The Temp: "Why should I do stupid secretarial work when I've got a degree?" "Well, I do. So does Trish." "Well, you're girls - " It slipped out. He looked embarrassed.

Flatmate Craig and I spent Bank Holiday Monday stuck in the house together, and by the end of the day I thought I'd go mad. While the rest of you are gathering round the water cooler, coffee machine, lavatory sinks, portable air-conditioning unit, nearest low-maintenance tropical shrub, to swap tall stories about what you got up to on your Bank Holiday, spare a thought for the temps.

To you, Bank Holidays may be a time for getting completely legless on Sunday night and feeling sick in jams on Egdon Heath. Not so for temps. Bank Holidays bring a sense of dread: not only are you going to miss a day's pay, but many businesses take the holiday as an excuse to throw in the towel for the entire week. You don't even get those "sorry, everyone's at a party" switchboard shifts that Christmas brings. A Bank Holiday means a month spent panicking about the rent.

But there's an extra reason that I dread the things, and that is that I get to spend time with flatmate Craig, and that means too much time with his self-pity.

Craig and Trish and I graduated in the same subject two years ago. Since then, none of us has landed the job of our dreams, but we've approached the problem from opposite angles. Craig signed on. Craig claims housing benefit and perfects his resentment while Trish and I type and file and sometimes have pounds 20 left over for fun after bills and travelcards; but neither of us would have it any other way.

Craig and I ended up having a huge row on Monday. I was reading a book and fretting about what work I would pick up when the agency reopened on Tuesday, when he heaved one of those boy-sighs: full from the chest with a surreptitious glance to see that I was attending.

"What's wrong?" "It's Carnival," he said. "It's raining," I said. "Mmm," he said gloomily. "Everyone else will be going." "Not me," I said. I would rather have my teeth drilled than spend four hours dodging flying Thunderbird bottles in Ladbroke Grove in the pouring rain only to have some jerk steal my moron chicken, or some moron steal my jerk chicken, whichever it is. "Why don't you go?" "No money." I fished out my purse. "I'll lend you some."

Craig snorted. "Don't be stupid. What would I pay you back with? You know I haven't got a job." This made me doubly grumpy: when you've got no money there's nothing like people resenting you for offering to lend them some. "Well, why don't you get one?" "I can't," said Craig. "You know how hard I try. There aren't any jobs. I send off my CV everywhere, all the time, and I never get a job. I sent out 18 last week." "Well, why don't you just try working while you're waiting?"

"It's all right for you," said Craig, slamming copies of the employment pages around. "Look!" he snarled, "Look at all these things I applied to last week! How many have even bothered to reply? None! That's how many!" "Well, me too. Why don't you try walking into an agency? We do it. You just make an appointment." Craig marched up to a mirror, glared at himself in it. "Why should I? I've got a degree! Why should I do stupid secretarial work when I've got a degree?" "Well, I do. So does Trish."

"Well, you're girls - " It slipped out. He looked embarrassed. The he tried to cover up. "I mean, you can type." "Learn, then." "Why?" "So you can get some work." "I've tried for work. I apply and apply and no-one ..."

And that was my Bank Holiday. A whole afternoon, covering the same ground. Trish came back from her parents to find us sitting in our bedrooms, sulking. On Tuesday morning, the phone went at nine. Maxine with the offer of two more days at the cancer hospital. I accepted, pulled on my respectable dress and left the house, slamming the door to make sure I woke my flatmate, who had sat up all night watching telly and was still firmly in the sack.

News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
News
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
newsTV star had been reported missing
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel you sales role is li...

Head of Marketing (Online & Offline, Media, Digital, Strategy)

£85000 - £100000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing - Slough, Berkshi...

Administration Assistant / Office Assistant

£18 - 20k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An Administration Assistant / Office Assistan...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone