I am very definitely a brunette (with streaks of grey these days). Why then, did my best friend teach my other friends how to sign 'blonde roots' a few years ago? And why is there a Barbie doll perched on my desk? In recent years, I thought perhaps motherhood had made me less scatty and the blonde moments had diminished. I thought perhaps I'd learned, at the very least, to think before I speak. It would, however, appear not...
Picture the scene. Holding down a senior-ish role in a retail bank, interviewing with a number of colleagues for our graduate intake. Marketing director presenting to them on why they want to work with us. Asks us to introduce ourselves. Hip HR graduate recruiter asks the graduates to share an interesting fact and encourages us to do the same. 4 graddies go first. Then colleague number 1 - her interesting fact is that she joined the graduate scheme at said bank in 1994. Colleague number 2 - his interesting fact is that he was a graduate for a large accountancy firm. And then it's me.
'I don't know about you' I say to the graduates 'but I'm not sure those were particularly interesting facts'. I wanted to reassure then that not everyone working for a bank is dull. I pause - not for dramatic effect but because, although I know what I want to say, I suddenly realise it might not be such a good idea to admit to it in front of the marketing director. But, by this time, my mind is blank and I cannot think of any other interesting facts - I am committed. I was going to share with them that whilst, by day, I worry about mortgage margins, by night, I design some adverts for my friends who own a lingerie shop.
What I say is 'in my spare time I do some advertising for a lingerie company'. Even as the room bursts into fits of laughter, it takes my bossfriend (interesting fact 'he's not a graduate') to explain that they're not laughing because my interesting fact is, well, interesting. They actually think I've just told them that I am a lingerie model.
Oh well, I think I achieved my objective (you don't have to be dull to work at a bank) and managed to put the graduates at ease. I gave my colleagues a good laugh and I imagine the marketing director won't forget me in a hurry. There are some lovely young people who for a second believed I could be a lingerie model (or perhaps that's really why they were laughing...). And, once I'd recovered from the embarrasment, I smiled until my jaw ached for the rest of they day.