Wednesday, June 23, 2004

'The most beautiful woman in the world'

A couple of months ago, our boss told my colleague and I that we could employ a new staff member on a scheme for employing ethnic minority youth at risk of unemployment. It means that we pay half the salary and the government pay the rest.

My colleague and I were excited about the prospect of extra help but we disagreed over the preferred gender of our new employee. Since there's already an oversupply of men around here I wanted a girl. My colleague thought it would be better to have a boy so that she could send him out with flyers to promote our services. I thought a girl would be much better for this purpose anyway, as long as she went accompanied.

In the end we didn't have any choice because the interview candidates were all female. It turns out that our new employee has certainly changed the atmosphere of the place. Not only does she work well but she has developed a cult following among our clients and volunteer staff.

At first I thought it was just our 17 year old volunteer that was infatuated. He follows her around the centre and sits in a trance watching her when she is working on the computer. Whenever she gets sent out to do shopping or distribute flyers he sulks until he is sent too.

But when I witnessed another volunteer doing almost the same thing I realised that there was some kind of almost universal effect that I hadn't noticed.

This was confirmed when I went to the refugee's hostel for a Saturday morning breakfast and they began talking about her. It turns out that one of the refugees had arrived home after her first day of work and announced that he had seen the most beautiful girl in the world.

Possibly the best part about the whole thing is the willingness to clean, cook and generally help out that any men in our centre demonstrate when she is present. My workload in this kind of stuff has been cut by half :)

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