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Published on November 5th, 2011 | by Yellow Magpie

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Ann’s story: Chapter Twenty-Three ‘First Day’

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Yellow Magpie’s Saturday Serial continues with Chapter Twenty-Three. You can read chapter one,  two and three here.

Ann was gobsmacked when she was offered the job. She had received a call from business manager, John, and was now on her way to her first day as personal assistant to one of the most successful and popular dress designers of the moment.

She had been offered a very attractive salary of over eight hundred euro a week which was three hundred more than she earned in her last job.

Now that the day had finally arrived the excitement was replaced by nervous tension, butterflies were doing somersaults in her stomach and her head was throbbing as she hadn’t slept the night before. By the time she arrived at Katie Hill’s designer rooms, she was trembling.

First to meet her was John who brought her on a tour of the building introducing her to all the staff. He took her into Katie’s office, which to Ann’s surprise was completely cluttered with files, swatches of material, drawings and shoes. The whole office looked to be in a complete mess.

Katie was on the phone, she waved at Ann to sit down, John stood reassuringly beside her, providing some comfort to Ann’s nerves.

Finally Katie was finished on the phone and with a broad smile she turned her attention to Ann.

Welcome aboard Ann, glad to have you with us.’

Thanks Katie,’  replied Ann

‘ I will just run your through your duties. As you can see I am not the neatest person in the world,’ she said making a sweeping gesture around the room.

Ann just smiled but was more than able to sympathise.

‘If you could put some sort of order on the office, I would be eternally grateful,’  she laughed. ‘I will be out for most of today, so can I leave you to it?

Yes of course,’ said Ann doing her best to sound confident.

Now tomorrow. I will be launching my new Spring Summer collection, everything is all arranged so you don’t need to worry about anything but if you could come with  me just to take notes on anything that comes to mind. I will give you my schedule. Your job is to make sure I stick to it, I have a tendancy to lose track of time. 

Right I will leave you to it. Please don’t touch anything on my desk as I know where everything is believe it or not. However, the rest is up to you.’

And with that she was gone in a haze of black and red accompanied by a waft of flowery perfume.

John had stood there throughout and when Katie left he said, ‘She is a bit of a feather-head when it comes to organisation, probably like most creative people. Your desk is out here, by the way,’ he said bringing her outside to a small modest table with a phone and a computer.

Someone had placed a small vase of flowers on top of the desk with ‘Welcome’ written on it in green marker.

Ann was touched and wondered who had gone to the trouble.

‘Okay Ann, I will let you get on, don’t forget to take a break at eleven and lunch is from one to two. If there is anything you need just call extension fifteen.’

Ann thanked John for his kindness before she was left looking at the chaos that was Katie’s office.

‘Where will I start?’  she wondered.

She took off her jacket and rolled up the sleeves of her new white blouse. ‘ I would have been better wearing my track suit,’  she thought .

She picked up the material swatches and decided to go hunting for cardboard boxes. She went into a room where a group of girls were cutting material and pouring over drawings she grabbed two large boxes and brought them back to the office.

She folded all the material as best she could and placed them into one of the boxes, she then got a large marker and wrote Material  in large lettering. In smaller lettering she listed all the colours.

Next she tackled all the papers. Thankfully there was a filing cabinet but no files. She rang John and asked him would he have any. Moments later he arrived with a stack of coloured cardboard folders.

By lunchtime she had sorted through most of the papers and had them filed in alphabetical order.

The office began to take on some semblance of organisation. Ann realised that Katie must never have had a personal assistant before. So in a way the job was new to Katie too. This gave Ann a bit of confidence and she began to feel she might be able to set the agenda.

After her lunch she began to sort through a range of drawings ranging from trousers to dresses to coats. She spotted a large black leather portfolio case and she carefully put all the drawings into this, leaning it against a wall.

At 4pm Katie rang and asked how she was getting on. ‘Oh not too bad Katie. I have set up a filing system and put all of your drawings into a large leather folder.’

‘I will just hoover the carpet and do a bit of dusting.’

Sounds great Ann, you can head off home after we have a big day tomorrow.’

Ann was delighted and relieved that the first day had gone relatively easily. She hoovered, hung up various items on hangers, placed all of the shoes in the second cardboard box and left. She knew the next day was probably not going to be as easy. She caught the 5.30pm train home and was back in Crowley by 7pm.

The launch of Katie’s new collection the next day was a hectic event. Ann had gone with her to the Crystal hotel where the show was being held.

Katie was in a fluster trying to ensure that all of the models were there and had the right accessories to compliment each outfit. And sure enough one of the models had fallen ill that morning and was unable to attend.

‘Ann can you find me a replacement A.S.A.P.

Ann looked at  Katie with a blank expression not having the first clue where she would find a model. ‘Of course Katie, don’t worry,’  she heard herself saying before rushing away, her head in a spin.

Suddenly it dawned on her to ask one of the models what was the name of the agency she worked for along with the phone number.

She rang the agency and told them she needed a model right away and gave them a description of the look Katie required. Fresh and funky with plenty of cat-walk experience. ‘And she needs to be here immediately.’

Within fifteen minutes a girl called Frieda arrived. Ann hurried her back stage and introduced her to Katie. ‘Well done Ann’,  said Katie.

For the next hour until the show began Ann found herself rushing around looking for missing accessories, shoes and girls. She got the running order from Katie and did her best to make sure every one got out on time.

By the end of the day she was both exhausted and exhilarated especially when Katie said she had been a lifesaver.

She rushed for her train and got there just on time to get the 6.30, Katie had told her she didn’t need to be in the next day until 10 am so she didn’t mind too much that she wasn’t home until 8pm.

‘I think I am going to enjoy this job,’  she concluded.

You can read chapter one,  two and three here.


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