Thursday, January 08, 2009

It's a hard life, so it is

For the life of me, I can't quite make up my mind on whether I'd rather be in a boring old office job right now, or sitting on my sofa with a laptop warming my knees, searching for a boring old office job. Unfortunately, I don't have the choice, because currently I am an unemployed bum and therefore searching for said office job is the only choice left to me if I don't want to become homeless.

Looking for work is really something I dream of while I'm stuck in a job - the opportunity to get myself onto a career path in teaching English or in the tourism / fashion / publishing industries puts me in a rather excited state - but as soon as I'm unemployed and the searching becomes a reality, I would rather dig my eyes out with rusty old forceps. You see, the only employers that seem to be accepting people like me with less than a year's experience are those offering - surprise, surprise - boring old office jobs.

"Promote yourself," it says on every single one of these websites. "Sell yourself. Give us ten words to convince us why WE should hire YOU!" Now really, what is that all about? Now you're giving me a limited amount of words to replace my CV? Ten words? Who can sum themselves up and promote themselves in ten tiny words? "You need me to work for you because I am..." I type, and then I hear the slightly annoying 'bing' noise to tell me my ten words of self promotion are all used up. I erase and retype; "This is daft." There we go, summed it up perfectly and with 6 words to spare.

It's not just the searching for jobs that gets my billygoat. Afterwards, once I've finally applied for a boring old office job, I face the terrifying wait for The Call Back. It was never as bad when I was going through this living in Scotland because any phonecalls I received asking me to come in for an interview were in English. I knew what I was saying. But since I spent two weeks back home over the holidays speaking only English, I am now suffering from a loss of French vocabulary and frankly, for the most part, I don't have a scooby what I'm saying anymore. Which means that I spend an awfully long time staring at the phone in horror when it rings, debating over whether to let the machine pick it up if the screen reads a suspiciously unknown number. For those who are curious, I mostly do send it to voicemail, which is silly, silly, silly, because then I have to go through the whole terrifying ordeal of then ringing the person back and sometimes I don't even get the person who phoned me in the first place and I have to introduce myself to the new person who has answered the phone and try to find the words to explain that I am returning a phonecall and can I discuss it with them or should I leave a message. And then of course the original person calls me back, but what do I do? I let it go to voicemail and the whole bloody thing starts again.

If you think that's bad though, you probably won't want to know what I'm like when I go to interviews. So I won't tell you. But all I will say is this; every question you are asked in an interview is there to trip you up. Employers and recruters - no matter how nice they come across - are all trying to trick you. Everything that you say can and will be used against you at a later date. In fact, I once read that recruters are working for the government, really. That they have a tiny radio piece in their ear and built into their sleeve is a microphone, (which is why you never see a recruter wearing sleeveless clothes during the interviewing process.) recording everything you are saying, just so that the government can get even more personal information about you, which they can then send off to Tesco's headquarters who will use that information in their evil but quite-sucessful-so-far plan to take over the entire world. I can't remember where I read that though.

Anyway, sorry, I think I went off on a strange tangent there. What was I saying? Ah yes, it's true what they say; looking for employment really is a full-time job. Today I have spent 6 hours sending my CV off to thousands of different employment websites. 6 hours! The only thing that keeps me going is telling myself that after an hour I can spend ten minutes looking at wedding websites. Or cat websites. Or blogs.

I can't believe what a sad gobshite I just sounded like in that last sentence! Eugh!

Well, enough blether about jobs and whatnot, I am an unemployed person. I need to go and watch tv.


Lis of the North said...

You'll have to find out when the French version of Countdown is on - compulsory viewing!
Ah Princesse I do hope you find gainful employment very soon. I am empathising up here in Lille! x

Sally said...

Countdown or "Ce matin" :-) I love Fern and Phil.

Hope that you manage to find a job you like soon. Writing CVs and job letters (esp in a foreign language sucks).

Anonymous said...

Oh, how many times have I not picked up the phone when I didn't know the number? ummm, yes, everytime. Still after 3 years here. I's daft as as you say, you hvae to ring them back which is worse!

Sally, are you trying to rub it in? How I would give up baguettes to watch Phil and Fern...please tell me your secret if you ar in France AND have Fern and Phil......Quelle Thought!

Princesse, I'll be watching you carefully, I would love to swap my teaching job for a boring office job....give tips!

Kim said...

Good luck Princesse.... I know I'd be more inclined to lay on the couch and watch mindless tv instead of finding a job!! As of next weekend I could be in fact trying to find work... or get a working visa... or moving to Scotland and bludging off the boyf until I get enough money for a UK visa! I'll be reading to see how you get on. Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

It's not that hard to find an job teaching English in Paris is it? I feel teaching English shouldn't be that hard to get into?

Emily Marie said...

Hi, I've been reading your blog for a while and finally decided to comment. I would recommend posting your CV on Someone told me to do that and I hesitatingly created a profile. After a week I already had several recruiters contact me! Good luck.

Paula said...

I hate job-searching so i feel your pain! I hate my current job but the idea of having to look for another one and go through the whole application and interview process is keeping me chained to my desk!

Ailsa said...

Princesse, you make me laugh in a way all of your own. Still lovely to read you :) Congratulations on you and FP xxxxx

Loth said...

Your french vocab may have rusted a little, but your colloquial Scots has clearly benefitted from the holiday! Scooby and blether in one post, to name but two. Makes me proud, I tell you. I sincerely hope you have success in the job hunt soon as I hate to think of you trying to watch the French equivalent of "Cash in the Attic" all day.

Ashley said...

I agree with the comment that Paula made! I hate my job, but I guess that I am too scared to go looking for another one for the moment! I found my first one a little too easily, so I am afraid of really struggling to find another one. And I can't get the saying 'the grass is always greener on the other side' out of my head.

At any rate, merde as the French say, and keep us updated!

Princesse Ecossaise said...

Lis Haha Countdown was the bee's knees. Of course it's all changed now, there's not even Carol Voderman... :-(

Sally Oh God I LOVE This Morning! Writing those lettres de motivations certainly does suck big time!

Emmy Haha I just hate answering the phone to an unknown number, 9 times out of 10 it's one of those calls trying to sell you a new mobile phone deal.

By the way, I'm pretty sure it would be quite easy for you to get an office job since your French - I am just assuming because you've lived over here for so long - must be perfect. How about a assistante bilangue? They seem pretty sought after at the moment.

Thanks Kim! I admit that it's a huge effort to not sit down in front of the tv/internet and while away the hours instead of job hunting - in fact, sometimes it's simply too much effort, like today for example!

anon Not if you want to make reasonable money for it. You can get little jobs here and there teaching english but not full time jobs - more like teaching 7 hours per week or something like that, which isn't exactly the type of job I'm looking for. And if you want to work in the schools you either start out as an assistant (which means working only a small amount of hours per week for crap money) or you have to have the specific teaching degree. At least that's my experience with it.

Hi Emily Marie, thanks for commenting. The first thing I did was to post my CV on but I really haven't had much luck with it!! Maybe I have a crap CV?

Paula Ahhh I so get where you are coming from! Sometimes it's just easier to stay in a job we hate than have to go through all the crap of applying for new jobs and going to interviews! I almost wish I'd had the option to stay in my old (booooooring) job!

Ailsa I have missed you!! xxx

Loth ahahaha! Yes indeed! I did notice my old slang creeping back into my everyday language!

Thanks Ashley! And I so get what you mean. Anyway it's probably the best idea to stay in your job for the moment due to the whole credit crunch crisis thing meaning that sooooooo many people are looking for jobs right now!

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