How I accidentally (on purpose) ended up working as a holiday rep...
“erm yes yes hello?...yes my name is Sophie Kelly I’m booked in for the assessment day today with yourselves – im just – im just (ahhh oh crap what now, what is this man doing?!) I had stopped at a zebra crossing and there was now a middle aged man standing directly in front of my car, swearing and shouting at me for no apparent reason. I was late, had my future employer on the phone, no idea where to park, a crazy man swearing at me and now a growing chorus of angry honks from traffic behind.
Anyway so my story of how I accidentally ended up Holiday Repping begins - I was probably up to my eyeballs in the 'quarter life crisis'; there I was, 27 years old trying to drive through London at 9am on a Monday morning to an interview to be a 'ski rep'. (what is this? - I'm still not 100% sure, I just know whatever goes wrong on your holiday - it's all my fault and I have to fix it.) I was yelling into the backseat of the car where my phone had decided to hide, profusely apologizing to my potential future employer for being late (and clearly not that bright for deciding to drive through London on a Monday morning), all whilst some fruitloop had stopped mid way across the zebra crossing to give me the 'v' sign. Great, just great. It was a sign. It was a sign - just not the sign I thought it was.
About 15 minutes later, when I had done 600 circuits of the area looking for somewhere to park, my flustered self was in the lift heading up to my interview. I was pretty convinced my lateness meant I was already 'unhireable' so I thought oh well, we're here now, may as well have a nice day out. Might make a some new friends at the very least.
If I was being honest - I wasn't quite sure how I'd got there in the first place- just a couple of weeks back I'd been up until the small hours writing my dissertation, overdosing on crispy m&ms whilst reading everything I could about eating disorders (I know - how ironic!) - at this point in my life it hadn't ever crossed my mind to go and work in a ski resort - nor that it could even be possible north of 21. I applied on a whim, got offered an interview in Manchester and on the day of the interview I called and cancelled as I didn't have my passport. This was a massive lie. I'd actually had a sudden panic at being 27 with no big blossoming career, no boyfriend, no clue and just a general systemic panic that I was really behind in life - so running off to be a ski rep and act like I was 20 was totally out of the question. 10 minutes later I called back straight away to ask if we could re-arrange the interview .
The first thing we had to do was introduce ourselves and then talk about our favourite place - in front of everyone - for 2 minutes. For some people I know this is the stuff of nightmares. 2 minutes is a very long time to talk for when you have 16 blank faces staring at you and you're trouser leg is stuck half way up you're calf and you're thinking 'ohgodhowdoIpullitdownwithoutanyonenoticing'. It turns out you kind of cant. So I just stood there, talking about the Philippines, with my uneven calf lengths proudly on display, feeling incredibly awkward and hoping no one could tell.
The next crisis happened when I had no choice but to excuse myself mid-way through the written exam or I'd be paying £65 to exit the Sainsbury's car park. I had 10 minutes. Just as I got to the car I discovered I was only going to be allowed out if I'd spent £5 in store. I now only had 3 minutes. I have never experienced frustration with a self-service checkout like it. Those things are beyond useless. By the time I got back to the car my time was up but I thought id chance it and try and get out anyway. 5 minutes later I was stuck at the exit barrier with a lovely queue forming behind me. The parking attendant came over and I profusely asked where to go to pay the £65 asap because I really really needed to get back to my job interview. I think he took pity on how stressed I looked, said I was only 8 minutes out and let me through fine-free. It is definitely true that not all heroes wear capes! Feeling far more victorious than I should, myself and my newly purchased 4 bags of crispy MnMs drove straight around the corner and parked in Waitrose for the rest of the day.
The rest of the interview was relatively drama free and the MnMs went down quite well too. Then they asked if I got the job, could I leave in November. I was graduating finally on the 6th December and after years of watching everyone else do it, I wasn't prepared to miss it for anything. 'erm no? I have my graduation in December and I really can't miss that like I really cant." Again, they are really not going to hire me here - but nice day out!
So I went home (I hadn't been clamped and Waitrose had no exit barrier so I couldn't get stuck - ha!) and got a call the next day saying they would love to offer me a job. (Definitely the MnMS.)
All of the placements had currently been filled so I was on standby for the France programme until someone dropped out. I was pleased to get the job (always nice to be offered), but didn't think anything would become available.
Someone probably won't drop out, its not really going to happen, etc - and so I carried on with my life and figured if it was meant to be, the snow gods would call.
A week later they did just that. There was a placement for me in France that would leave the day after my graduation,
I was midway through a horrific 12 hour waitressing shift and could not have asked for better news.
"Yes, SO. MUCH. YES. Where am I going?'"
"oh, great, where's that!?"