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Monday, 23 March 2015
On leaving school in 1964 I'd turned down a place to study Architecture (don't ask), so I needed to find myself a job.
I really don't know what went through my mind, but I finally decided to offer my services to The London Stock Exchange.
I perused the financial press (FT) to see who was recruiting, and plumped for one of the top-notch brokers called Sebag Montefiore and Co.
I should mention at this stage that the word 'interview' had never been mentioned at my school, and I really didn't know what to expect. I certainly wasn't expecting to be thrown to Lions.
The interview room at Sebag's was dark oak panelled, sprinkled with Old-Masters, and contained very little furniture. There was one large heavy curved antique Chippendale desk behind which were about 10 chairs, and on the other side, in the middle of the room, another single plain chair for 'the accused'.
My interrogators were all of the 'crusty, multi-millionaire, ex-guards officer, city magnate' ilk, and all six of them were extremely intimidating to say the least. I was thrown complicated questions, asked for a sample of my handwriting, and made to feel like a naughty schoolboy who'd gone through the wrong door by mistake. It was a nightmare.
Needless to say, my lack of blue-blood and no millions in the bank, lead to my receiving a 'thanks but no thanks' letter in the next day's post. In many ways I was extremely relieved.
I continued to peruse the FT and found another top broker who was looking for a trainee 'blue button'; Sheppards and Co were the oldest firm of stockbrokers in The City, and highly regarded.
Here my interview was a 'one to one' affair in a pleasant airy office. I was offered the job, told that my salary would be 500 guineas per annum, and instructed to report for work in a week's time.
N.B. Unfortunately, on the day my employment began (a Monday), there hadn't been time to visit my tailor to collect my new City style suit, and I was sent home; they weren't going to have some pipsqueak in a school suit working for them!
I picked-up the suit, bought myself a bowler and brolly, and started the following day, feeling suitably chastised.
I sincerely hope that present day school children are better prepared about interviews than I was.
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The difference between an optimist and a pessimist, is that the optimist enjoys himself whilst waiting for the inevitable! I AM that optimist!
This is a daily, optimistic, 'photos and comments' blog. I make no judgements (only occasionally), just notes. If you wish to comment in any way at all, please feel free. Everything and everyone (except the obdurate and dictatorial) is very welcome.
I was born just south of London, but for the past 46 years I've lived in S W France. I am a painter by profession, and writer by desire. Lady Magnon and I live in an ancient cottage, in a tiny village, in perfectly tranquil countryside. We have a vegetable garden called 'Haddock's' (this may crop up from time to time), plenty of fruit trees, and a view that takes the breath away; we also have a Border Collie called Billy. I try to treat our planet with respect, and encourage others to do likewise (without preaching).
Contentment is a glass of red, a plate of charcuterie, and a slice of good country bread. Perfect!