Captain Moonlight: Opportunity knocks for a hard worker

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The Independent Online
AS HE sits silent behind the high security gates of his beautiful Kent home, one crucial thought must be reverberating insistently through the fertile mind of Kelvin MacKenzie, resigned managing director of BSkyB, former editor of the Sun newspaper: where exactly, he will be asking himself, do I go from here? The Captain can help.

The important thing, experts agree, is to get back into the saddle. Take a job which is less than perfect rather than go stale. Besides, this could be the big chance to branch out, do something completely different. I have to say, though, that a trawl through the recruitment ads does not throw up a huge number of openings for a 47-year-old with one O-level.

The Co-op, I see, is looking for a dairy manager in Nottingham. The Meat Hygiene Service has 'a key role for a strategic thinker'. Price's Patent Candles, of Battersea, is looking for salesmen, as is Transorganics, waste recyclers. A London noodle bar needs an assistant front-of-house manager.

Nothing quite right there. Recruitment specialists I consulted suggested posterior automobile marketing (car boot sales) might be the thing. Then I came across just the ticket: an ad for someone 'over 21, fit, healthy, fluent in English and numerate'. 'We are looking for calm and flexible people with good interpersonal skills to fulfil this demanding role,' it said. Perfect. The company with the Westminster contract are looking for traffic wardens.

Now, two Sam Chisholm stories for you. 1) The BSkyB chief executive and MacKenzie downsizer received a phone call from a colleague in the middle of an emotional meeting with a husband and wife broadcasting team. 'They're both blubbing and I'm sacking him,' confided the small, genial New Zealander. 2) A BBC executive, during a discussion about satellite deals, mentioned that World Service Television was starting Hindi broadcasts. Chisholm didn't react. A few days later he did, on the phone, complaining bitterly that the executive hadn't told him Hindi was what they spoke in India, a rather large satellite market. (This story is denied but my sources are stout.)

Captain's nautical note: A Kelvin is a shallow wave encountered in the equatorial Pacific.