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Correspondent&#39s View

Monday kicks off promisingly with a full page in The Guardian&#39s Office Hours section devoted to my advice on how to negotiate a pay rise.

I do not know how I think I am qualified to dish out advice to others when I consider the poor state of my own finances but it is a gem all the same.

Being a new convert to a life of freelancing, I spend most of the day pitching ideas to editors before deciding that I need to get some quotes for my car insurance.

Several phone calls later, I realise that not being married is costing me dearly and I think there is a story in there somewhere.

Once the single box is ticked, premiums rise and they are exaggerated by my “high-risk” profession.

From my experience, single people drive more safely. During my brief attempt at living with a man, I seem to remember going round in a permanent state of rage due to pants left on the floor and kebabs dropped down the back of the sofa and I drove in an accordingly erratic way.

Married women must exist in a state of anger all the time.

My work-avoidance skills have really kicked in since I started working at home so, after doing the washing and tidying the flat on Tuesday morning,I manage to sit down and finish my feature on how to use the internet to buy a house.

It soon degenerates into an afternoon of surfing property websites to see what my flat is worth. It is not really the glamorous life I thought I was entering when I went freelance.

Watching too much Sex And The City led me to believe that I would be floating around in pretty dresses writing a mere one column a week and buying lots of shoes to wear on exciting dates.

Instead, Stalked In The Suburbs is more apt as my ex-boyfriend has failed to accept that we have split up.

Another letter from him arrives, listing reasons why we should get back together but I decide I can reject him on spelling and punctuation alone.

By Wednesday, my work ethic and looming deadlines kick in and I make impressive progress on a piece about the barriers still facing people who want to take out an Islamic mortgage.

It all gets a bit complicated for my addled brain so when I get a call from a fellow work-at-homer mid-afternoon, it is only too easy to persuade me that I should be playing tennis on such a nice day.

To make myself feel less guilty, I explain the finer details of Islamic finance between points. My opponent is captivated, I can tell.

On Thursday, for some reason, I feel the need to humiliate myself on national TV. Before the commission flooded in, I decided that an appearance on Channel Five&#39s Brainteaser would prod-uce some much-needed readies.

Safe in the knowledge that no one watches this rubbish, I think I can get to Bristol where it is filmed, do the deed and get back to London without anyone ever knowing.

Brainteaser falls into the so-bad-it-is-good category, complete with cheesy presenters, wobbly sets and inanely grinning contestants with no sense of emb-arrassment and, it seems, no grasp of the English language.

I do not win a penny and, bitterly disappointed, I get back to London in time for another trip to the tennis club where I am greeted by another home-working friend laughing hysterically and brandishing a video of my TV debut.

On Friday, I mange to start and finish a piece about how boardroom culture is stopping women reaching the top of organisations and then hassle various editors about commissioning stuff to me. It pays off and I have enough work to see me through next week.

Strangely for a Friday night, I am dragged off to a blood donor clinic where handing over a pint of my finest makes me feel unbelievably smug.

You also get drunk quicker immediately after donating blood so a week of hard work is nicely rounded off feeling smug and tipsy – just how I like it.

Emma Lunn is a freelance finance and careers journalist

•”Surely you&#39ve been to Borneo – you love headhunting.” – Colleague of Hamptons International Mortgages&#39 Kevin Duffy remarks on his recruitment techniques.

Oh, Francis Ghiloni. The Diary thought it was joking when it asked for information about any more leaving do&#39s.

Surely even for a Scot, a Glaswegian, a Britannic Asset Management sales and marketing director, even for a Francis Ghiloni, five leaving do&#39s would suffice. But no. We forgot that the citizens of London had to have an opportunity to celebrate his departure so the true number is six.

Sources close to sources close to sources at BAM inform us that “The bold boy is indeed having yet another fond farewell – this time it is on September 7 in Covent Garden with special guests, including a fund manager, a head of sales and a couple of ladies from Edward Jones.” Still, none of the compliance team, Francis, for shame.

Surely Francis is trying to achieve a world record. Our source promises to keep us informed of any further festivities. The record must be in peril.


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