‘I must be the only transition year student ever to fill in his work experience questionnaire at gunpoint’

Illustration: Alan Clarke

Illustration: Alan Clarke

Sat, Jun 14, 2014, 01:00

I ’m in my old man’s office on Fitzwilliam Square, looking out the window, quietly reminiscing about the time I did my work experience in here – or in actual fact down there in the cor pork, burning documents in a barrel. You’d have to say that was eight weeks well spent, considering what I’ve ended up doing for a living, although now I actually shred paperwork, instead of dousing it with petrol and dropping a match onto it, with Hennessy Coghlan-O’Hara standing over me, going, “I got a shovel in my car and a strong stomach. You breathe a word of this to a living soul and the next time anyone sees you, it’ll be as fossil fuel.”

I must be the only transition year student ever to fill in his work experience questionnaire at gunpoint.

“A penny for your thoughts,” I hear the old man suddenly go. I turn around and there he is, larger than literally life.

I’m there, “I was just thinking about what a focking crook you are and how it’s a miracle that you’re not still in prison.”

“Well, amen to that!” he goes, fixing himself a brandy from the bar globe drinks cabinet that Charlie Haughey supposedly bought him as a wedding present. “You know, I’m often asked by young, budding entrepreneurs, ‘What’s the most important thing you need to succeed in business?’ And I tell them, ‘You’re going to need a bloody good solicitor and a bloody good best friend. And if you can find those qualities in a single person, then you’ve got yourself a winning ticket in the lottery of life!’”

I decide to suddenly burst his bubble.

I’m there, “Whenever you’re pissed, you always say the most important thing in business is to have a Go Bag ready at all times.”

“A what?” he has the actual balls to go.

I’m there, “A Go Bag! Toothbrush, torch, tin-opener, fake passport, hair dye . . . ”

He’s like, “Oh, yes, of course! But who do you think taught me about the importance of the Go Bag? My solicitor, best friend and godfather to my son and heir to the family overdraft, Mr Hennessy Coghlan . . . ”

“Dude,” I go, “can we dispense with the pleasantries. Why have you called me in here today?”

He sits down at his desk. He’s suddenly serious. He’s like, “Kicker, I don’t think I could express in words just how proud I am of the success you’ve made of Shred Focking Everything. In the last 12 months alone, we’ve more than doubled our order book.”

“I’m patting myself on the back here,” I go, “but that’s mainly down to me putting in crazy hours. Last week I worked three days straight – and that’s literally.”

“Well, it hasn’t gone unnoticed, Ross. That’s why I think it’s time that we increased the company workforce. How would you feel about taking on an intern?”

“What’s an intern?”

“Let me put it to you this way, Ross. Someone who is prepared to work long hours in poor conditions for low wages is known is a sweatshop slave. But someone who is prepared to work long hours in poor conditions for no wages is known as an intern.”

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