application to become a shelf-stocker at the Holborn branch didn’t go down well; I decided to skip filling out the traditional online form in favour of sending in a handwritten declaration of love to Marksy’s HQ, or what normal people would call a cover letter. I even spritzed the envelope with perfume – still, it didn’t catch their attention. Mr Spencer, if you’re reading this, I won’t let you down.
In order to bag your dream job, identifying your strengths and weaknesses is a good place to start. For one, I know that I am extremely technically inept, which makes even updating my CV on Word a chore. On the other hand, I’m a fabulous liar. My most up-to-date Curriculum Vitae states that I am extremely proficient with computers and that I have a passion for Excel. I even chucked in that I was fluent in Latin for good measure. Who’s going to check that, eh?
I got my first job through complete and utter tomfoolery. I was desperate to work for a well-known luxury gym group and, after failing the lifeguard test, decided to apply for the female cleaner role they happened to have advertised. In the interview room (aka the benches in reception), I was asked about my experience with heavy duty chemicals. I duly replied: “Have you seen my hair, babe? Takes a hell of a lot of bleach to look like this.”
This particular gig quickly became my dream job after I realised my male manager couldn’t come into the female changing rooms to monitor my work. My rigorous routine of watching Gossip Girl on my phone and occasionally wiping down surfaces lasted about six months, give or take. All good things must come to an end. I was fired when they found out I’d been selling my free membership online.
After this incident, I made an effort to get back on the straight and narrow. I landed a part-time salad spinner role at healthy eating restaurant Tossed. My only duty: to mix ingredients in a bowl for the city workers of Aldgate, while donning a cap that read “I’m a Tosser”. On my fifth (and final) day of tossing, a stock take indicated there was a significant number of missing falafels. As the only veggie in the room, fingers were swiftly pointed my way and I was dismissed. I left with my head held high until they ran after me and asked for the cap back.
Here’s another thing they like to say: “It’s all about who you know.” Well, thanks to the internet, you can know anyone these days, and I’d highly recommend engaging in some heavy stalking prior to a job interview. I like to start on LinkedIn for the basics, before delving into social media to extract some dirt.
Ultimately, confidence is key and patience is a virtue (I’m at it with the one-liners today). Your dream job could be right beneath your nose, especially if you’re training to be a dentist. I might not be famous yet, nor am I stacking shelves at M&S, but I’m not giving up on either of those dreams. And neither should you.