I Can Do That (OS014)

I’ve been checking the job sites for IT jobs, looking for something of interest. Really, I’d prefer something completely different and I think I may have found it, a Marketing job in TV. How hard can it be? The TV adverts are often better than the programs sometimes. There’s one with a dog which is the spitting image of Ted, next door and another dog which watches the owner cleaning the tiles. No idea what they’re selling but if I see a product with the dog on, I may well buy it.

Pam isn’t convinced that I am suitable for this type of job. I told her that I’d developed a web site for local places with disabled facilities to visit. I was explaining how I used Eastings and Northings related to postcodes to calculate the distance to the location, when Pam interrupted me. Bit rude I thought. She asked me about the number of visitors I got to the web site. I explained that I was reluctant to spend on Ads but it was slowly getting up the results list (very slowly).

“Mmmmm” exclaimed Pam “I know, I’ll give you a test to see if you are the right sort of person for a marketing job.”

I agreed, instantly feeling that this may be a mistake. What followed, wasn’t good, which I feel was no fault of my own and just shows how Pam can be….well weird. I can remember it as if it was yesterday (which it was). The following is the conversation verbatim. I think the whole thing is invalid, unfair and not a measure of my marketing potential. Let me know what you think.

Pam picked up the spoon which I was about to use for my cereal and said “OK Oliver, give me 10 things you can use this spoon for.”

“That’s daft, I won’t be selling cutlery.”

“Not the point. It’s just to see how much of a creative thinker you are.”

I’ve learned through experience that resistance is futile.

“OK, eat my cereal.”

“Yes” followed by rolling eyes.

“Eat soup”.

“Yes, enough of the obvious.”

“OK, get the flesh out of an avocado pear.”

“Enough of the ‘eat’ ones. If you say eat again or anything loosely related to eating I’ll tap you on the head with the spoon. There you go. One for free. Tapping an annoying person on the head.”

“That’s not a valid use for a spoon.” I was struggling a bit but then said.

“Heat …..”

I only got one word out before being assaulted with spoon. I winged in pain and disbelief.

“I said no more ‘eat’ ones and don’t be such a wimp. It was only a tap.”

“I said ‘Heat’, heat wax to melt it to make a candle.”

“Oh, OK, that’s a good one.”

“No, it’s daft. It would take ages to do that. Much better to use a saucepan.”

“No, it’s OK. Don’t be so tough on yourself.”

“Well, I don’t feel it’s legitimate.

“Look, you’re having it. You have five now. I gave you one and three are related to eating. The candle one is OK. Think more laterally. Like carve your name and mine in a tree.”

This suggestion made me curious, rather concerned actually. Why was Pam talking about carving both our names in a tree. I should have queried this but I came out with.

“That’s not feasible, you wouldn’t be able to carve bark with a blunt spoon and you would risk damaging the tree.”

“Look, you are being too literal, too judgemental. Just come out with ideas and don’t judge your idea. You have five, six if we count the tree one.”

I let this go, mainly because I suddenly thought of one.

“Clean the sink plug hole”

“You don’t do that do you?”

“Well, they go through the dish washer.”

“It’s that bent one isn’t it? That’s disgusting.”

There followed a rant which I thought was largely unfair.

Finally, the rant calmed to a series of insults and Pam snapped “Let’s try something else then Oliver, if you don’t think that’s fair. Why don’t you try to sell that vacuum to me?”

Easy I thought “Can I interest you in this vacuum, picks up everything, guaranteed for life, only £10. “

“Actually, I would buy that but it’s not true, is i?. Nothing picks up everything and it’s going to cost you more than that to make and nothing lasts for ever. The company would go out of business really quickly.”

You just can’t win with Pam. It was clear that Pam thought I wasn’t suitable for this sort of job.

Now, Is it me? Is it? I don’t think Pam was being fair. I’ve never played that game before. How are uses for spoon a measure of whether you can be a marketing person? I decided to apply. We’ll see.

I started to draft out some responses to the online application form, as below. Pam grabbed the paper and it wasn’t long before I got the benefit of her thoughts. Bear in mind that this is the person who thought electric cars should be fitted with a pedestrian scoup for those who don’t notice the silent vehicle approach.

Question 1. Describe how would you market a new product of your choice?

I choose to market a new line of biscuits, Carrot cookies. The marketing plan resolves around them helping you to see in the dark.

Pam commented “But it’s got to be true.”

I replied “It is. In the war, they said our pilots ate carrots to help them see in the dark. My gran said.”

“Yes, but it’s one of those myths. You can’t say that as the company would be sued. Anyway, how would you sell the product if that were true. Who wants to see in the dark?”

“Police officers or security guards. There could be a TV advert showing them carrying a pack and munching away.”

Question 2: Are you the sort of person who can think on your feet.

Yes, I’m a very logical person and can think in any body position.

Pam criticised “Logic is good but they want a creative person as well. Also, you’re not meant to take it literally. It’s a saying meaning can you provide an answer to an unexpected question or issue.”

Question 3. Hit the ground running

“You’ve not answered that one, Oliver.”

“No, I’m working on it.”

“You didn’t take that one literally did you?”

I replied, “Of course not, I just tripped over the broom this morning. Got any Savlon?”

“You need to rethink all your answers. I would help but I just don’t think it’s for you.”

“Thanks anyway. I will tweak it a bit and give it a go. What’s the worst that could happen?”

“Who knows. You could get a slot in the annual marketing dinner … as a stand up.”

We left it at that. I posted the forms. Just waiting on the response now.

It would be great to hear from you. Drop me a comment (at the bottom of the page). Just some thoughts on possible subjects but feel free:

  • Have you ever applied for a job that you regret?
  • What’s the wierdest questions you have been asked in an interview?
  • Have you had any ‘memorable’ interviews?


… Oliver Sudden

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L Swain
10/08/2022 at 20:44

I can’t wait to hear how Oliver gets on at the interview 🤣

A friend of mine once went for a job interview and realised they didn’t want the job at all so when they asked “do you have any questions?” They asked “How much is a can in you vending machine?” and “where is the closest sandwich shop?” Their faces were a picture apparently!

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The Visitor (OS016)