WEAK AT THE TOP: 'I've 'promoted' my secretary. Knackered new mothers don't fit the bill'

Still - interviewing a new secretary is the closest I get to being a feudal lord choosing the best-looking peasant. So at least there's an upside to Hayley's departure.

by John Weak
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013


I think I've had the perfect day. Got in very late just as Shirley on reception was on her break, so no earache from her. Everyone in the office had decided I wasn't going to be around so they'd solved their own problems. I deleted a few e-mails, transferred my in-tray to the bin and then got to work on organising lunch with Bill Peters.

We take Monday lunches very seriously, as they are a kind of decompression chamber from the weekend. Got to Mr Bojangles just as he was opening up and by about half-four we were both fit and ready for a full day's work. Sadly, we couldn't remember where the office was, so we called it a day.


Hayley, my old secretary, is back from maternity leave. Naturally, her job has been kept for her but, let's face it, her job was for a tidy little piece interested only in recreational sex. Knackered new mothers don't fit the bill.

Besides which, I don't want any secretary of mine to be stuck in a continual video-conference link with the nursery and to be leaving on time when there are rugby club brochures to be typed. Instead, I've done the decent thing and 'promoted' her to production assistant, which means doing things secretaries find insufficiently challenging.

Rang HR on a whim to see whether paternity leave could be backdated so I could blag four weeks off for the two anklebiters I accidentally had with the ex-wife (ex-secretary). They had an oestrogen-fuelled rant, the gist of which was, no I couldn't.


Spent all day interviewing a new secretary. This is the closest I get to being a feudal lord choosing the best-looking peasant wench for 'service' in the big house. There are two things to look at in the interview: the girl and the CV. If I find myself looking at the CV, I know the girl's not worth looking at. Because, let's face it, there's not much fun to be had staring at the chest of a CV every morning.

In an ideal interview, I'd get them to pick up something from the floor and then jump up and down, but I'm not sure that's HR best practice. Finally, picked an absolute fox called Jenny who couldn't type and thought word processing was a form of reading. She did, however, have industry-leading charlies and that's an unbeatable KPI in my competency framework. Told Hayley to brief her on my preferred 'working' .


Got in relatively early to review Jenny's KPIs. Noticed quickly that something was going on in the office. There were four S-class Mercedes in the car park. I called Bill, who always has his ear to the ground because in that position it's impossible to have your arse on the line. He told me they belonged to partners in our accountancy firm Young Touche.

Accountancy partners turn up on the same basis that vultures turn up, so we didn't think this was going to be a Christmas party planning session. Sir Marcus was locked in with them for almost the entire day. This was worrying on two fronts: first, it was the longest meeting he'd ever been in and, second, four Young Touche partners for a day costs our entire net profit for a year.


Sir Marcus called the board together and said he had some bad news. Apparently, the annual Smokehouse figures showed us deeper in the red than Bill Peters after a good lunch at Mr Bojangles.

Sir Marcus said the only decent thing was for someone to take responsibility and put their job on the line. He had therefore sacked Tim Smallwood, our Finance Director. There was a small cough from the back of the room and we noticed for the first time a weasel-faced accountant sitting there.

Sir Marcus then announced that he wanted to spend more time with his family. I was about to ask 'which one?' but he left the room, swiftly accompanied by the weasel. Everyone was in shock and the only comforting thought I had was, Sir John Weak, Chairman. And just think of the secretary I could have then.

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