Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Please Do Not Apply

I had a great long weekend, taking the time to watch two films, one play, stay up late watching Rage, reading two hundred pages or so of this doorstop of a novel I have on the go, and finally - begrudgingly - cleaning the house. Rather depressing to get back to work, really.

Anyway, when I got home from work this evening, my flatmate was going through the job advertisements from the weekend paper. Job advertisements! I've been through more than a few of those in my time. There are the hospitality ones that millions of teenagers end up applying for, and the Government ones with ridiculously specific job descriptions, for which you just know they've already earmarked someone. There are the ones looking for people with 'secretarial skills' and 'problem solving abilities' that are unintentionally riddled with misplaced punctuation and incorrect spelling. And I'm sure there were some positions advertised for which the applicants would make the application, be asked in for an interview, and end up sitting in an office filling in another application form: applying in order to be considered for another application, in fact. (I've been through a couple of job interviews like this).

And then, there was the one my flatmate spotted: 'We are only looking for applications from scientists'. Christ, what sort of applicants had they had before? "Hello - I'd like to apply for the position of sub-atomic physicist, specialising in the field of Charmed Quarks and behaviour of Leptons! I haven't had any experience or training as a scientist, so called - but I have a proven ability to learn new skills on my feet, excellent references, and Strong Communication Skills!"

Just for once, I'd like to see a job ad like this:


Clear message, unambigous message, and it really weeds out all the time wasters and applicants who lack experience or adequate training for the position. Should do the trick nicely.


nailpolishblues said...

Wait, this is practically a diary entry - what?

TimT said...

I was rather proud of the fact that I worked in two films and a play and 200/300 pages of this book, which is a tad heavy going. Blogger's licence, and all that, what?

nailpolishblues said...

I think I mostly slept. I spent most of Saturday in a lather of excitement waiting for Jarvis [swoon, etc] and then watching Jarvis [swoon, etc]. That was just great.
I did spent Monday in a mad cooking extravaganza [you should see my kitchen] whilst listening to the first half of The Lady in the Lake and idly considering whether I should just give back some of the things people lend me that I never get around to watching/listening to/reading or just keep holding on. I think I also cracked The God Delusion [he had me just by mentioning Douglas Adams]. And why am I turning your blog into my diary, what?

nailpolishblues said...

Damn it, what's with the whats? I must stop reading Glen.

Tim said...

What's the novel? What were the movies? We want details.

I find job ads incredibly dispiriting, especially the online ones that don't even say what company the job is with.

Then there's the application forms. I once filled out Coles's online form, which included the following question:

"Filling shelves is repetitive work and it is easy to let your mind wander and make mistakes. In 100 words explain how you would prevent this from happening."

It's like an anti-Zen question that immediately replaces rational thought with frustration and rage. I still can't think of a non-lame answer that would be acceptable on a job application. (ie. an answer that isn't along the lines of "To ensure I maintained concentration I would spend ten minutes out of every fifteen flirting with the checkout chicks")

TimT said...

Book: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (review pending, pending my finishing it, that is. It's eight hundred pages.)

Movie 1: James Craig Sails Again - boring ABC doco thingy that they were playing at The Sun for some reason.

Movig 2: Hot Fuzz, late night session at the Nova. Excellent! My mother saw this, and now I know what sort of gory humour it has, I'm wondering how she reacted to it.

TimT said...

Oh, and the play was, of course, Spring Awakening by Franz Wedekind: German Expressionism redux.

nailpolishblues said...

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell just goes on and on and on - escape while you can.

Tim said...

Hot Fuzz was just great. Have you seen Shaun of the Dead. Same guys, same humour, but with zombies instead of cops.

I tried to read Jonathan Strange but it was a bit slow for my taste.

Karen said...

I have Jonathan Strange, but haven't read it yet. I'd be very interested to see your review. I believe it is one of those hate-it or-love-it things.

A friend once applied to an advertisement asking for an engineer, only to be told, after he had listed his qualifications, "Oh, we're not looking for a real engineer!". He thought it was funny.

Oh, and I was once fired from Woolworths for talking to the customers too much (which is just extraordinary for me). The woman said to me "We don't have time to be nice to people or to help them". I wish now I'd thought of asking her for a reference- "I cannot continue to employ Ms. ----, for she has a tendency to help little old ladies with their bags...".

TimT said...

For the first 100 - 200 pages, it's quite slow. It's a pace that a tortoise would find leisurely. But it gets much more interesting when the plot finally starts to kick in. It's very funny, and quite odd - I'm enjoying it very much.

I haven't seen Shaun of the Dead, but I want to.

Excellent story about being fired by Woolworths. When I first came to Melbourne I did a bit of data entry, and once I found myself transcribing a survey from a person who was saying how they were suicidally depressed, thought of taking their lives, etc - told the supervisor, and they told me back that I should just ignore that sort of thing!

Karen said...

I like slow, with lots of period detail.

Did "just ignoring that sort of thing" still mean typing up the suicidal responses?

(I'm listening to a song called "Better off without a wife" and realising that I relate to it- should I be disturbed?).

nailpolishblues said...

Would you believe that I just wrote out a quite long comment and the stolen internet [as well as all the systems I work with] crashed just as I hit 'publish your comment'? Fucking cheap employers!

TimT said...

Nails - may a thousand, thousand curses rain down upon your employers head!

Karen - yep, only I was supposed to type the words, but not 'understand' them. Somehow. Supervisor said I was just a 'data processing unit' or something like that. Glad I'm not working for them anymore.

nailpolishblues said...

I've been saying that for years and still nothing :(

Karen said...

How horrible, Tim. Thank God you got away. It does make you wonder how it would all come out in their statistics or whatever it is that they do with the data, though.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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