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Darren Neilan – My worst job

21 October 2009 by
Darren Neilan – My worst job

Darren Neilan is the restaurant manager at One O One in Knightsbridge, London.

What has been your worst job?

Twelve years ago, when I was at catering college at Port Rush in Northern Ireland, they sent a few of us across to Blackpool to help at the Imperial Hotel during the Conservative Party Conference.

What was so bad about it?

I'll never forget it. The weather was atrocious - and Blackpool is atrocious at the best of times - and my job was to stand in a little booth where the concierge normally stood and hand out Champagne all day. But the booth was falling apart and rain was falling through the roof and I kept saying to my employers that it was going to cave in. But they ignored me and ignored me. Imagine it, I was in this small booth for 14 hours a day, wet, handing out Champagne and getting electric shocks from the till. And then eventually, like I said, it caved in, and I was left standing there, covered in rubble, with loads of senior Tories and news reporters laughing at me.

What did you learn from the job?

The one thing I didn't do was panic or freak out or go bananas. They asked me if I wanted to go and sit down and I said I was happy to carry on. I was at catering college and was trying to get my personality through in what I was doing and that allowed me to take the situation light-heartedly.

What's the best thing about your current role?

Being allowed to be myself and be natural and free in my role. I try not to be stuffy or wooden but put my personality across and have a certain light-heartedness, and that situation helped me to hone that.

What's next?

There'll definitely be something, but the question I hate the most in job interviews is: "Where do you see yourself in five years?". Because if you'd asked me that five years ago I wouldn't have seen myself as restaurant manager at One O One. I'm a loyal person and they look after me very well here, I'm not one of these people who changes jobs every 12 months.

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