Thursday, October 12, 2006

World Leader Pretend

"I sit at my table and wage war on myself..."

This isn't what I was expecting. I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but this isn't it. As a child, I never considered what I wanted to be when I grew up. The day at hand was dramatic enough without thinking about what tomorrow might bring. Who needs soap operas and reality shows when all one has to do for one's fill of conflict and drama is remember? And whoever thought inventing people would be so difficult? Fiction is hard. Fucking hard. Especially when reality proves hard to beat for sheer sublime improbability.

I've never been without fulltime work this long before. Four years excluding a three month stint at uni, which at least is a user-pays type unemployment option. Four loooong years, where every day is Forever Tuesday Morning. Krimsonlake's eloquent post on long term unemployment resonated. However, I suffer no guilt from my predicament. Maybe it's a chick thing, maybe it's a Catholic thing. For whatever reason, there it is. No, what really wears me out is the indescribable dread of unwantedness. I have been turned down for a wide variety of positions. Not even shortlisted for Nightfill at Te Ware Whare.

Before I could re-enrol at WINZ after I dropped out of uni, I had to attend one of those "Umemployment is Bad" lectures they hold in their offices. A quick census of my group was ninety percent male. We were informed that a heap of Case Managers had disappeared (quit or moved to other branches) and the backlog of freshly disgarded human capital would take a while to clear. I got my dole appointment four weeks later. I was promptly signed on to a course called Workstart, on pain of no rent money.

Thankfully, our facilitator ignored vast tracts of the Workstart Workbook and therefore gained kudos for not patronising the fuck out of everyone. If WINZ want to reduce the incidence of clients going apeshit, they could start by removing the activity to fill in Dream Circle. Even so, all through the meetings I couldn't erase the image of poodles jumping through hoops. All this talk of CV layout, correct use of buzzwords, appropriate body language. How to deal with the pimps in the employment agencies, how to write a suitably bland cover letter, how to sell your skill set to a prospective employer. I tell you what it smelled like. It smelled American.

Fuck "International Best Practice". Fuck plastic smiles, the fake orgasms of marketing. It is well known that NZers undersell themselves on their CVs. It is part of the culture. Instead of adapting to this though, advisors insist on making us something we aren't. Little wonder there is a plethora of Amercian accents in the public service, the most check-boxed career path imaginable. Only they know the lingo.

I had some sympathy for Waynes Mapp's Employment Bill, in much the same way I supported the axing of youth rates. Anything to level the employment field and increase my chances of a job. Anything to cut the crap and an opportunity to give it a go. However, Mapp's Bill offered no trade-off. OK, the employers get free reign. In return we get... what? Will they cease and desist with their credit checks, the MBTI exams, the unwarranted invasion into personal space? No. Well fuck you, no deal.

Anyways, the Workstart facilitator is a good bird and I've been in contact with her far more than my newbie Case Manager. I walked in to see her last Friday for a chat when the office's best Work Broker walked in suffering from Ramadan. I asked him if he had heard back from the minimum wage service station attendant job I went for. "They liked you, but-." "Yeah, I get that a lot," I replied with a head occupied with a warratah being hammered into a ceiling panel.

"Hey, there's something you might like," he said with a spark in his eye as he dialled furiously on his mobile. "Do you drive?" Fortunately, Mr Menace had lent me his car for the weekend, and within half an hour I was sitting in front of Steve Irwin's twin about a motel manager's job. Today we shook hands on it. I got the job. The pay is shit, but I don't have a girlfriend so money isn't important. The hours are civilised and the job provides a sufficient amount of drama to keep me occupied (a former resident pulled a mere on a chick last week). Most importantly, my employer doesn't give a rodent's rectum what I write as long as I fulfil my function.

Understandably, I've had a few cones and wines to celebrate. Therefore, please forgive this entry if it is unusually tangental. Just thought you'd like to know I'm back to blogging. I miss it. It's too fun to ignore.