Published: 03/02/2005, Volume II4, No. 5941 Page 37

Martha is assistant director of modernisation at a primary care trust. At the end of a busy week, she collapses in front of her PC to e-mail Mary, a former colleague, who has escaped Down Under.

Hi Mary

God, what a week It is been! Call me oldfashioned, but I would prefer it if people stuck to being the way they are.

When the Ex started trying to hone his body to match Brad Pitt, I knew things were going pear-shaped, as it were. And - surprise! - six months later off he went with the woman who sold photocopying fluid to his office. Twentyfive years of age and roughly five stone in weight, as you know.

So It is a big thumbs-down to Trudy, our head of communications, who has decided to stop blowing her nose all day and turn into a person of charisma. I know It is all part of trying to get another job, but can't she just retype her CV like the rest of us?

The trouble started on Monday, when Carole Smillie apparently walked into the office - blonde bob, cream separates, subtle bit of gold jewellery, and not an Inca cardie to be seen. 'Is that you, Trudy?' I asked uncertainly as she started emptying her new leather briefcase onto her desk. 'You're not... coming down with something, are you?' 'Martha, have you ever thought about your posture?' she asked, taking off her jacket to reveal a white silk shirt. (What job can she possibly want? Editor of Bella? ) 'Posture? How d'you mean?' I said, lifting my chin off my chest long enough to reach for a Mars bar.

'Even if you are happy in your job, you need to think about your image. You need charisma, ' she said.

'Rubbish, ' said Jenny, bustling in wearing her Compo-style winter hat and dodgy fun-fur. 'Leave that kind of thing to Rog.' Just then the man himself appeared, took one look at Trudy and said:

'High-level meeting, people. Looking at new ways of selling ourselves to the community. Trudy, would you like to chair it?' Jenny rolled her eyes at me and Trudy looked smug. If she starts being Roger's little clone, I'll be searching the jobs pages for her!

Love, Martha

Next week: girlie group hugs