Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Managing Gwyneth Paltrow's Office Job Expectations

To: gwynie@goop.com
From: chinwagsandtattles@gmail.com

Dear Gwynie,

I'm sorry to hear that you're thinking of taking a break from the rigours of show business. But I'm even more sorry to hear that you're thinking of swapping it for a routinary office job because '...you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening." 

It sounds like an advert for a slow cooker.

You, while at work for Hugo Boss

I'm sure that most working mothers are still cursing you absolutely not under their breath. I'm not a mother (yet) but I do an office job, and believe me, I'm not able to do all the stuff in the morning and just come home to relax in the evening. Imagine if I have kids and no help? One thing's for sure, I will not have the time to sit down and type this. The only working mother I know of who managed to write her reaction to your interview on E! was Mackenzie Dawson because she writes for an office job, and as someone who used to write for a living myself, I'm sure her hours extend beyond office working hours for which she doesn't command millions. 

Had you mentioned that you've decided to stop working indefinitely, I figure you won't receive the same backlash. The public, and those working mothers, and us office workers, will find it more realistic as what you're worth can allow you to step back from the limelight--something that we can only ever dream of. It's a slight to burnt-out workers who would kill to escape the routine to also be there for school runs or to simply do what makes us truly happy and content, which, by the way, is not having to go through the repetitive daily routine of a 9 to 5 which still doesn't afford us a major get-away in the Bahamas with the entire clan.

We aren't privy to your professional and personal struggles behind the camera, so it's unfair for us to say that you have it easy as we only see you on the red carpet or dressed down whipping up recipes or hanging around your old Belsize Park neighbourhood. But, it's equally unfair for you to underestimate our own challenges, for most likely you've not held an office job before as a source of livelihood.

I don't know what sort of office job you had in mind, but I'm sure it's not something you'll find via Gumtree or Craigslist. I found two jobs there though, so you might care to have a look. As with interns and fresh grads I've worked with in the past, I thought I should also let you in on office job top secrets.

  • As job applicants, we go interviews--not auditions and screen tests. Our acting skills are measured by how well we can convince the interviewer that we're really enthusiastic about the job when thoughts are more about when to leave even before getting hired. We're also represented by agents--that is, recruitment agents, who send us to jobs we're not really qualified for, but they send us anyway.

  • You mentioned that you have a rule about making just one movie per year. I'm afraid it doesn't apply to office jobs. HR will probably not be able to draw out a contract where you only work two weeks ( as you do in Wisconsin) per year while you spend the remaining 50 weeks working from home. Or taking a break.

  • Upon receiving your payslip, the first figures your eyes zero in aren't your net pay; it's the deductions, taxes, and national insurance. I'm sure you're used to paying millions in taxes (I've not heard of the IRS or maybe HMRC run after you so I assume you've been religiously paying your dues), but if you're paid a montly salary that you won't even notice stolen from your showbiz millions, all those mandatory deductions will make you sympathise with tax evaders that much, you'd want to be one.

  • You will have to choose between doing all the stuff in the morning and missing your train or bus. Unfortunately, unlike in your movie 'Sliding Doors' where the story revolved around you missing your train, there's only one possibility in this case: you'll be late. Prepare to charm the boss during your appraisal.
  •  If your office has provisions, you'll be treated to free coffee, tea, and biscuits. But I guess, your antibiotic, I mean, macrobiotic diet, doesn't allow you to gorge on those unenlightened workers' snacks, so I encourage you to bring your own.

  • Should you decide to have a baby again and go on maternity leave, it's not guaranteed that your job will be waiting for you. Unlike in showbiz where you can make a comeback after having two children (provided you're bankable and well-connected, which I believe you are)--still with breasts as pert as when you hit puberty and a shape much more attractive than when you landed your first major role--your worth in the corporate world is devalued when you take time off to have children. Of course there are some women who successfully resumed where they left off. But generally, women struggle to have both. You might want to know that there are women whose earnings are spent on childcare alone, for them to ensure that they don't leave too long a gap away from work. The children will grow up one day, but those career women's  office skills may not grow alongside them, that when they decide to go back to work, it's a whole process of starting again.

  • Yes, we also get awards. Either we get promoted to a new title with not much difference in pay but entails more responsibility, or our efforts are renumerated with gift vouchers. Oh yes, we also get bonuses and commission based on performance and days worked. I'm sure it's a pittance compared to bonuses received from blockbusters though. Have you ever experienced not receiving an accolade because someone else got the credit? Maybe not, with all your acting awards and an Oscar for 'Shakespeare in Love.' In an office job, be prepared to watch an incompetent buffoon of a colleague walk away with the promotion you deserve.

  • Perhaps you're no stranger to working with fellow actors whom you find difficult. I bet it's worse when you have to be in scenes together where you have to pretend you care for and love each other. But that's what's called acting. In an office setting, that's called insincerity. Or you're a two-faced b***h. But, you're forced into it rather than be aloof with everyone you deal with on a daily basis. You're lucky if you end up working with likeable and easy-going colleagues. Otherwise, it's mental and emotional torture day in, day out. Sometimes, it's not the routine that makes workers leave an office job. It's the people.

  •  The only paparazzi activity involved in an office job is your boss, colleagues, clients (if you're office job is in customer service), and suppliers hounding you to the ends of your lunch break for your input on the most stupid questions they can answer themselves. If they're rude enough, the hounding goes on until the weekend just when you least expect it. That spoils anyone's routine.

  •  I've not met anyone who would happily stick to a full-time office job when there's an opportunity to do it part-time for the same pay. If there's an application for paid freedom from what lots consider a soul-destroying routine, the queue will be long. 

So you see Gwynie, these are just a few of office workers' sentiments. We empathise with your gruelling long hours in a movie set, but it still doesn't make our desk jobs any easier. If we could, we'd also be singing duets with Huey Lewis, Babyface, and Adele, or launching our own lifestyle website. Or be Iron Man's PA. But if you think that an office job is the next step moving forward, go on then, suit yourself.

Good luck!

Consciously Yours,

Ms. Chinwags and Tittle-Tattles

P.S. You get a one-hour lunch plus tea break if it's not very busy. Here's a tip: you can use it to do some online shopping so your groceries can be delivered at night. Saves you time :)


  1. This is brilliant! "It sounds like an advert for a slow cooker."-- made me laugh out loud. I couldn't have written this better myself!

    1. Haha..thanks Rhona. As a working mum, I hope you didn't wanna kill her :)

  2. This hasn't been a good week for her PR has it??? I mean this and her conscious conscience or whatever she was on about. I bet most wish they are unconscious around her as well...

    1. In one interview, his dad said the now ex-hubby was the only one that made her bearable. Truth, or he's just feeling sorry for his son. Think before you say anything is what I could have advised her if she were my friend. Hope she got my email :)

  3. My, my, all I have been reading lately is about her ... and on my Twitter timeline, how she talked about stay at home mums, etc. It must be nice to just do one film a year! :-)

    1. I wish I can work just 2 weeks per year, even if it's a 14-hour day. I'd be rolling on my millions afterwards anyway :)

  4. I think they call this attention seeking don't they. I mean, we are all talking about her lately so I guess her mission is complete! Work is so much easier and more enjoyable when you don't really have to do it, but when your home and food depends on it, well, it's just another 'chore' we could all do without.

    Have a good weekend x

    1. Hmmm...I must say that I don't think she's seeking attention. It's just the effect. I'd say it's more about being insensitive, unaware of other people's plight, and not thinking before saying anything. Have a good week ahead x

  5. Brilliant!! She is so out of touch.


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