Part of this whole NEIS scheme is an ‘instant mentor’. Originally I was given a Mr Cook, accountant, ex-ATO man and sometime trainspotter. In his quiet time, he liked to make train DVDs, not exciting ones about the Great Train Robbery, but cinematic masterpieces like ‘A Day on the Upfield Line’ and ‘Shunting at Glen Waverly’.
The hard-working NEIS people figured that with his love of the moving image, and my background in film and television, that we would get on like a house on fire. In his 15-minute home visit, he announced that we would have nothing much to discuss as, and I quote, ‘I hadn’t done much work yet, as my business had only started.’ To add a further sting, I missed out on two free tickets to Joan Rivers.
Then my accounting mentor rocked up. Pat was lovely – told me a few things about Excel and grabbed five business cards, but knew nothing about accounting. That day I missed out on a free wine tasting at Fed Square.
So when the NEIS people rang me this month, I told them, as tactfully as possible, that an accountant with a love of trains was perhaps not the best thing for someone with an interest in writing and publishing. I wanted someone with zing! Enthusiasm! Someone with a bit of get up and get movin’!!
They did their best. I now have Aunty Tina.
During NEIS (a small business course) Aunty Tina burst into the room, lorgnettes a-jangle, exclaiming ‘I’m a bit mad, but that’s just me, so call me Aunty Tina, everyone does!’ On that memorable day she taught us how to tap into our innermost desires, open a door properly and exercise our upper lips using manoeuvres called the ‘horse blow’ and the ‘queen’s corgi’. Each time, she ‘got into character’ with many actorly wrist shakes and tossings of head.
She rang me just before, to confirm our meeting next week in Beaumaris, just a short hop from Brunswick. She said many things (and in more words than I would ever use), most of all that she was dying to meet me, and ‘get me started’.
Her: “I’m worth the trip darling, everyone says so!”
Me: “Oh-ho, I sure hope so!
Her: “I thought I’d warn you sweetheart that when I mentor, I’m very hands on, I have to know everything. I MENTOR FOR LIFE, but that’s just me, you’ll get used to it!”
Her: “So you just come around lunchtime, bring a sangie, and we’ll curl up in from of the fire and chew the fat!”
Me: “Sounds lovely.”
Her: “I’ll even supply the boston buns and the coffee.”
Me: “Well I can’t complain about that!”
I clearly have some sort of madwoman radar on full pelt at the moment.