3 SEPTEMBER 1988, Page 35


Veiled reference


In Competition No. 1538 you were asked to supply an imaginary testimonial giving satisfaction to the applicant but conveying hidden warnings to the potential employer. In some proconsular memoirs, I remem- ber reading of an exasperated governor who, asked by the Foreign Office for his opinion of a subordinate, replied, 'His value to us here can be gauged by the fact that on no less than seven occasions I have used my meagre store of time and eloqu- ence in dissuading him from offering his resignation.' A correspondent swears that some years ago there was an artisan in Port Moresby, New Guinea, who proudly car- ried in his pocket this reference: 'Mr X. has constructed many stone walls for me, some of which are standing to this day. I would recommend him without hesitation to my mother-in-law or my sergeant-major'. Many of you provided great one-liners. 'I shall be very glad to see him go further', 'I would only add that you'll be very lucky if You get him to work for you', 'She is scrupulously honest once one has gained her confidence, of which I feel myself on the verge', 'The annual star of the Christ- mas Party, Eric even provides his own Santa Claus outfit' . . . - The winners printed below get £12 each. David Oliver, Polly Flinders, Roger Wod- dis, D. B. Jenkinson and Frances Orme are highly commended. The bonus bottle of Tokay Pinot Gris 1985, the last gift of our generous patrons for 12 weeks, Atkinson Baldwin & Co., St Mary's House, 42 Vicarage Crescent, London SW11, is Geoffrey Riley's.

Ms Daphne Georgina Reyse-Kane acted as Head of Secretariat here during a particularly eventful year and made a considerable impact on the Department. The daughter of Admiral George ('Hell's Angel') Reyse-Kane, she soon demonstrated her formidable grasp of office discipline and a dreadnought-like capacity for achieving results. A born administrator, she completely reorga- nised our filing system and has been tireless in locating missing documents. She coped amazing- ly with the rapid turnover of staff shortly after her arrival, and her introduction of an 'in-house' Assertiveness Workshop made a unique con- tribution to personnel relations. Her occasional absences through illness left a noticeable vacuum, though this was more than compen- sated for by the useful increase in the staffs medical knowledge on her return. 'Georgie's' decisiveness, trenchancy of lan- guage and skills in developing problem situa- tions make her the ideal candidate for a transfer to other duties.

(Geoffrey Riley) During his employment with us as a used-car salesman Philip Osgood has been noted for honesty and plain dealing. He has been un- failingly conscientious in inspecting his vehicles and has brought many a fault to our notice. Throughout the trade he is renowned for his choice and precision of language. To my know- ledge no customer has ever lodged a complaint about misrepresentation of goods; indeed, I can recall no customer lodging any complaint.

In this age of ostentatious display it is reassur- ing to come across such a beacon of good taste. I am sure he will fit in with you at Good-as-New Autos Ltd.

(Maurice Hall) Miss Lovejoy has been at Sleamford School for only one term, but in that short time has surprised all of us with the originality of her educational theories, and her patient, unselfcon- scious way of exploiting her pupils' energy and inventiveness during lessons. They will certainly miss her, not least for her organising of the end-of-term disco, where she coped with a succession of crises in a very relaxed and good-humoured manner. We particularly admired her handling of questions at the subse- quent inquiry held by the Governors and the Parent-Teachers Association.

We shall find it difficult to appoint a teacher in quite the same mould as Miss Lovejoy. Col- leagues have appreciated her vigorous and unorthodox .championing of their cause at staff meetings, while the local community will be altogether much more staid without her uninhi- bited contribution to its social life.

(Watson Weeks) Mary Brown has been interested in travelling abroad for many years. She has an extensive library of reference books on most of the major countries of Europe, and spends a great deal of her free time in studying them. While her knowledge of foreign languages is not wide, the fact that she used to sing in a local choir proves that she has a good ear.

She has bravely overcome a series of health problems and has a natural sympathy with sick people, a trait which will stand her in good stead when inevitable difficulties with illness arise.

Her appreciation of the solid virtues of home life will reinforce her heartfelt desire to return her charges safely to this country. She has potential qualities of leadership, unexploited by her present job on an assembly line, and I am sure you would not regret employing her as a travel courier.

(Ros Aitken) It is with pleasure I find Steven is moving, to better himself. I write with some certainty that his presence over the last 12 months has brightened up office life considerably. His lively humour has cheered many of our staff on a hard day, not only in his own department but throughout the building.

Steven has proved popular with our clients, notably with his praiseworthy efforts to cheer even the most disgruntled.

He is a keen worker, enthusiasm and energy making up for inaccuracies. He copes exceeding- ly well with the effect of the medication, for which I admire him greatly. Steven is an employee whose leaving will certainly be noticed. But I've been urging him for some time to obtain a post where he can achieve his full potential. He has a great deal to offer the undertaking profession. I wish him, and yourselves, very good luck in the future.

(Jeremy Condliffe) I have known Tarquin Thurston for more than ten years and am very glad to support his application for a job as a depth interviewer with your Market Research organisation.

I know him to be honest and hard working. He has imaginative flair yet an eager-beaver determination in the search for and examination of evidence to support his hypotheses. He is a veritable sponge at absorbing interesting back- ground information about friends and other people with whom he comes in contact. One sees this talent as useful in your fields. He is an entertaining talker with what may sometimes appear the grand manner and yet, when appropriate, displays the common touch. He is an altogether delightful fellow who will stand out in any company, especially with his tastefully colourful clothes. Never one to suffer fools gladly but unswerving in his loyalty, I feel sure he could bring credit to your business. (Brian Coates)