Tag: Stories

Sometimes, It’s Just Not Our Day

For a time, I was Stage Door Keeper at Her Majesty’s Theatre on the Haymarket in London. [Where you could still go and watch ‘Phantom of the Opera’ tonight if you wanted!] It’s one of those jobs where you get to know everyone, and hear everything … I was there during a cast change. Contracts were usually 12 months, so every year a couple of the roles would go to new people. Auditions had been

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When It’s On You – Say So

Autumn 2001, a friend and I are promoting a pantomime. I’ve never done this before, so am learning as I go from my significantly more experienced friend. He has the great idea of running a competition for tickets in collaboration with the local radio station. “I’m going on the breakfast show to do an interview – why don’t you tag along?” he says. We turn up, meet the DJ and sit in front of those

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Winning Doesn’t Make You Right

Back to 1995, and I’m selling business telephone systems. [Spoiler alert – it didn’t last long.] Our sales trainer was a larger-than-life North Londoner. The sort of guy for whom selling was a competition, with winners and losers. “And I hate losers.” The first part of the sales process was getting past whoever answered the phone, and through to the right person. One of the key techniques was to be confident – to sound like

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The Best Boss I Ever Had

At 12, I started working as a kitchen porter at a local hotel. [Yep, 12. It was run by my best friend’s mum and dad, and they were big fans of illegal child labour!] First day – I absolutely hated it. I was doing cutlery, and can vividly remember how utterly bored I was. But I worked in that kitchen every year until I left school at 18. [I eventually moved on from cutlery. The

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When Culture Goes Wrong

Late ’95, I moved to London for the second time and got a job as a luggage porter at a swanky hotel near Marble Arch. I’d worked in a hotel before, loved it, and thought this would be the same … Didn’t quite work out like that. Tips were everything, and £100 a shift wasn’t particularly unusual. In theory, there was a complicated ‘honour’ system in place that dictated how tips were divided – but

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Overpromising and Underdelivering

PART 1 :: My First Business I started my first business when I was 9. I built a go-kart, and painted it red, black and white. In the back of my geography exercise book, I roughed out a business plan. 2p a ride down the hill opposite Mum and Dad’s house. I reckoned I could easily do 50 rides a day … 9-year-old me was going to be rich! I told my friends about it

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