Wednesday 26 September 2012


I am currently looking for a job. I rank searching for employment up there with looking for flats (houses etc.), moving, taxes and airline travel. That is a not a good list I assure you. It’s not just that I find it utterly demeaning to write down your life’s worth and experience (or supposed worth) on one piece of paper to be judged by some under qualified individual whose job you could probably do in your sleep; but it is also the fact that you are judged by this piece of paper like its tantamount to all else. In today’s economy especially; unless your CV can dance and sing show-tunes, appear in hologram and proclaim that you are the Excel wizard of the universe, not to mention that you possess every skill known to man whilst being a graduate of Oxford, you may as well start perfecting your barista skills. "Do you want a muffin with that?" 

[Yes I’ve been looking for a while and I’m achingly jaded].

You see, the job search can not only drive you mad – I suppose I’m evidence of this - but it can make one ponder all their life decisions in one fell swoop. In my case, why oh why didn’t I become a doctor (oh that’s right, I go weak at the sight of blood and can barely handle CSI), or a lawyer (I rather be a coal miner) or pay more attention when declaring my major – as my father liked to always point out, I speak English, why the hell did I need to learn to study it. Anything, apparently, but the path I chose. You then find yourself pondering jobs you couldn't be more wrong for simply to prove to yourself that you are not only employable but your choices were sound ones. 'Data Systems Analyst...sure, I love data. Botanist...I dig plants, who doesn't love a good fern....German speaking freelance motions graphics designer? Guten tag! Where do I sign up.'

The problem is, unless you go down the traditional route from the get go, your CV and your life experience becomes a patchwork quilt that is often a tough sell to those linear thinkers out there. Where I think my CV smacks of life experience, variation and graft, others may look at things differently.  In my case, the fact that I took many years out – after going the traditional route of being a diligent, trusty office minion - to follow my ‘creative dream’  (Lord, why oh why did I think this was a good idea) is for some a big no-no. How dare you leave the rat race for something you 'want' to do. What is wrong with you, you amateur!

Yes, us creatives just can’t help ourselves despite the advice from all those people out there who tell us to have a back up plan (King, I don’t care if you are the next Picasso, you WILL have a back up plan). These people are usually doctors or lawyers. You see, if you’ve been spending your years trying to get ahead in an intangible business like screenwriting (intangible because you’re not in an office; you rarely get rewarded for the toil; and it’s far from traditional), making the segue from the writing world into the more traditional linear world of ‘office’ work is not always easy [cause let's be honest, the internet killed print media. Throw a rock and you'll hit an unemployed writer]. In fact, you find yourself having to prove to people that you have not been simply sitting in your parent’s garage drinking Red Bull slurpees at 3am talking about penning the 'Bladerunner' for this generation. As much as I can put on paper that my years as a screenwriter taught me more about determination, hard work (patience, oooooh patience), negotiation and thinking outside the box than any job I could’ve had behind a desk, if you haven't punched a clock every day, the employers of the world are going to have serious reservations about you holding down a proper job.

Recently I went up for a job where the application process was one of those maddening three stage, jump through the hoops type thing. And just to properly exert their power, they left everything to the last minute to make sure you knew who was boss and what would be expected of you if you were lucky enough to land the job. I made it through hoop two and then was told that although they loved my application submissions (to long and boring to go into, but you had to write several things to even be considered) I wasn’t right for the job. This was of course without even interviewing me so that I could explain how right for the job I really was. 

So for now, the search continues and I try in vain to either quash the creative side of me and become a bookkeeper (I’m admittedly so crap with numbers if I am the one doing your books, you’re for sure getting audited), or join the very very long queue of ex writers that are trying to put their ‘creative’ skills to some sort of use - like writing traffic tickets...or blurbs on the back of cereal boxes - and prove their years spent toiling away on their laptop were not in vain.

King. I will not of course tell you what to do with your life, but if you come and tell me you want to write the next great American novel, I will chuck your laptop out the window and enroll you in medical school in a New York minute. Trust me, you’ll thank me for it later.

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