Wednesday, October 18, 2006

On Not Working for the BBC

While I’m in True Confessions mode, here’s another interview that didn’t go so well.

When I graduated from the University of Leeds I applied to be a sound-effects person for BBC radio, which in those days involved a lot of clicking coconut shells together for horses’ hooves and chopping a cabbage in half for Tudor executions. It sounded not too tricky and quite good fun, and it was the job that Esther Rantzen started out doing - whether that’s a recommendation or not I am uncertain.

I got an interview at the BBC in Sheffield with a Very Formal BBC Man in a Suit. All started reasonably well - - he asked me if the deep sounds we could hear from another studio were short sound waves or long sound waves, and because I’d done Physics O-level I knew the answer: and then he asked me who was the new leader of the new political party called the SDP, and it was David Owen (how strange, the things you remember from the dim mists of time).

Then he asked me if I enjoyed cooking and I said, truthfully, not really but I enjoy baking, and I enjoy feeding people. Then he asked me what was the largest number of people I’d provided a meal for, and I said, truthfully, eight. Then he asked me if I liked knitting and I said I quite liked it, but had only ever knitted one jumper. Then he asked me if I liked sewing, and I said no, I hated it, because sewing lessons at school were really dull. Then he asked me if I was interested in fashion and makeup (why he couldn’t tell the resounding NO from looking at me, I don’t know), and if I liked flower arranging, and if I liked jewellery, and if I had a boyfriend and did I hope to get married one day and if so how many babies was I planning to have?

Now, I’m not the kind of woman who sees sexism round every corner at all, but at this point I felt I should enquire whether he asked identical questions of all the male applicants, or were they just reserved for us women, sorry, wimmin?

He was very taken aback by my question (I could see the words “dungarees” and “lesbian” forming in his mind) and I think that was about the end of the interview.

And although it was not a man-specific job at all, requiring neither a lot of physical strength - I was perfectly strong enough to hold the coconut shells - nor even a lot of technical ability, I later found out how many trainees the BBC took for that job in that year.

They took two hundred men. And two women, one of whom wasn’t me. And neither was the other.


Blogger Ailbhe said...

I suspect they both gave him blowjobs, or were interviewed by other people.

8:09 pm  

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