I am sitting at my desk, in a busy office, with my daughter by my side.
This is a nice thing. She is 15 and it is ‘ACE week’ at Lord William’s’ and so she is doing her work experience with me this week.
It’s OK regular readers, I am able to hold down a proper job as well as write this page once a week.
As we are working on the same PC we are huddled together trying to work something out.
She sees an answer quicker than me and I am happy so put my arm round her and give her a hug for being clever. I am quite proud.
Then I look round and I see the rest of the office looking at me with horror in their eyes.
What? It’s just a parental hug from a doting dad. Do these people have no heart?
I stare them down and give her another hug, just to prove a point.
We continue to work at our PC but I am worried now. Did I do something wrong?
Then I realise.
This morning when we came in to work for the first time I was trying to treat my daughter like any other work experience person, with no preferential treatment, so I walked her round the office, showed her the water cooler, the tea and coffee, the fire exit, the toilets and made sure I introduced her to everyone.
“This is Ms Thamensian” I said, changing her name for this article.
“And she will be here for a week’s placement.”
To show that this was a serious work experience placement I didn’t mention that she was my daughter: I want her to be treated like anyone else.
So just now, when I hugged her a couple of times in a paternal way, my interpretation may not have been the same as that of my colleagues.
What they have just seen is me hugging the 15-year-old work experience girl who I met two hours ago. Twice. And grinning with a soppy smile as I did so. This is not good.
I hastily do a little round of the office. “Would you like my DAUGHTER to make you a cup of tea?” I ask, watching relieved smiles spread round the workplace as realisation dawns.
Work experience teaches you so much.
You get to see work life, you occasionally get to see real life and you get to make cups and cups of tea and coffee.
I did my own work experience in Cruickshanks Estate agents in Thame and did nothing but photocopy deeds for a week.
How much more interesting to go to work, do a thousand different tasks, and if you’re really, really lucky see your parent taken away by the police.
See you next week. Hopefully.