I didn’t think it would be that hard. My privileged upbringing, the best education money could buy and the added bonus that I had got really good marks in my LLB meant that I couldn’t do anything but take London town by storm. A few days, I thought, a few days and my fine legal mind and obvious abilities will be recognised and I’d be on my way. Oh the folly of youth. I began a round of interviews to register with employment agencies. Ho Hum – the interviewers glossed over the fact that I went to one of the very best schools in South Africa and was a finalist in the 1992 young historians competition. “Oh” they said “you’ve done a computer course”. Yes folks, 12 years of private school education and five years of University meant nothing in the face of the eight day Coopers & Lybrand course I did just prior to leaving Durban to make my fortune (Dick Whittington Style) in London. “How fast can you type?” was the very next question followed by “do you know how to operate a switchboard?”. I’ll save myself the humiliation of detailing how badly I did on both of those tests. The upshot was that the answer to the first question was “not very fast
at all” and the second “monkeys trying to type Shakespeare would have done a better
job than you”. Luckily the woman who dealt with me at Career Legal was very kind and managed to find me a job. My first real world job was as “Under-receptionist”. I opened the door, took the coats, made the coffee and ordered the sandwiches. It was all I was qualified to do.