Working as a secretary at a school, my contract of employment has a slightly ambiguous phrase at the end - 'and any other reasonable requests'. Today was one of those days when I queried what was reasonable and what wasn't!
See, my work colleague left today and although she was born in Finland she spent most of her youth and young adulthood in New York. She has lived in the UK for about 25 years now but still has a distinct American accent. We love her. We love her attitude to life, her American expressions and her whole character. But she's going on to pastures new, becoming a deputy head in a new school that is opening in London and today was her last day.
Tradition dictates that on your last day, all the staff gather in the staff room and your line manager reads a speech saying how wonderful you are, gives you your farewell gift and you do a return speech. Wine and snacks are provided - it's a nice event. But my colleague isn't just your average person. She's vivacious and fun and one of my fellow secretaries traditionally writes a humourous poem whenever a member of the office staff leaves. But this time she thought it would be fun to write a song along the lines of New York, New York. And she thought it would be 'fun' for us to sing it to her. Right in front of the whole of the rest of the staff. One by one we said 'no'. Sore throats, inability to hold a tune, hating standing up in public. And then someone said - 'but wouldn't she just love it, we ought to forget about how we feel and do it for her'. Well of course that was it. How could we refuse now? So with the strains of Frank Sinatra's backing track playing softly off a phone,we stood there, with 80 pairs of eyes watching us and we sang. And our colleague beamed with pleasure, tears in eyes - she knew we would have had to be coerced into doing this - and it was so worth it.
However I do think it was a bit harsh when I was speaking to the Head of History later and he told me 'not to give up the day job'. Cheek!