Ask Polly

Get ad­vice from fast-talk­ing Rova and More FM star Polly Gille­spie

Woman’s Day (NZ) - - This Week -

Pol­ly­ism of the week

Do you ever tor­ture your­self with mem­o­ries of what might have been? I do and it in­volves a job in­ter­view a long, long time ago ...

Back in the day when I was fresh and fluffy, I ap­plied to be a writer-slashjour­nal­ist with TheWaikato Times. I had come back from univer­sity in the US and was full of hope, con­fi­dence and var­i­ous eat­ing dis­or­ders.

For my last few semesters at “col­lege”, I had writ­ten for the lo­cal pa­per and the school’s weekly news­pa­per. I cov­ered events, did a cou­ple of opin­ion pieces, and in­ter­viewed Miss Teen Hawaii and a guy whose luau had cre­ated a small smoke sit­u­a­tion down at the beach. Plus I took pho­tos – not well, but I guess they were good enough.

When I came home, I imag­ined I would just groove up to the Times, and get a job while I was fig­ur­ing out how to use the drama and lin­guis­tics I’d spent years study­ing. I got an in­ter­view and I was so ex­cited ... and so very not pre­pared.

When the guys in­ter­viewed me (I guess it was the ed­i­tor and chief re­porter), I sat on the edge of my chair, ea­gerly en­thus­ing about my pas­sion for news and peo­ple. All was go­ing fairly well when I hit two ma­jor road-block ques­tions. What had I been think­ing go­ing to this in­ter­view?

“Do you drive?” I was asked. “Our jour­nal­ists need to drive to events that are hap­pen­ing and to break­ing news sto­ries.”

“Umm, no,” I replied qui­etly, but then added, “I’m re­ally good at catch­ing buses and walk­ing quickly.” Great an­swer, Pol.

The guys looked at each other. “If you could in­ter­view any­one in the world, who would it be?”

Why I didn’t an­swer Colin McCa­hon, James K. Bax­ter or even Mar­garet Thatcher, I’ll never know, but it was at this point I ab­so­lutely ru­ined any chance I had of be­ing the fastest-walk­ing news cor­re­spon­dent on the planet.

“Je­sus,” I replied earnestly. “I think Je­sus would be amaz­ing. I’d ask him what it was like to be so good at mir­a­cles, and be­ing all god­like and stuff.”

I sensed, even as a young, fresh and naive eager beaver, that I had blown any chance of ever work­ing for TheWaika­toTimes. The whole “bus rides to break­ing news” an­swer had prob­a­bly pre-blown it, but the Son of God an­swer had both amused them and hor­ri­fied them. Clearly, they had a fast-walk­ing “Bi­ble basher” in pur­ple jeans (I know, right?) sit­ting in front of them with big, blue eyes and ab­so­lutely no idea about life.

I’m fairly cer­tain I heard cack­ling and sti­fled laugh­ter as I shuf­fled out of the room in my sweaty jelly san­dals.

There are mo­ments where I look back on this whole episode and cringe, but my good­ness, I’m glad I can laugh at my­self now. (I’m cring­ing while I write that I’m laugh­ing.)

QMy­teenage daugh­ter is hav­ing trou­ble with her so­cial life at school. She doesn’t feel like she be­longs in any group and I am con­sid­er­ing mov­ing her to an­other school. What do you think?

Wor­ried, Auck­land

AI­think that’s a damn fine idea. I know there is the School of Hard Knocks that be­lieves we get tougher when fac­ing tough times at school, but per­son­ally, I don’t be­lieve chil­dren (teens es­pe­cially) should be made to en­dure so­cial iso­la­tion no mat­ter what. My par­ents sent me to my zoned high school, which was sin­gle sex. I hated it. I felt very lonely as my best friend from mid­dle school had gone back to Eng­land and none of my friends were at the same school. I was so un­happy. My par­ents took me to a child psy­chol­o­gist who sug­gested I go to a co-ed school. I did and I loved it. Some schools are great for some kids. Some kids will ex­cel at some schools, while oth­ers do not. If they are so­cially iso­lated, then look around.

QI work in an open-plan of­fice with lots of dif­fer­ent “de­part­ments” in close prox­im­ity to each other. When some­one from an­other depart­ment wants a “pri­vate” phone con­ver­sa­tion away from their col­leagues, they tend to walk closer to where we sit. It’s in­fu­ri­at­ing. Do we just en­dure it or is it worth telling them to zip it?

Phoned Out, Welling­ton

AOh,sweet mother of all of­fices! I loathe the whole open-plan/hot-desk 2018 work en­vi­ron­ment. It’s like open-plan classes with 200 stu­dents and three teach­ers – ab­so­lute mis­ery and hell for some­one like me. I be­lieve pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions should be held in cor­ri­dors or booths. I sim­ply think the peo­ple do­ing the wan­der­ing over are just com­pletely un­aware of how an­noy­ing they are be­ing in an al­ready hideous work space. Try say­ing some­thing as­sertively but not ag­gres­sively or pas­siveag­gres­sively. I guar­an­tee this ar­chi­tec­tural open-plan con­cept will die in the next 10 years.

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