There are very few actors who escape having to do some sort of day job at some time or other. I have done masses. I used to do PA work for the first years out of drama school and then later, when I yearned to get away from a desk, I taught drama, dance and song to 4-8year olds in after-school drama clubs. But my best ever day job was during the summer holidays when there were no classes to teach and I retuned to the temping agency.
The job I got was a two week job, as the PA to the CEO of the Energy Saving Trust, whilst his PA was on annual leave. The Energy Saving Trust (EST) is a public body created to help us reduce our energy use. Now, normally several things occur when I temp in an office, one is that I am underwhelmed with everyone’s hatred of the job and two I get offered a permanent position there – mainly because I try and make myself indisposable so that I can go to auditions without risking my job. This time at EST, neither thing occurred.
One – everyone was passionate about what they were doing and so loved being there, they were positive happy, smart, they made tea happily and shared baked goods. And two, guttingly my two weeks ended and no one offered me a permanent job! For the first time, it was me who wanted to stay. I loved it! It helps that I too am passionate about the environment, of course.
So after asking my temping agency if there was any more work at EST, and heard the reply of “No” that told me they hadn’t even asked, I asked myself. I cheekily sent an email round to the whole of the company saying my two weeks were up, but that I’d love to stay, did anyone need any further assistance. My proactivity paid off and the very department I had envied from afar (the Communications team of well dressed, gorgeous women, the noisy group who got to drink wine most Friday afternoons – celebrating some story or other) asked me to join them for a two week trial.
I stayed for two years. I left in between to do a tour of a Richard Bean farce entitled In the Club, with James Fleet and Carla Mendonza, and to go to LA for 6 weeks, but essentially EST became my main job. The people were and still are amazing.
The company has been shrunk and most of my team have gone to pastures new, but we still all meet up. It was my team at EST who gave me my mascot, Little Moo (pictured), when I got into Little Voice, after being on the brink of abandoning my acting career. I remember emailing my boss that I was leaving and she leapt up so pleased for me she didn’t get to read why, she just knew it was an acting job. It felt like the scene in the factory where the woman in An Officer and a Gentleman gets picked up by Richard Geer and they all cheer. Well, in my head anyway.
They all had faith in me, even when I’d lost my own. And so EST will always be very special to me, as will Little Moo who will be coming with my into the theatre tomorrow for the start of Aladdin. Thanks EST – everyone go to their site, follow their tips, and help protect our planet as well as your wallet….