Bitch on the Blog

September 23, 2015

Vee Double You

Filed under: Amusement — bitchontheblog @ 15:48
Tags: ,

I rarely blow my own trumpet – other than tongue in cheek. Today I make an exception.

In the wake of the current Volkswagen shame all over the press I will confess that my very first job in England was at VAG (Audi Volkswagen Concessionaires). I was twenty six at the time. It was a short term assignment.

My leaving reference, written by head of HR (human resources, the department I worked in) reads:

“During her period with us, albeit a brief one, she proved herself a diligent and efficient employee.”

So far so nothing. What else is an employee to be than diligent and efficient? However, here is the punchline: “… bla bla bla … and it is, therefore, a matter of sorrow that we had to lose her.”

A matter of sorrow. Think about it. I didn’t. Until recently someone, and remember the English are given to understatement, said: “What? Sorrow? That’s a bit over the top, isn’t it?”.

There you are. Once encountered never forgotten. And always missed. Makes for a rotten spy.




  1. from a human relations personnel officer with a heart!
    and apparently not afraid to tell the truth. 🙂

    Comment by tammy j — September 23, 2015 @ 17:26 | Reply

    • Yes, Tammy, he did rather put himself out. Great boss. But then, with one exception, I have always been very lucky with my bosses. Bar one and that’s me. Working under the hot breath of my own steam is no picnic [for me].


      Comment by bitchontheblog — September 23, 2015 @ 19:06 | Reply

  2. That’s good…… I’ve written a few references and always remember the head of a teaching agency ‘phoning me in tears and saying that she had never read such a kind reference……. and handwritten too..
    Keep that one of yours in mind…..
    As for being “a diligent and efficient employee.” They are not as common as you might think so to find one is good I should think.

    Comment by magpie11 — September 23, 2015 @ 18:08 | Reply

    • Well, Magpie. I am up against it. Ageism is ripe – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I have engaged a professional CV writer (didn’t charge me) and they doctored my resume to make sure no one can work out my age. Their CV is just one big lie and I am not using it. Yeah, well, so much for principles. Anyway, never mind. Wish people were still asked to go down the mines. I’d even carry that canary. But then that’s a man’s job. Fail at first hurdle.

      Where were we? References. Differences between the motherland and England that in the motherland you are (without even asking) given a reference on leaving a job. Which is why the Volkswagen one in England was unusual. Though, of course, being in the German spirit maybe not so surprising.

      Now? Oh dear. For two decades I ran a household, supported others and were self employed. So, what do I do NOW when asked for a reference from my last employer? The system is ….. You know there was a time when you just walked into some joint and the owner/manager would size you up and give you the job. Now? Don’t ask. Since I don’t wish to embarrass anyone I will not divulge what I applied for. Let’s say, for sake of argument, washing dishes. They asked me for my CV. Sure fire way of not getting the job. Overqualified. Well, even I need to eat. No, forget eating. Pay the rent. Still, Magpie, one thing is for sure. There are people out there without imagination. I wish no one ill but sometimes you can’t help thinking “You fucking bastard”.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — September 23, 2015 @ 19:00 | Reply

      • For previous employer can’t you just say “self-employed”? And if you’ve done work for other people presumably they would write a reference? I can’t imagine you doing poor work. I would love to see your CV.

        The matter of being over-qualified is a hard one. Maybe get a job as a dish washer for a bit just for a reference? (That is a joke.)

        Interestingly enough, at the moment I’m having a good cry. I decided I need to mourn the loss of relief at no longer having to worry about a retinal detachment. It was nice while it lasted. Definitely something worth mourning. Hopefully the cataract will proceed slowly enough that I can kick the problem down the road for a while.

        Comment by cheerfulmonk — September 23, 2015 @ 19:47 | Reply

        • Your last paragraph, Jean. I have re-read it a number of times. Are you saying you are not going ahead? Am worried. Not about your crying. Crying is good. Tears are the bladder of the soul.

          Normally I am not slow on the uptake but this time I am at a loss. Neither do I know how to comfort you. I sort of second guess what you are saying. Hope I am not right. Please do let me know.

          As big a hug as you can take,

          Comment by bitchontheblog — September 23, 2015 @ 20:26 | Reply

          • I haven’t had my appointment yet, so we’ll see. But the cataract isn’t that bad yet so I’m guessing I will wait for the operation. I love hugs! That’s the best thing you can do. (And to show my appreciation I’m not putting a smiley face here.)

            Comment by cheerfulmonk — September 23, 2015 @ 20:48 | Reply

  3. My favourite bit is “a matter of” we don’t see that anymore. I imagine them all weeping and gnashing their teeth and yes, beating their breasts, as they moan around in a circle at your passing from their midst.

    Comment by — September 23, 2015 @ 19:11 | Reply

    • Don’t let your theatrical being take the better of you, WWW. I am sure no one was “beating their breasts”. Mind you, my next job was with the BBC (Open University). OH MY GOD. Strange mixture of a lot of deadlines and endless boredom.I sometimes wish I’d kept notes of stuff over my lifetime. As it is my life is just anecdotal piece meal. Same for you or are you a meticulous journal keeper as one of my friends is?


      Comment by bitchontheblog — September 23, 2015 @ 19:28 | Reply

      • People love anecdotes. All you need is to have a theme and turn them into an entertaining book. Then you would have a new addition for your CV.

        Comment by cheerfulmonk — September 23, 2015 @ 20:20 | Reply

        • Yes, Jean. Too true. I could turn my beloved anecdotes into a book. Except that job hunting is a full time job. And a CV exceeding two A4 pages means you are dead before you’ve got so much as a foot in the door.

          And thus is where my problem lies. Out in the wilderness.


          Comment by bitchontheblog — September 23, 2015 @ 20:35 | Reply

          • I suppose you need to write CVs tailored toward the companies you’re looking at. The purpose is to tell them what you can do for them, where you fit, how you can add value. What skills and experience you have that pertains to their needs. As usual, one size doesn’t fit all. I can see how that would be a full time job, but as far as I can tell most people don’t do that so it might give you an edge.

            Fingers crossed for you.

            Comment by cheerfulmonk — September 23, 2015 @ 20:45 | Reply

            • Exactly, and good advice, Jean.

              It’s the “tailoring” towards a company that is taking the time. And since I have worked in so many diverse sectors (from law to working with special needs children and anything in between) it’s the devil’s own job. When I first started out as a youngster it was so easy. Job advert in your local paper. Apply. Get job. End of story. Now? Everything is on line. It’s so rare you can actually speak to a REAL person. Drives me nuts. It’s all so anonymous, soulless.

              Thanks for your crossed fingers. Add in my crossed toes. And we’ll be getting there. And not before time.


              Comment by bitchontheblog — September 23, 2015 @ 20:59 | Reply

  4. Apparently the VW fiasco might affect the German economy, which will make the refugee crisis even more serious. From a New York Times articel:

    “While the German economy defied Greece, the euro crisis and the Chinese slowdown, it could now be facing the biggest downside risk in a long while,” Carsten Brzeski, chief economist at ING-DiBa bank in Germany, wrote in a note to clients. ”The irony of all of this is that the threat could now come from the inside, rather than from the outside.”

    Comment by cheerfulmonk — September 23, 2015 @ 20:35 | Reply

    • Haven’t had time to follow this latest saga in detail. But yes, chickens do come home to roost.

      For some reason – bred in the bone I suppose – I believe that the motherland will weather any crisis. But, of course, the rest of Europe delights in putting blame on Germany’s doorstep any way they can. I haven’t actually spoken to any Germans recently other than my parents this afternoon. They were both so delighted with their grandson’s [the Angel’s] visit yesterday there really was no space or place to take joy away from them.

      As you say, there is nothing worse than a wound festering from the inside out. Trouble is – and I know history (not just my own) – that a pressure cooker has potential to make an ugly explosion.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — September 23, 2015 @ 20:48 | Reply

  5. Mine ended with best wishes for success in the new endeavours that I was to pursue! What bull. They wanted me to fail and come back with my tails between my legs,

    Comment by rummuser — September 24, 2015 @ 01:01 | Reply

    • Yes, Ramana. Though, looking on the bright side, they might have really wished you success and hoped you come at the same time.

      There is a code in personnel (HR). So, for instance, if you read a reference saying “tried very hard” (which is basically the kiss of death) you have a choice. Your interviewee is hopeless or his/her previous employer had it in for them.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — September 24, 2015 @ 01:17 | Reply

  6. From what you told us of their remarks, it sounds to me like they were writing your obituary.

    Comment by Looney — September 24, 2015 @ 02:23 | Reply

    • Thanks, Looney. Can’t remember this minute but I think it was Ramana who recently came up with my preferred epitaph. Will let you know when it floods back to me. Sometimes I think my mind is pickled. Not exactly sour gherkins. More a question of how to get to the bit you like best. Have started to liken my brain to a computer (mine). It’s all archived somewhere but please don’t ask me to find it. Which is pretty crap for someone like me who – at heart – is an archivist once able to put her finger on anything in an instant. No wonder law held such an interest to me. All that small print. Dear dog in heaven. No doubt that it refined the proof reader in me. Not that I ever read my own copy. After all – it’s not legally binding.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — September 24, 2015 @ 15:55 | Reply

  7. Sorrow? Goodness me! I presume they also attached a photo of the boss weeping uncontrollably.

    I’ve invariably had good references, as I’ve always taken my work seriously and “gone the extra mile” on occasion. In fact several employers begged me to come back again after I’d left.

    Comment by nick — September 29, 2015 @ 11:45 | Reply

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