Training Day

Denzil Washington and Ethan Hawke starred in a movie released in 2001 where Hawke’s character was a rookie undercover cop being taken out on his ‘training day’ by the charming but ultra cynical and terminally corrupt veteren officer as brilliantly played by Washington.

Now apart from the fact that yesterday was my ‘training day’ there’s really very little similarity between Hawke’s experience and mine upon our respective first days out on the mean streets. For a start his was a hollywood day out on the sunny streets of LA and mine was a clueless evening out on the darkly dank streets of Coventry.

Perhaps I should have started this by mentioning that I’ve got a new job. Actually, it’s a job I had landed through a temping agency which should see me through a month or so while I work out how to (select one from the following: get a proper job/rob a bank/win the lottery/marry kylie).

So, the temping agency bloke starts by saying “We’ve got a role for you … it’s not quite office work”
“Hey that sounds good, what is it?” I asked enthusiastically looking forward to a few days working as a mattress tester at Slumberland or mango fruit-picker in the Seychelles
“Well it’s as a fundraiser for a charity”
“… !”
“It’s almost a quid an hour above the minimum wage”, Mr temping agency added hopefully
“Hmmmm … interesting”, I say uninterestedly, “as long as it’s not ‘cold-calling’ I guess I could give it a go”
“Oh no problem and besides they’ll give you training for which you’ll get paid — what about that hey? — paid training!”

Well, yesterday was that training day and guess what? Yep! it’s door to door ‘cold calling’ trying to convince snugly warm middle-englanders that they should be giving out their bank details to a complete stranger with an incomplete grasp of what the charities he claims to represent actually do.

Lucky for me, I was paired up with a veteren fundraiser. The team leader told me that this guy, a recent graduate of Warwick Uni, was very good and had a very effective ‘pitch’ and that I would do well to observe and pick up pointers from his finely honed patter. He had been doing it for nearly three (yes count them – three) whole months.

Well, I have to say that while not quite in Denzil Washington’s class he was a cool performer nonetheless. But in another way he is exactly the same — he’s not going to be around for Day 2 … he’s left the job!

Well, if anyone wants to run a sweepstakes on how long I’m going to last then you can put me down for three weeks.

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