Thirty odd years ago I did something very stupid.....I joined the ambulance service.
Today you really have to have degrees coming out of your ears to even think about applying, but back then it was different. It was 1980 to be precise, and I was an innocent 21 year old. In those days they would take virtually anyone!
I was technically unemployed at the time, having been working as a sales rep for all of two weeks and hating every moment; I just couldn’t sell a thing, partly because the stuff I was trying to sell was total crap and partly because I really couldn’t be bothered.
The local job centre was a frequent stop for me; you just walked in and looked at the little pieces of cardboard stuck to the wall, if something took your fancy then you would have a quick word with one of staff and they would sort you out. One day I was perusing the said wall when one of the bits of cardboard caught my eye. The Hertfordshire Ambulance Service was looking for victims.
I didn’t do anything then. I just walked out and went down the pub.
A couple of days later I decided that trying to sell stuff that I had absolutely no interest in selling was perhaps not a good career move, so I jacked it in. I was now unemployed... again.
Over the next few days I started thinking about how I intended to support myself and how I could get beer money. I was still living with my parents at the time, so beer money was the priority. I chewed the cud and started thinking seriously about joining one of the emergency services.
The police force was a good option, but wasn’t there a possibility that you could actually get hurt? I mean the police had to arrest people, generally people who didn’t want to get arrested. You could even get shot at...with a gun! I’m a coward, and I had seen a few rucks in my time and had seen a few coppers get in the way of a good right hand. No, the police wasn’t for me.
The fire service was another option, but you had to put out fires, and I had no desire to go anywhere near something that was hot and burning and smoking and exploding, you had to climb ladders too.....No, the fire service wasn’t for me either.
That left the ambulance service. You only had to take sick people to hospital, so you should be relatively safe from harm, it would be a doddle. The pay wasn’t that good, but I could do that while looking for a job that I actually wanted to do. I had already seen the bit of cardboard pinned to the wall down at the job centre, so I resolved to wander down the next day and see if it was still there.
I went down......and sadly it was!