What Looking for a Job is Really Like

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Let’s get this out of the way first – apologies for not actually blogging. (Paid) work has been relatively busy with new clients coming onboard and the fact that I scheduled a day just me, myself and I. Feeling like I needed a break in my now daily 9-5 routine, I wanted to take time to sip my tea slowly and not eat lunch at my desk.

Also I apologize for not being a very good at keeping in touch with my readers. I should be reading your posts more and generally dropping more comments. I do, however, occasionally enjoy just playing the role of the silent spectator. If you’ve noticed a drop in the number, quality and heart in my pieces, you’re not crazy. Perhaps my creativity has been muffled by my hours at work. Maybe I’m just lazy. I confess that I’ve also been slack with incorporating new vocabulary into my writing. This probably has something to do with me not visiting the library as much as I used to.

I’m beginning to open myself up to the world of audibooks, podcasts and streaming music once again. It’s obviously different from having a book in your hands and turning the pages, but I consider it a new way of reading. They’ve etched a new path of escapism for me.

I know I have at least a handful who regularly stop by to see what I have to say, so now the microphone is on you. Do you have any recommended reading lists for me?

Now back to the topic. What is looking like a job really like? It’s honestly like looking for a boyfriend, girlfriend or a significant other. Interviews are just like dates. A lot of the time, it doesn’t even have to do with you, but a huge factor called timing. You may think it’s conicidence that you bumped into that girl at the cafe. You could also miss her, just by walking past. Just imagine, you’ve walked past so many potential dates already.

But not to fret, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t other dates lined up for you.

Every no you receive, is actually a blessing. I know that it sure doesn’t feel like it at the time (feels more like someone kicking you when you’re already down), but really, it just wasn’t meant to be. And if you think that I’m just being horrendously wistful here, then just take note that you’re doing yourself no favors by bogging yourself down by negativity.

You just have to push on.

And just like relationships, there are some jobs that are absolutely worse than being unemployed. Some relationships are trouble from the start and later down the track, you’ll realize that you never should have started. You call quits. But what about the children? They need us to stay together. It wouldn’t be fair on them just because we don’t get along. Sound familiar?

Being single isn’t the worse thing in the world.

With most things in the world though, you should never trade your health – be it mental, physical or emotional for something that can be found again. It isn’t worth it. Time and health are just two things that you can never get back. Money, on the other hand, can be made in other ways.

Likewise, do not put all your eggs in one basket. Although it is very inspiring to hear a story of someone hitting the jackpot with their dreams, they are made of a mixture of hard work, luck and stupidity audacity to dream big. Dreamers are, after all, going against all odds. The problem with doing what you love as a job, is that it is a job. The legendary Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli fame understood this. With the commercial world, you will be required to work a set number of hours but not necessarily be productive or creative. You might even start to loathe your so-called work. You don’t want to be that person.

And I know there’s some of you out there that think that unpaid internships may be a good idea. You’ve been looking for a long time, I get it. But no. DON’T. If my mother hadn’t talked some sense into me, I might have been just like David. It’s on par with exploitation and short-term modern day slavery, and it will continue as long as we allow it to. What David should have done is protested, started a petition and refused to work without pay. The United Nations is supposed to be protecting human rights, not disregarding them. There is no guarantee of a job after an internship anyway, and you’ll just have wasted a whole lot of time spending money, instead of making it.

It’s great for you if it works, but it’s like a train wreck if it doesn’t. It’s soul-crushing, and a huge blow to your self-esteem. If unpaid internships were a kind of relationship, it would be one where a leeching scrub dangled a carrot in front of a horse.

tl;dr: Spend your time wisely; find someone who will appreciate your worth.

Seeing Through The Rain

Image credit: Petr Kratochvil
Image credit: Petr Kratochvil

Sometimes people take things for granted.

Scrap that, we often take things for granted.

For this world to exist there’s got to be light to dark, good to evil and so on. They just can’t exist without another. If we wiped the dark from the world, we would only see light. And by default, this would also be the new darkness.

Take all the beauty in the world – pretty girls, handsome men, flowers, hand-sculpted masterpieces. Now if we were all physically beautiful, then by default we would all be ugly too. We’d all be average too. I don’t know about you, but living in a place where there is absolutely no diversity would actually be quite absurd. Plain, to be exact. The same argument holds for those against interracial relationships.

To keep one’s race ‘pure’ is just really an idea stemming from fear. Hearing second-hand stories of how interracial kids are bullied more would instil a bit of that in you. But here’s the thing, anyone that is different and stands out is going to be picked on. Anyone who is from a minority group would have most likely experienced bullying growing up, being called things like chink, kike and other mean things. Is it nice? No. But does that mean that they shouldn’t have children? Obviously not.

Being different is what makes you, well, different.

And some of these kids grow up to be very successful adults, like Barack Obama. And seeing that your background is not exactly something you choose to have, these kids are not in the wrong. So why is society treating them like dirt? Why don’t people want to have mixed children? The kids don’t need to change anything. Neither do their parents. What needs to change is people’s attitudes, because it is something that they can control.

And if you believe in the whole evolution theory thing, we’re all black too.

I understand that these people may want to protect their children-to-be, but having any child is a risk. There are so many things that kids can make fun of, not pertaining to race. To be honest, the thing these people should worry about the most is whether their children are born healthy. Even that in itself is an amazing feat.

Now back to you beautiful people. So if you do happen to be blessed with good looks, then remember to thank your more homely friends of the world. Regardless of whether you want to admit it or not, they reinforce people’s perceptions of your beauty.

That being said, if you are not considered physically attractive by modern standards, you should remember that the perception of beauty has changed many times over the years. And you should also take note that perceptions of beauty vary greatly depending on the society you live in. But most of all, it’s actually okay to be a little plain or physically unattractive. After all, you define beauty as much as the next pretty face.

And let’s not forget that old song, Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall.

But what comes after rain? Rainbows. And although they can be explained by science, the purpose is something that can’t. To me, it’s just a beautiful reminder of things to come. I got caught in a sunshower while walking and after being a little irked by it, I saw a very large rainbow. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to see two rainbows – a large arch parallel to a smaller one.

I couldn’t help but smile.

Derailed: Getting Back on Track

Now I know I’ve been missing out on the joys and wonders of WordPress, but at the same time I’ve been trying not to flub up too much at work and you know, keeping my job. That being said, I’ve learnt a tonne of stuff that I would have otherwise not learnt had I not made those mistakes. I’ve also been brought back down a little to Earth by people that don’t care.

Should you care about this post? Well no, actually.

The thing about caring is that it’s a response. Sure, you can feign caring but in the end, you’re just pretending to care. The only time that you will care is when something strikes a nerve and affects you on some personal level. Though there are plenty of things I care about, there are a myriad of things that I don’t lose sleep over. I’d honestly (and am) more offended by people who pretend to give a crap about something that they don’t give a crap about. It reminds me of a time when I was watching TV, and a lady said, “I would happily give everything I own so that someone can live better.” Pfft. Just do it already, woman. I see you hiding behind your sunglasses.

I almost wasn’t going to write this post – not because of the fear of contention, but because of procrastination. You see, I can drum out a post pretty easily and quickly by pen or keyboard but at the same time, I enjoy shortcuts (learnt the hard way that cutting corners is not a good idea at work) and being lazy, Yes, there I said it. I admit that I can be rather slothful at times. At the same time, I can be a real perfectionist (or at least very obsessive-compulsive) when it comes to certain things – like getting all the extras in a video game. Sometimes I do wish that I could be that way with other things, but then I remember that if I cared enough to start it, I’ll finish it. Always.

I remember that one time I said that I don’t actually care for most news. The reason is that most journalism goes into shock stories that aim to sell. Other times soft news (which isn’t really news at all, in my opinion) about some girl twerking onstage and scaring the living daylights out of most parents fills the screen. You’ll probably be much happier not caring so much about things that are really, apropos of nothing.

You can’t care about everything. And it doesn’t do you any good to. Remember, just like sex (Statement, Example, eXplantion), quality over quantity always wins the day. I’m not saying that you should care about nothing. I’m saying you’ll care when you care. There’s no point of me harking on about something that doesn’t personally affect you, your friends your family or anyone that you personally know. If it’s so far removed from your situation, why would you?

Now actually, I have no idea what that whole thing was about, but it’s not like you should actually care. Just trying to get back into the rhythm of blogging. I don’t even know if I’m pretending to care or not. Bah, humbug.

The Art of Giving

Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Well, that’s what he says but we all know that it is because we make it so. The magic of Christmas exists through giving. But what do the recipients really get?

Giving is an art. Just like painting and cooking are arts; without the right ingredients, the dish is no longer what it was meant to be and without the right colors on the palette, the artist cannot direct his vision onto canvas. This time round, we’re reminded of endless giving: open charity boxes, coin collectors, Christmas cookies and big corporations that have donated X amount of dollars to charity Y and Z.

Basically, it’s hard to give anything without looking like an insincere showoff, because even the art of giving has been so commercialized.

To the giver: it’s all very good that your intentions are well. For that, it really is the thought that counts. The thought that you actually cared about someone (other than yourself) enough to give a little piece of your heart, your money or whatever it is.

For the receiver: It’s more than the gift itself. Someone actually cared enough about you to give you something that they weren’t obliged to give you. They took the time and effort to get something just for you.

The thing to take home is not what, but how. It’s about sincerity and gratefulness. That’s why I always look to question not what they give, but how they give it. That’s why many big corporations don’t get the support of their customers. They only look to fill cheques with many zeros, but zeros never really mean anything. They’re just zeros. In effect, the money is good but horribly patronizing to the recipients- there is no heart.

My father said to me once,

“A poor man giving 1 cent is much better than a rich man giving $100 to someone in need.”

If it is within your ability to give, then give. But a caveat to givers: never expect anything back. When you expect something back, you might as well not have given at all.

Why I Never Like Your Comments

I just can’t find myself to like them. I am sorry. And no, my ‘Like’ button isn’t broken, unlike this guy we all follow. Your comments mean more to me than just a click of a little star and the word ‘Like’.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t like your likes. I just feel that you, as my readers deserve more than a simple ‘Yeah, I like that.’ The truth is I’m delighted when anyone has something insightful to say about my posts, whether it be my stories, my life lessons or rants. I’m happy that you ‘liked’ my posts and found them worth reading.

But sadly, I can’t bring myself to like, like your comments, you know? It’s like, I’d be doing you short. But I read them all. Your opinions always stir something up inside of me- so much that I  have to respond. I can’t just leave them unanswered. Perhaps, I am old-fashioned. I always respond to a handwritten letter or note, even if it takes a much longer time.

What I learnt from my teenaged youth was the word ‘like’ is an overly-used crutch word (so-called because we lean on it like we have a broken leg) but it doesn’t serve any real purpose. I actually remember a short, skinny, nerdy kid with short brown hair who was justifying the use of the crutch word ‘like’. Um, like no. He was as annoying as they come. Freckled, bespectacled and with a high whiny voice. He used to tag along with a couple of my friends whenever we walked to the train station after school.

“Because the word ‘like’ wouldn’t make sense if we replaced it. Okay, let’s replace it with ‘as’.

Needless to say, it was a very annoying trek to the train station that afternoon. He just wouldn’t stop. It also didn’t make sense to replace the word ‘like’ with ‘as’; maybe ‘as if’ but not ‘as’. Pfft. As if he knew what he was talking about. You see? It works, but only in certain situations.

But my dear readers, it goes without saying: I like you all. Just without the little blue star.

The Face of Unemployment

Kate Stewart recently wrote an article about how the unwillinglyunemployed struggle with coming to grips about job inequality, companies you don’t hear from and job opportunities that could be created. I can definitely attest to what she’s gone through.

Getting absolutely no response is worst than rejection. That, I can tell you. Apathy is one of the worst reactions you can get. Imagine a scenario where you’re asking out s   omeone if they want to go to dinner with you. They could either 1) say yes, 2) say no, or 3) say nothing and walk away. I don’t know about you, but closure is good. Rejection may hurt, but shows you where you currently stand and allows you to pick up the pieces and move on.

It’s not just me that’s had to deal with this kind of behavior from employers. A friend of mine, who is currently studying for her postgraduate degree told me  she called human resources once to check up on her job application, after hearing nothing for two weeks. She was met with an irate woman’s voice, who claimed “Why did you call me? We’re still reviewing the applications.”

If you think that’s sloppy, you should have read this stock e-mail that was supposed to thank me for my application:

(insert subject here)

(insert content here)

Best Regards
Lazy HR Woman

Big Multinational
http://bigmultinational.com/careers/index.shtml

That was the actual email I received, minus the change in names. Obviously, I didn’t get the job at the big multinational where the lazy HR woman worked, but you get the idea. I understand that people can make mistakes and that mistakes are loci for learning, but people actually get paid to make mistakes like these? At least I’m not getting paid to send blank emails.

When I was younger, I was naive and I didn’t think I would ever be unemployed. Even during high school and chugging through college, I didn’t think I’d be unemployed for this long. But it’s given me a vantage point that I would have otherwise never seen. It’s a little bit like George Orwell and his experiences living with the working poor in France and becoming a much better writer and person because of it.

Now I get the frustration of job inequality that Kate is talking about. Some people are overpaid, some people are underpaid. It’s as simple as that. But why is no one challenging the system? Why is it okay for some guy in a suit like Paul Henry who is clearly 1) racist, 2) misogynistic and 3) homophobic to have so much paid airtime on TV and radio? I’m just going to take a punt here and guess that some people really thrive on controversy.

And for those of you who don’t know who Paul Henry is, he’s this guy. Basically, a man who couldn’t contain his laughter over minister Sheila Dikshit and her surname, while his female co-anchor sat next to him, embarrassed by his uncontrollable fit of insanity. Also, note the nervous look from the male host.

Now I know the general consensus among stereotypes for Americans is stupidity, but that incident made me think, ‘Now who’s the stupid one?’ No wonder everybody thinks that there are only cows and sheep in New Zealand. And kiwis – let’s not forget the kiwis.

The trouble is that resource allocation – especially that of money, not usually put to good use in the corporate world. Most of it is horribly unnecessary. You see non-profits blowing their budgets on advertising when it could be better spent on training and work development programs for the poor. Same goes for the non-non-profits: so McDonalds can afford to dish out $9 million dollars to some guy, while sales have been falling and no one’s been getting an increase. Where is the logic in that? Well, there is I suppose. Just fire a few people. Or maybe a few thousand. That’ll be enough.

The problem with facts and figures  is statistics. Statistics lie. People lie. They don’t link numbers to a certain face or person. They don’t tell you about how someone like Kate has to take care of three kids, three cats and a dog while looking for a coveted job and living on welfare.

But that doesn’t mean I’m exactly hateful towards those that have accumulated a lot of wealth. Nope. If you’ve worked hard for your money, share some with others and don’t do anything stupid (like squandering it all on drugs or the casino) while enjoying some of it, then go crazy. I mean it’s YOUR money. I can’t dictate what you can or can’t do with it. All I can do is hope that you put it to good use.

It’s the same with feeling happy for someone else. When I say that I am really happy to hear that The Honking Goose got a new job, I really am. Unemployment is a rough boat to ride. Her success doesn’t take anything away from me. I’d even wish to hear about other people finally landing their jobs and/or living their dreams, even if that person isn’t me.