Without this third client, Simon Macbeth Roundhay wouldn’t be where I am now and I’m really grateful for all of the work they gave me. My recruitment agency would not have taken off or gone anywhere. If I had walked out and refused to work on that first day at Elmwood, I would not have had the guaranteed income during that time, would not have got clients through them, or the interviews over the next three years. That split second inside the changing room where I nearly walked straight through the door was a huge moment for me. It’s amazing how these little things change your life.
So I’d had three clients. I never heard from the first, St Josephs, again. St Luke’s, the second client, phoned up one day needing a chef and the booking clashed with my work at client three. I told them I wasn’t sure I’d have the time, but I had a week to sort the problem out. I stuck an advert in the job centre, found a chef, gave him the address, and sent him along to St Luke’s the following week. He was happy to work there. I blagged it. I took his references and told him I couldn’t personally interview him because the agency was so busy at the time. I was making out this agency was a proper recruitment agency, not some young lad who was sat in front of a desk that had been crafted from an old kitchen worktop balanced on two sets of drawers. This state of the art office furniture had replaced the bureau by this time.
I never met this second chef, which was a breach of the Employment Agency Act because you’re supposed to meet your staff before you take them on. I didn’t even know this Act existed. I was just making it all up as I went along. None of the first three clients knew that the chef who was coming around to work was the same guy who had answered the phone and taken the booking.
I called myself Mark when I was in the office. Over a long period of time Graeme, the manager at Elmwood, got to know Mark in the office and got to know Simon the chef, and never knew they were the same person. I put on a funny, deeper, and more business like voice when I was answering the phone to Graeme. I had caller display so I knew it was him ringing through. I’m sure the voice I used changed each time he rang. One day Mark in the office was Welsh, the next day Scottish, and betwixt and between for each other time the phone rang. I’ve never been good with accents and always forgot Mark’s voice. How Graeme didn’t catch on, I’ll never quite understand. Maybe he did, but was too good a sport to let on.
I remember standing (as Simon) talking to Graeme, who was asking me questions about how Mark and the recruitment agency were doing. I’d be in the office and Graeme would call and start talking to Mark about Simon’s hours for next week. I was different people all the time and I tend to be easily confused. Sometimes when Graeme called, I’d see it was him on the phone readout and I’d sit there not wanting to talk as Mark. The trouble was Graeme never left messages, other than “please call me back,” so I was only delaying the inevitable.
I decided that I couldn’t go on like that, being two people. I knew I was bound to trip myself up at some stage. I decided Simon was going to give himself a promotion. Graeme was told that Mark was leaving, going on to bigger and better things and that Simon has been offered a chance to get some experience in the office. So the real Simon took over the office duties and the fictional Mark disappeared for good. Graeme even asked if I was getting paid more, so I made up a tale about the increased pay I was getting and everyone seemed really pleased for me.
From then on there was no subterfuge required. I could answer the phone normally and wouldn’t have to remember who was who and doing what. I told Graeme that I had asked whether I could still do my shifts at Elmwood, as I enjoyed the work and the bosses (whoever they were) had told me that this would be fine. So I was splitting my time between Elmwood and managing the office, which was a much simpler life. I had really hated doing the Mark thing.
So the recruitment agency had experienced its first staff departure (albeit fictional) and had taken on its first employee, by putting the chef into St Luke’s for a few days. As more work came in, more money came in. It got to a point where I was working an eight-hour shift at Elmwood through to 6.30pm for five days a week. I was getting up at 7am to sort out the office stuff before I left for Elmwood at 10am. Then I’d be back in the office after my shift and would work until midnight.
The next big step was with client number eight, Majestic’s nightclub, who phoned me out of the blue asking if I could supply them with bar staff. They wanted eight bar staff to work on Friday and Saturday the following week so I had about 10 days. I had no idea how I would sort that out for them, but accepted the challenge anyway and started putting adverts in the job centre. I recruited and appointed one of the bar staff as the supervisor, who I asked to meet all of the staff outside of the club so they could go in together. I covered every shift.
I spoke to Paul Woodcock, the manager of the club, on Monday to see how it went and I was told that only three people had turned up on Saturday and only two on Friday. I had no idea what to say, but the club’s manager Paul was great and from that point on I had staff in the club every weekend. I improved the service, going down there personally. If he asked for eight staff, I would arrange for 10 to turn up so if a couple missed we were still all right. That work with the Majestic’s nightclub was another important stepping-stone for me. They would contribute to my future far more than they would ever believe possible.
You can read chapter 12 here: http://www.simonmacbeth.co
Learn More About Simon Macbeth Leeds
You can find out more about Simon Macbeths life, from being a child and growing up in Leeds, to where he is now. A successful, award winning, business owner and web designer that owns high ranking websites. He is active on Google+ and Facebook where he creates interesting content.
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