'I did not have sexual relations with that woman'
"After reading this we can see who the real knucklehead was."Featured comment
Recently, I had to hire a new receptionist.
I turned, of course, to my ever-trusty HR consultants, Rennie & Co.
We put together a brief of the skills, experience and other attributes required for the position.
A fortnight later, Rennie & Co’s chief executive showed me a shortlist of four over a few beers at The Hamptons.
We carefully reviewed their academic transcripts, job histories, references and photos but we agreed that, alas, none was suitable.
To try to help, I called the younger sister of a mate of mine from school and suggested she apply for the job, first by contacting Rennie & Co. She seemed perfect for the role.
To make sure everything was fair and square, I also contacted Rennie & Co and told them I had done this, pointing out that we also knew one another.
Well, blow me down, it turned out that the young woman I called was the only one good enough to be interviewed and a little while later Rennie & Co sent me a shortlist of one.
It turned out to be an excellent appointment.
Within days, we found out that some of my over-eager staff were illegally hacking into the IT system at the IRD Policy Advice Division, to find out what crazy new taxes they might come up with next.
I didn’t know anything about it, of course.
All I could remember was that on a PowerPoint slide my staff had shown me a few months earlier, headlined “Business Development: Hacking Strategy,” the photo of the IRD policy boss was very small and on the bottom right-hand corner. Which was why I couldn’t remember it.
When the cops showed up, the new receptionist was able to assure them that neither she nor I knew anything about it and no one had ever talked about it with me.
That satisfied everyone. So while it had all been a bit embarrassing and I had to apologise to the IRD, no harm was really done.
For a while, things went back to normal.
Then my wife visited the office.
Somewhat accusingly, and in front of the whole staff, she wanted to know how I had come to employ the new receptionist.
Easy, I said. She was recommended by Rennie & Co.
Then she said the name seemed familiar and she asked me whether I knew her before she was appointed.
Sure, I said. Our mothers were friends and I was at school with her older brother, who was very bright. I was even able to say I had disclosed all that to Rennie & Co, who are beyond reproach.
Unfortunately, though, my wife then went through my telephone records. It turned out I had called the new receptionist a few weeks before she was appointed.
Oh yeah, I said. I forgot about that.
Then she asked, if I hadn’t seen the new receptionist since school days, how had I known her phone number. Well, I said, I’ve always had it in my iPhone contacts.
Then I remembered she and I had had breakfast together a couple of times.
None of this went down too well so the wife rang the previous receptionist. She said she knew one of the people on the original shortlist who was eminently suitable, with a degree in Receptionist Studies from Waikato University, and 25 years’ experience in the meet-and-greet and phone-answering business.
I said I couldn’t remember who was on the original shortlist and wasn’t sure I had even seen it.
Things were getting a bit dicey at home until I was able to point out to the wife that people forget all sorts of things – like how she forgot her credit card bill after shopping in New York.
That shut her up, but there’s no doubt the honeymoon’s well and truly over.
Luckily, though, no one who matters in terms of keeping my job gives a stuff how I appointed my new receptionist.
And, unluckily for the Labour Party, no New Zealand voters outside Wellington’s non-existent beltway give a stuff – rightly or wrongly – about how John Key appointed his new spy boss.