Had a meeting with the Reed Employment agency yesterday, just register to register with them and fill out a few forms, I’d been told. Arriving there sharply at 10am, I chatted to a consultant for few minutes before he said, “So, you’re good with Word, Excel, that sort of thing?”.
“Yes,” I reply, assuming he was just referring to my CV.
“Good, I’ll just set up the test and leave you to it,” he says.
“Oh crap,” I think, fortunately keeping this to myself…

It was only once I started their typing speed test (a data entry exercise) that I realised just how cold it was outside. My fingers were frozen stiff, and this test room wasn’t particularly warm either. Nonetheless I had a decent crack at it, and Nicky, the woman who checked over my scores and is now the one who contacts me about possible work, seemed fairly pleased. The Excel test was rather more daunting, since I haven’t really touched the program for about two and half years. Fortunately it’s all a practical test so a task appears on the screen and you perform the required operations to complete the task until “Correct answer” or “Incorrect Answer” appears. Since I live hooked up to computers, interfaces come naturally to me, so I can guess how things work even if I don’t really know, and so my residual Excel knowledge combined with some intuitive guessing gave me a cool 91% (apparently 60% is the average test score). The Word test was more of a breeze since I use it regularly enough, and I clocked up a wicked 97%.

So Nicky was rather pleased with these results, and I was breathing a sigh of relief since I really hadn’t been expecting tests (I haven’t had any since my A-levels). On the other hand, the feeling of having just blagged a test that I hadn’t “revised” for was all too familiar – brought back some memories! She suggested that work at the Home Office might suit me and that it should be possible to get me in there with what I’d demonstrated, so I filled out a few extra forms about how I was a model citizen with no criminal convictions and so forth (I suppose technically that form is more of an “I’m intelligent enough that they’ve never caught me!”).

And now I kick my heels and take some less interesting temp. work until that goes through. In fact I got a call from Nicky late that afternoon saying that I could be working as early as Tuesday if I wanted because something new had come up. A week’s work at £6/hour. Sounded reasonable to me. So, despite all those “lazy arsehole” complaints I’ve been getting from my fellow gap-year students, it looks like I am about to become a working man after all…