Published: 10/02/2005, Volume II5, No. 5942 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

Remember I told you about our head of communications Trudy ditching the sad hippy look in a quest to get a better job?

Every morning she turns up in some new outfit - if she doesn't get an interview soon, she'll have to start seeing a debt counsellor. And the human dynamism is terrible; she's always praising everyone, never stops smiling, and last time PEC chair Dr Armani came in, she gave him a 50-page report she had written at the weekend, called PCT:

image and reality.

'Any joy?' asked my boss Jenny, watching Trudy poring over some job ads the other day. 'Nothing much, ' she replied. 'I need to find something I feel really passionate about.' 'The way things are going, you may not need a new job...' said Jenny, ''ll have mine.' Our beloved head of modernisation, Roger, is certainly impressed with the new Trudy, and keeps giving her reports to read 'for her info'. He's even invited her out to lunch, which is unheard of.

Rog is nervous of the female sex.

But when she took a morning off today, I felt quite sad. 'Looks like she's finally got an interview, ' I said to Jenny.

'Suppose she gets a really passionate new post? I'll miss her - at least, the way she was. Droopy Trudy.' 'I would give a lot to be reunited with Droopy Trudy, ' said Jenny. 'Maybe We have taken her for granted? Or maybe she's felt a bit left out since you arrived?' Woman of action that she is, Jenny had flowers and organic chocolates on the desk for Trudy's return. 'How did it go?' she asked. 'I didn't really feel... passionate...' began Trudy, then saw the presents. 'For you, ' I said, smiling sweetly. 'Because we love you, ' said Jenny. 'I mean - the real you. The Inca cardie you, not the Oprah Winfrey one.' I could see Trudy drooping to life there and then. And when Rog appeared, Trudy had already nose-dived into her box of tissues. 'Sorry, Roger, it'll have to wait, ' she said. 'Bit under the weather today.' After he had disappeared we had a girlie group hug.

Love Martha

Next week: going Zen