In My Father’s Words
03/07/1938 – 18/10/2018
So You’d Like A Job?
“Why do you want this job?”
I looked at the speaker and something exploded in my head. Why do you think I want the job, you stupid pillock? Because I am sodding well unemployed. Because I want to feed my kids, put clothes on their backs, buy a house and a car and live a normal bloody life. That’s why.
I said none of that, of course. “I think it would be a challenge and I feel my skills set and experience are suitable.”
Skills set? Where in God’s name did you find that one? I don’t believe you have just said that, Matier? This interview wasn’t going too well. It had all started back in January 1977 when I returned from twelve years in Australia. I had signed on the dole, went where they sent me, answered job ads in the Daily Telegraph and spent lots of time in the Llanrwst Library.
I listed the top 100 companies in the UK and wrote to them with my CV. Looking back now, I cringe when I look at that CV; it was truly dreadful. Still I got about ninety replies and seven or eight interviews. And so, on this bright spring afternoon, I presented myself at the Reception desk at Shell UK in the Strand. I was met by a young man of about twenty two, blonde haired and eyes of baby blue.
“Hello, I’m Justin, from ER,” he simpered and shook hands in that limp wristed way that still makes my skin crawl. He took me to a fifth floor meeting room. “Mr Trintrell, from our Security Department will be here in a moment.”
I looked up in alarm. “John Trintrell?”
“Yes, do you know him?”
I smiled, “Yes we met a few years ago, in FEAF.” Inwardly I groaned.
Justin frowned, giving his face a childish aspect. “FEAF?”
“Far East Air Force.”
“Oh, I understand.” Clearly he did not, but I was disinclined to elaborate.
One week after my arrival in Penang as Station Security Officer for RAAF Butterworth, John, and his cowboys from HQ in Singapore, had raided my station at night and planted about two dozen little stickers on the tail planes of my Mirage fighters. The stickers were succinct: This aircraft has been blown up. The following morning, I had to sit squirming through John’s briefing of my Station Commander.
Subsequently, I met John a couple of times at Provost Officers’ conferences in Singapore, and again in 1970 when he was required to act as guide on my visit to the RAF Police Training School at Saffron Walden. I think he was pretty brassed off, as I was, by this time, a flight lieutenant, a rank achieved after four years. John was the same rank after twenty-five years.
The interview was not going well. “I see you are living in North Wales.”
Bloody observant of you, John. “Yes, I am.”
“Will you miss it when you move?”
Oh yes, you dipstick, I will be devastated at not seeing the mountains, the millions of sheep and everything dripping with rain. Be careful, John is a Taffy, no sense of irony, and no sense of humour.
“You have to make sacrifices for the job,” I replied honestly, thinking mainly of this interview. We weren’t going anywhere and finally it was over. Justin skipped off and John, who had never once given the slightest hint that he had ever met me, leaned across and hissed, his black eyes full of malice, “You’ll never get a job this way, boyo.”
Deeply depressed, I wandered along the Strand to Embankment tube station to go home. My depression lasted a week or so until I had an interview at Mobil.
Here I was met by Trevor Johnstone from ER. Trevor was also homosexual. Perhaps it was a job requirement. Despite not sharing the same enthusiasms, we are still friends. I was interviewed by Trevor and a Peter Hullan, a Dubliner and ex major in the Royal Military Police. I kept my anti Catholic views to myself and got the job.
After collecting my first bunch of business cards, I penned a little note to John Trintrell
Thanks for seeing me recently. I thought you would like my business card. You will see that I have responsibility for all of our facilities in the UK and Irish Republic, not just the one building, as with Shell. Incidentally, my salary is £1000 a year more that Shell was offering, boyo.”
Revenge, as they say, is a dish best eaten cold.
Written by BM