Job hunting in London can be fun. Not. Ever. It feels like my working life is a reality TV programme, and I keep getting voted off the island. And I have to keep going back on to the island to be voted off again!
If I could do anything that meant I could cease the hunt, and leave the island of my own volition, I would do so in a heartbeat.
I send off applications and the wait feels like a results programme, complete with a loud heartbeat soundtrack. “And the winner is ….. not you!”
Please don’t feel sorry for me! That’s not the purpose of my writing about this. I’m a survivor. While I do allow myself the indulgence of self-pity every now and then, I keep praying and going and know – through gritted teeth – that this thick skin I’m growing will serve me well. One day.
I recently applied for a writing job with a charity based in central London. I sent in the detailed application form (it wasn’t the one where I mentioned mud-wrestling with Mathew McConaughey, promise!) and waited to hear if I’d been shortlisted. A few days after the closing date, I had heard nothing, so I knew I’d been unsuccessful.
However, I decided to make sure. I sent an email enquiry, and got a reply, which is unusual; I guess I should be grateful for small mercies. The emailer advised me that unfortunately I’d not been shortlisted, but said I was welcome to call her for some feedback. I arranged a suitable time to do so.
We eventually spoke at the end of the day yesterday. She said I had completed the form well and my application was strong. (“Good girl! You made that song your own.”)
She said the fact that my experience was largely South African, was a key factor. (This is the first time I’ve been told that directly, and somehow it felt discriminatory. “We don’t know that song. Is it big in your country?”)
She went on to say how inundated they’d been with applications, and also gave me some feedback about my style of writing, and saying that how I wrote the application form did not fit their brand. Fair enough. And whatever. (“Maybe you need to work on your vocals.”)
However, the gem is yet to come…
She said to me, “If I can give you some advice as you continue your job hunting, it would be to get as much UK experience as possible.” Seriously?
All possible responses escaped me. All I could do was listen in bemused silence. Gob-smacked, that’s what I was! What I really wanted to say was, “And you are the weakest link. Goodbye.”
Sunshine signing off for today! The tribe has spoken.