Moving up: Simon Marjoram, communications client services director, Geoff Howe Marketing

Having heard that Saatchis was recruiting psychology graduates, I'd bluffed my way onto a degree course in psychology at London University. Now armed with superior insight into the human psyche, I worked out that the quickest way of meeting girls, schmoozing them with free drinks and earning money to entertain them after closing time was to get a job in a bar. Hence my stint manning the optics at The Depot Wine Bar in Barnes.

Richard and Fred Fairbrass of the band Right Said Fred were my workmates for many evenings behind that bar. Already too sexy for my shirt, I taught them everything they know about music, whilst they in turn taught me... no, let's not go there.

Fortunately, my moment of epiphany in Barnes came about as a result of the profusion of marketing services companies in the vicinity, some trendy and boutiquey, others less so.

At the invitation of one of our regulars, permanently suited in dark grey and perched at one end of the bar, I successfully interviewed for a place on the Castrol Graduate scheme.

However, shortly before taking up that job, fate dictated that I would spend an afternoon serving non-stop Sambucas to another group of regulars at the other end of the bar, contrastingly sporting unironed T-shirts and jeans. At one stage, they invited me to critique their latest showpiece promotion for Amstrad. Reading the instruction "Using your skill and judgement, fill in your name and address", I dared to question just how challenging this would be for even the thickest participating punter. And with that observation, I was in. With the promise of casually-dressed lost afternoons in the pub, I had gone across to the Dark Side of agencyside marketing.

My induction continued through the night - notwithstanding the fact that I had prepared and tended bar since 9am that morning. I worked alongside my new masters at HCA, preparing sales conference documents until 5am. Somehow, I even managed to stumble along to the presentation the next morning at a Sussex country house hotel where I finally distinguished myself by falling fast asleep in the (thankfully female) client's bedroom on my first day in my new job.

But let's not go there, either.


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