SC Skillman
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What are your previous jobs?

I have worked in admin in the following places: in London – BBC Schools Radio, the British Council Visitors Department, the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Queen Mary College, University of London, and the Church Mission Society. In Kent – the Chairman’s office at the Kent Messenger, and the European School of Osteopathy. In Australia – the University of Queensland and the Brisbane City Council. In Warwickshire – the University of Warwick, the Church Pastoral Aid Society, Social Services, and the NHS - far too many to contemplate, and these don’t include all my various temp jobs.

I once had a temp assignment with a company which lost its opportunity to change the course of history – a firm in Tunbridge Wells which supplied ceiling tiles and partitions to the Middle East, and which had supplied and fitted a suspended ceiling to one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces just before the Gulf War. One of the directors said to me, “We should have installed a device up there which emitted a poison gas…” They were subsequently to discover how they might have changed the course of world history over the next two decades.

On another occasion, whilst working as a shop assistant at Swan & Edgar department store in Piccadilly Circus during the Christmas rush, I accidentally threw the till off the counter onto the floor. The impact reverberated around the entire festive gifts department. My line manager, a prototype for Mr Humphries, picked it up and replaced it on the counter with smoothness and panache, and said to me, “Don’t you like this till?” We then carried on serving customers as if nothing had happened. 

What was the first job you ever had?

At the age of fifteen, I took a school holiday job on the assembly line at Morphy Richards factory in St Mary Cray, Kent. I was one of the team making pop-up toasters. My job was to put the spring in that actually created the “pop-up”. Despite the fact that I had been given a dexterity test before getting the job, every so often I lost my grip on the springs and they would ping across the aisle, in through the entrance to the ladies toilets.

What are the best and the worst jobs you’ve ever had?

The best was at the BBC, where I worked with lively and witty producers, presenters, broadcasters, scriptwriters, actors, studio managers and all kinds of creative people and had great fun recording programmes both in studio and on location.

The worst was a job as a temp at a company called “Imported Meat Trades Ltd” (I’m a vegetarian). After the first day I was asked not to come back again.