Do I need a tummy tuck or a gag for my runaway gob?

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APPRENTICE: Zella couldn't replicate Tom Pellereau's success
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After two years working for the civil service, my contract came to an end last week and I have to face the fact that I am unemployed. Or, more positively, temporarily looking for work.

It’s an odd time to be searching for a new job. Not only is the market fairly sparse (I’m optimistically thinking recruiters are off on their summer holidays) but the applicants for the jobs I want are apparently pretty hot – in professional terms – according to the agencies.

What they haven’t said, but what I infer, is that they’re probably younger, thinner and more qualified, without nine years off to give birth.

I need a quick drink to steady my nerves, swiftly followed by a tummy tuck, face lift, cheap boarding school (so I can be in an office for long, long hours) and a confidence coach.

In order to keep myself vaguely sane, I’m trying to find ways to measure success which don’t actually revolve around getting offered a job.

I was pleased to have an interview, so that was a success. I was delighted to get there on time, another tick in the box. I was happy to take a test but not so ecstatic about finding out I had to write in pen on paper. Being able to chop and change paragraphs when writing strategies on a PC should never be underrated.

Another good moment was managing to introduce myself without then giving the family history saga of why I am called Zella and all the nicknames I was called as a kid (hooray).

Not so good was basking in the glory of not over-Zella-ing, therefore relaxing, and being taken by surprise (really? It’s not like I haven’t suffered before) when verbal diarrhoea spasmed out of nowhere.

Out it came, in my excitement, the stinking river of words about nothing in particular, simply filling the spaces in the conversation with anything. Even though part of my brain was screaming about corks, dams and plugs, the other part was busily wittering on about a huge pile of tripe.

My interviewers failed to offer me the post. Oh well, telling them I felt like I was on The Apprentice was perhaps not the best response. But at least I never asked if they could see my perspiring underarms in my new top. Another success.