My name is Helen. My middle name, no doubt the result of a momentary pang of love for France on the part of my mother, a passion she passed down to her daughter, is Josephine. My surname is Tepper, apparently Latvian. I am something of an eclectic mix of nations (Latvian, German, Italian, Polish, English) rolled into one. I'm not a girl, as the heinously unoriginal title of my musings represents me to be; I turned 26 in September, but have decided that as my situation in life is more akin to that of a 21 year old during the 'boom years', I have every right to call myself a girl until at least the age of 30. Plus, 'Thoughts of a Woman' sounds even more shit. No, unfortunately I am not the New York publishing maestro one will find if one types 'Helen Tepper' into Google. She's in publishing - hell, she's on LinkedIn and everything! What she does sounds kind of good - she gets to play around with literature all day, right? Sounds just like my dear, apparently useless degree. Of course she doesn't. Of course her job must be high-pressured, intellectually exhausting and a lot more complex than playing around with literature all day. So was my dear, apparently useless degree.
I also answer to 'H', 'Hel', 'Hels', 'Yo', 'Love Egg' (don't ask - but it's not sexual!), 'Dennis' (ditto), 'Belle' and, when amongst good friends in a jolly jovial atmosphere, inevitably 'Bitch'. All better, might I add, than the despicable nouveau-trend amongst young people today of using the ephitet 'Lad' regardless of the gender of the recipient.
I was born in Manchester, and within minutes of emerging from the pained recesses of my poor mother, I was consigned to 'The Naughty Room' for bawling too much and refusing to shut up. I started as I meant to go on! I have lived in Manchester, various destinations along France's Cote D'Azur, Newcastle, Northumberland and Leeds, where I completed my dear, apparently useless degree, and where I find myself once more following an entire year back in Manchester discovering the hard way that my degree, though dear, is ACTUALLY pretty much useless when it comes to trying to get a £12,000pa job filing and taking messages in an office which would barely afford me heating in the winter, let alone a life.
Like so many other poor clever sods in the UK at present, I am unemployed. Once a word reserved for those who left school at 13 by reason of pregnancy or who for various reasons found themselves indulging in a life of hard drugs, crime or alcoholism, the taboo around 'unemployed' has been lifted with the siege of the recession. Hundreds of thousands of us are unemployed, through no fault of our own, and not for want of trying to find work. I really WANTED that £12,000 pocket money job once I graduated. I have a 1st class honours degree from a redbrick University for god's sake! Why don't any of you want me?! A year later, and no nice, simple admin job in sight. Due to a youth of working bars and casino floors in order to buy books and actually have a life at Uni, it appears that the only thing I am qualified for is to help fuel the the general public's growing problem with alcohol, a problem that is all too understandable in my eyes.
I have been encouraged to start a blog before by my lovely partner ('it might help you get a job! Or at least you can rant and others can laugh at it - your rants are wasted solely on me') and several others. Most recently, however, I was advised it might be a good idea by the Director of a creative recruitment consultancy to whom I had sent one of those almost-but-not-quite-halfhearted emails feebly touting the standard of my degree, stating that I think I'd be good in some kind of marketing/PR or copywriting capacity for all those lovely but hidden employers out there who actually understand the meaning of the word 'potential' and asking if he would like to represent me. The day after, today as it happens, I got an email back (a rare occurence, let me tell you!) in which said Director invited me to call him and have a chat about a possible job opportunity. He admitted that his people didn't as a general rule deal with entry level stuff, but he'd like to meet me, and why don't I start a blog or something, as any 'published' writing is better than none. That reply, and the fact that one man whose schedule was doubtless extremely busy and whose job, placing creatives, had probably got at least 100% harder than 5 years ago, had bothered to treat me as a human being, sympathise with my frustration and have the honesty and integrity to admit that the job he would discuss with me was a shot in the dark, was nothing short of amazing. Hallelujah. And I'm not even religious.
So, here it is. A badly structured, slightly nervous attempt at a nutshell introduction to myself (not to appear egocentric or self-important at all!), full of tangents and bearing the light promise of some of the fabulous rants to come. Sorry if I seem bitter; I'm not versed in the fine art of blog writing, and to write anything other than shopping lists and vague cover letters for jobs I don't even want is something of a shock. Hopefully I'll get better at this with time! I'm not bitter really. Or maybe I am. Just a little bit.