Job hunting is like being at a fancy dress ball and nobody wanting to dance with you.
On the first day you jump on Seek or some other careers site and the world is your oyster. You’re presented with page after page of life-changing employment. Fresh opportunities and the lure of cold, hard cash that’ll elevate you from cask wine to bottled wine, from two-minute noodles to a main at Sushi Noodle Guy.
On day two, once you’ve updated your CV and written a cover letter, you start pumping out the applications. After two or three hours you actually feel like you’ve done a day’s work and sit down for a glass of Banrock Estate, and a hearty bowl of noodles.
When you rise on day three you eagerly scan your email account for all the replies you dreamt about during the previous night’s slumber. Yes, Seek has sent you a ‘Job Application Confirmation’ email but no, your future employers are at work oblivious to your brilliantly written cover letter and excellently formatted CV.
You combat the disappointment of no ‘actual’ replies by applying for more jobs and suddenly you’re surrounded by a flurry of virtual paper swirling around your head, cartoon-like, with daytime television and, in particular, Ellen’s dancing, taunting you from every corner of your mind.
After a couple of weeks of this you find yourself waiting for your name to be called out in Centrelink. You can smell the desperation, and, what’s worse, you’re now a part of a dreaded system where you become accountable for your every inaction. In Centrelink, no one can hear you scream. Well they can but they just call security.
Matchworks is next – the not-for-profit job agency time forgot. Enough said.
A month passes and maybe you’ve embraced unemployment and decided to use this time to write a novel or photograph some street art with the help of a mate who’s always unemployed. Once the project is underway you become elated and regard it as your job (and so you should). You pass off this time of unemployment as an opportunity to explore yourself and your art. Your life develops greater meaning. Until…
… just as you begin to regard yourself as a serious but potentially homeless artist, a recruitment agency call you and invites you in for an interview, and you’re excited but have no idea which job they are talking about.
You rake through your wardrobe for your interview clothes. They need an iron and smell stale, so you spray them with deodorant and leave them out to air.
The next day you front up to the interview and dazzle the recruitment people with your experience and devastating repartee. They smile at you with 21st century teeth and promise you the employment equivalent of a rose garden. You go home, pour yourself a Banrock Estate and a week later you walk into a call centre to start your new job. A team leader greets you wearing the new K-mart range of office wear, and you join five others in a training room to watch a video about telecommunications etiquette.
For three months you endure minimum wage and enthusiastic team leaders who speak in jargon and say, ‘does that make sense’ fifty times a day. You don’t smoke but get in with the smokers because they’re more fun and hate the job as much as you do. You go home each night and drink a couple of bottles of Bowlers Run because it’s less than five dollars a bottle.
One morning you wake up to a call from the recruitment agency advising you that the call centre no longer wants you, muttering something about ‘attitude’. You roll over and go back to sleep.
A few days later you jump on Seek again but deep down you know you’ll be dragging out that arts project in less than a month. You get up, buy a cask of Golden Oak medium dry white and turn on the television.
Ellen dances towards you.