“Hi! How can I help?”
“My ruler fell off my desk. Is it OK if I reach down to get it?”
Wow. Exam invigilation. A job of diabolically stupid questions, and one of the COOLEST but UNCOOLEST ones I’ve done.
I’m a connoisseur of shit jobs. To fund my PhD, a rapidly depressive sinkhole of confusion and insecurity, I have to work jobs that pay £7.50 just be able to feed myself with Tesco Value food. It ain’t pretty, but Tommy’s gotta work it like the rent’s due. Because it actually is.
For a month I’ve been wearing a high visibility jacket with the word INVIGILATOR slapped on the back, looking after 600 hot and horny undergrad students in a massive, kinda stinky hall.
I’ve strutted up and down rows of desks like an air hostess on heat, handing out ridiculous amounts of paper, soothing fears, finding pencils and smelling fitties’ hair. I’m that kind of perv.
But it’s not actually been that bad. This latest crap employment opportunity has been… fun? Gosh!
For those who’ve never taken an exam (seriously?), or met another invigilator (we are few), basically it involves sitting. And standing. But what’s better than getting paid to spend 90% of your day staring into the middle distance thinking about
c) a delicious combination of the two?
And there’s been GAMES. Lots of games. If you think invigilators stroll around without purpose, peering over your dandruff-iced shoulder every once in a while ‘just because’, you are WRONG WRONG WRONGY WRONG. What we are actually doing is signaling you out.
Par exemplé: if you notice an invigilator standing to the right of your desk, he/she is letting the other invigilators know that you are Fittest Boy/Girl in Seats 101-200. Well done babe!
But more often that not, you’ll have in fact been nominated for: Worst Hair, Most Likely to Fail This Exam, Still Wets the Bed, Worst Back/Neck Hair, Biggest Lesbian, or my all-time-fave: Best Judi Dench Lookalike.
Want to better yourself? Invigilate. I’ve picked up some serious life skills. I can now Spot the Hottie out of a crowd of 600 people in about, ooooh, 3.5 seconds? MAX.
Oh and incase you’re still a student and planning your modules, listen up my little undergrad lambs: Introduction to French Lit. (BA) might just be the fittest group of people I have EVER seen.
There’s UNCOOL stuff sure… but EIC doesn’t like to come across as indecisive in its headlines. So apologies for misleading you.
For a start, toilet duty: standing in a room that stinks of piss asking guys who will probably fail anyway to show me what’s in their pockets. Never. Again. (And in case you’re wondering.. it’s mostly tissues).
Panic also got on my tits by the end. Listen love – it’s an EFFING exam. You are NOT going to fail because you accidentally had a calculator in your kooky Toy Story 3 pencil case so STOP sobbing mascara because we had to confiscate it. SHEESH.
Men were no better: jittery little shits that couldn’t find their desk because they’d partied too much the week before and were now so junked up on Red Bull that they couldn’t focus on desk numbers:
“W-w-where is 439? I can’t find it, I can’t, I literally can’t mate.”
All this said while scratching their face repeatedly and looking over their shoulder for that pigeon that was following them.
In the end though, I liked it. I liked it a lot. I made some new friends, had time to think, write and tweet (+10 followers in a week, oh baby) and most importantly made some money while doing, quite seriously, bugger all.
Follow me down the garden path on twitter: @tomekmoss