Fine Boy, Boy for Sale

As part of Tinson2’s Transition Year he has to get Work Experience. For two weeks during October and another one next April he has to find some employer willing to take on an enthusiastic young man keen to do any job at all, for no pay.

Should be a doddle in these recessionary times, but most employers are unwilling to bite, having been bitten before, and that sentence makes more sense than it appears to at first sight. During the boom years anyone who worked in a company with a staff of more than about five got used to seeing every now and then a fresh-faced, red-faced, zit-faced teenager loping about the office with a walk that suggested he was on a trampoline, but only from the waist up. Overworked as we all were in those days we eagerly gave this Godsend any dull and easy-to-explain job that we didn’t want to do ourselves. Unfortunately the jobs turned out not to be as easy-to-explain as we had thought, especially to a hormone-volcano who was appearing to be listening, but instead was gaping at all the women in skirts and high-heels. You’d explain, he’d nod enthusiastically all the way through your explanation, then he’d tear off like the hare at the start of that race. He’d return remarkably quickly to say that the job was done, someone else would send him off to do something even more mundane, and this would continue until the end of his tenure.

It was only when he was gone that you’d remember that it was the tortoise who actually won that race, possibly because the hare got held up trying to undo something that his Transition Year student had done, and you’d realise that the word “Godsend” was actually “God’s end”, i.e., something that made you give up your faith in despair.

We still dread anyone asking us if we have a copy of any invoice from 2008. A guy in Accounts, almost a year behind with his filing, (he himself was a TY student trapped in the body of a 30-year old) got a young visitor to do it all. At the time the invoices were filed alphabetically (we’ve stopped that now), and if the phrase “thinking outside the box” actually means anything, then it describes what we have to do when we’re trying to guess where our student might have filed something.

I usually start with “V”, since that’s the first letter of our company name. This name will, of course, appear quite near the top of most invoices sent to us, so it’s an understandable mistake, especially since he probably knew our company only as “that place where my friend’s dad works”. He threw me a bit with a bill from the Clarence Hotel, where we had held a conference, but I eventually found it under “M”, since the hotel had addressed to bill to a girl in our place called Mary.

I’ve also found an invoice from Dell filed under “S”, presumably because it was filed by the Student.

None of this, of course, has any relevance to my own dear son, who will, if any of you have a vacancy, be the very model of hard work and efficiency. It’s not quite that simple, however. The Work Experience guidelines state that the work should be in the field in which the student wishes to pursue an eventual career.

And Tinson2’s favourite subjects are Woodwork and Metalwork.

This means that he has to find a boss who is willing to to allow a 15-year old get hands-on (and hopefully staying that way) experience with chisels, planes and lathes, or who is willing to turn a blind eye (or indeed risk having said eye blinded) while Tinson2 discovers that making a tuba on a bandsaw isn’t as easy as it looks.

And if such an employer exists, I’m not letting Tinson2 work for him.

1 thought on “Fine Boy, Boy for Sale

  1. Jo

    This is a beautifully descriptive post! But hang on now – my bro did his transition year w.e. with a metal worker in Newcastle, Brian Smith, and he neither injured himself nor anyone else and made nice things, and developed a short lived tea drinking habit. It was all v positive.


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