Early Swerves

Leo Benedictus

  • The Scheme for Full Employment by Magnus Mills
    Flamingo, 255 pp, £10.00, March 2003, ISBN 0 00 715131 4

For a brief time, a few years ago, I was employed as a temp at the Public Trust Office, one of the grey government monoliths that no one notices in Central London. What this office does, I never discovered. I asked my colleagues and they didn’t know. There were muttered guesses from a few that it was ‘something to do with law’. Almost all of them were temps too, so perhaps this ignorance is no surprise. Anyway, all that any of us did was process invoices till going home time. My job was unusual, however. I was a new department of one. It seems there were so many temps processing invoices at the Public Trust Office that they had to hire another temp to spend eight hours a day processing invoices from temping agencies. That was me. I was not very good at my work, of which there was a lot, and found myself steadily overwhelmed as each day’s shortfall accrued in inky stalagmites around my desk.

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