About the only thing I hate more than having my haircut (and remember, this is an experience that comes higher on my list of nasty things to do than having all my teeth pulled without anaesthetic) is applying for a new job.
Whilst the secret Hairdresser pact destroyed our national morale with the Perm, the Mullet and the Rat’s Tail the Scientists that vie with the hairdressers, cats etc for control of the world have struck back with that most soul-destroying of all tasks – trying to find a decent job.
The first depressing thing about applying for a new job is the fact that you are only going through the dreaded process in the first place because the last job you leaped into to get out of the previous awful job is so basically soul destroying. If this job had turned out to be anywhere close to the Interesting and Exciting challenge billed in the job advert (instead of the steaming pile of horse manure that it actually is) then you wouldn’t already be looking for something else.
Then there’s the job advert. I mentioned before that all jobs have to be advertised under British employment law, meaning that 90% of all jobs advertised have already been filled internally by the time they appear in your news paper – the other 10% of jobs are of the “Chief Urine Tester To The Queen’s Corgi’s” variety (IE you wouldn’t touch them with an extremely large barge-pole.
Then there’s the qualifications you need to be considered for these already taken positions. You need to be 18 years old with 25 years experience of Zero-gravity and a degree in Astrophysics just to get behind the counter in McDonalds these days – and no one is interested in training someone with applicable experience.
Once you have decided that taking out your own spleen and dicing it with your pencil sharpener seems marginally less fun than filling in the application form you are faced with the Person Specification – which seems designed to ask the same question twenty times. True, things have calmed down a bit since the early 1980s when you needed a member of Mensa (organisation for people with high IQs), a step-by-step manual and three weeks to fill in the twenty page Council applications – but they are still incredibly frustrating. My least favourite bit is the “Equal Opportunities” bit, where you have to declare that you are a single-parent immigrant from Alpha Centuri with one leg and an eye-patch to gain any chance of an interview (any organisation that actually believed in Equal Opportunities, rather than just paying lip service to it, would dispense of this form and just chose applicants based on skills and experience)
Assuming you make it through the marathon application form without spontaneously combusting and get an interview you are then faced with the standard interview panel – where you are interrogated by either two of those Stormtroopers from the Star Wars films or by two people you wouldn’t trust to find the floor with their feet – let alone a suitable candidate.
They all ask the same experience based questions – give me an instance when you have experienced conflict. This means that the game becomes not “who has the best experience” but “who can answer the questions with the most bullshit” and, inevitably, results in companies full of employees who are great at answering stupid questions, but rubbish at actually doing the job.
If you’re really lucky you might get one of those team building interviews, where you sit in circles and decide which fictional person you would leave to drown if you were stranded on a desert island.
Finally, of course, should you get the job – you are by this time so desperate to get out of the hell hole you were stuck in previously that you find yourselves taking the first job offered – only to find out that the silver light you saw from afar is actually bat’s urine and that you will now have to spend another depressing few years chasing another dream in the hope that this one works out better.
My problem is that I am too experienced for the lower roles, but don’t have the qualifications (mostly thanks to employers who promise training, but never deliver) for the higher roles – meaning that I have an extremely narrow window of hope…
Still, a window of hope is better than no window. Maybe next time I will find myself a job with a career ladder, instead of a job where the career ladder appears to be locked away
Leaning against a different building
Leading straight to a huge fire
Behind a sign saying “Beware of the leopard”
We can but hope!