I’ve worked at a few functions and black tie fundraisers off late for the charitable organisation I recently started working with.
However, on Saturday I was asked to attend one as a guest rather than wave £20 raffle tickets to diners and carry a bucket of large notes around whilst ensuring my dress doesn’t get caught on my heels in front of hundreds of £100 a seat guests.
I still consider it ‘work’ as I would rather have watched the football (despite Cameroon going out anyway in the world cup). My definition of work is if I’d do something else if I didn’t need to earn and actually I don’t get paid for that as obviously most people would consider a black tie dinner a ‘perk’. Everyone seems to be there when I arrive, including my companions, the Chief Executive of the charity and her husband.
A quick visit to the ladies to refresh from the journey before I grab a glass of champagne and enjoy the last of the sun accompanied by what I think was a string quartet; couldn’t quite see through a stream of tall glamorous blondes. This being a safari park, we are then awakened by noisy drumming and being called to dinner.
The company being 30 years old, the theme is the 1980s although thankfully not in dress. I’m excited to be sitting at the Adam Ant table, but only until I realised there’s a Duran Duran one. Others included Spandau Ballet, Human League, ET, BMX and Commodore 64. This is a really fun touch I think.
The Cinderela reference is to the car that’s booked for me to go the 20 miles from Birmingham to the West Midlands Safari Park as the last train back is before the big announcement I apparently need to be at.
The big announcement being the programme I’ve been working on with this event organising company, who’s party this is to celebrate ’30 years of sweet success’. It’s to pluck 15 long term or disadvantaged unemployed people from an assessment day and put them on to a training programme and then work placement, with the 15 being whittled down to 3 finalists at the end and one eventual winner, announced at the event, to her surprise. This bit hadn’t been divulged to the lucky 15.
In the event, we only found 13 and for ‘we’ read ‘I’, despite my standing on street corners of darkest Worcestershire asking people if they were unemployed as they come out of the job centre. The job centre you see, wouldn’t forward anyone to our programme and ignoring the fact that it wasn’t costing them anything and they, ahem, are meant to find people jobs. Go figure.
The existing training programme the charity have is mostly geared up to get people jobs as kitchen porters and the like so I re-write a lot of it to make it work for an event organising company and add modules on PC skills, internet and social media.
I stop feeling like Cinderella when none of the above is mentioned at this schmancy black tie affair that I had to go to. I’m not a good car passenger and felt a little ill by the time I had got there and mightily ill when I got back, just making it indoors in time. Any accident wouldn’t have looked good on my Travolta outfit, possibly my favourite of all time, an unbelievably glamorous cream 3 piece trouser suit.
I’ve got plenty of frocks for these occasions but I’ve almost run out of those with the essential little cap cleaves, designed to just cover up my tattoo which otherwise is always covered in business situations. Also, having been to so many recently – with the same crowd – I felt like a change. Plus I had the distinct impression that the spotlight was going to fall on me given the number of times they chased my RSVP and the car being sent.
There was a small mention of our charitable organisation when the announcement was made but none of the above!
Also, the unknowing winner, who had been working at this event, along with the rest of the team as part of her work placement was ill for most of the afternoon but they can’t let her go home. And they can’t tell her why.
When I finally find out why she isn’t around, I’m escorted up to the room she’s staying in where I found the poor lady cold, bored, without a tv or radio and devoid of any comforting company, whilst suffering flu symptoms. We don’t have much choice so I stay with her until her ‘announcement’ was made and so she could go home. I think the fact that she was offered a 3 month trial period of her dream job made it all a little bearable.
I stay to listen to the rest of the announcements and see the finale, a fireworks, fountains and strobe lights extravaganza. I have to wait for the return journey at 11.30 anyway, which arrived at 11.45 as they’re convinced that I would be out late. Still I get in and speeds away before the clock strikes midnight and it turns back into a pumpkin.