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I think I can equal Pani's employment record - and maybe better it in terms of disaster and doom.

My first job was aged 14 when my mother dragged her reluctant teenager over to the local bakery and said, 'she is very keen to have the job'. One look at my sulky face must have convinced the proprietor otherwise, but she knew a pushy mother if she saw one, and accepted me then and there.

So every Saturday I spent 8 hours serving bloomers, tins and large or small cottages (you had to learn a whole new language). There was another menial like me - her name was Bev and she was tall, willowy and beautiful - Mrs L would often beam at her approvingly and fondly; then her eyes would light upon me and narrow to a cold stony glare.

She set me to sweeping the back room with a broom -to me it seemed logical to make small piles in various areas, to be picked up in a while with dustpan and brush, but Mrs L ridiculed my technique and said she had never seen anyone worse at broom technique. This wasn't as bad as it sounds cos she didn't bother asking me again.

Mrs L announced one day that the till was short daily by the magnificent sum of 5p. The culprit had to be either me or Bev: my guilt seemed proven when Bev took a day off and the till was still short by 5p. When I took a day off the till was also short by 5p - it mysteriously never got mentioned again.

Since I was expanding widthwise daily - I explained to my mum that I never ATE the unsold cakes, just licked off the icing and the cream - mumsy decided that it would be a good idea to change my job for me.

Next I became a waitress in the local Mini Restaurant. Like cake selling, I seemed to have little talent for it - my hat, shaped like an upended paper boat, kept falling off onto plates of steak and kidney pies as I served them. When this happened the approved protocol was to apologise, trot back to the kitchen with the sullied food, wait five minutes, then bring it back out again beaming.

I was so bad at waitressing that the proprietor, Mrs J, once snarled at me: 'If only you were like Jane! Now SHE is a born waitress.'

This cut me to the quick until I reported it gloomily to Mumsy, who retorted swiftly 'well if I were you, I wouldn't WANT to be called a born waitress.'

I didn't make as much in tips as Jane did, but I had a shorter skirt. One day someone handed me a whole 50p - I expected a compliment on my serving technique, but he said 'and that's for flashing yer knickers, luv'.

Next job was behind the bar at the twice weekly social dance at our local Town Hall. This turned out to be the place where all those without a mate - mostly for obvious reasons - came to find one. Unsurprisingly I turned out to be as hopeless at this as all the other jobs. Pouring a pint isn't as easy as it looks, you know. PLUS our boss insisted we 'recycle' all the spilt, flat beer from the drip trays into people's glasses - strictly illegal - I kept forgetting you had to do it surreptitiously and frequently did it in full view of the punter as I chatted gaily to him.

I gave up work after this and had babies.

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updated 06-Mar-2011 12:19 PM