As of the beginning of July I have been unemployed for 18 months. In more recent times I have temporarily abandoned social media and my art/writing projects so as to put even my leisure time into activities that will help me find a job. So this is just a check-in to let you all know that I am still alive and also to share a few funny stories.
I will start with more of a surprise than a funny story. A few months back I found myself sitting in a waiting room for a job interview. It was a trainee position (which says a lot about my desperation). What was really intriguing was the other applicants – they were mostly older people like me who were in their 50s. When I started chatting with them (if you know me then you know that I am sociable) I was surprised to discover their pedigree. One was a pure mathematician. Another was a Senior Network Engineer. Another a banker. And another the former head of a string of businesses. Yet all were unemployed now and having difficulty finding work. That amazed me. This confirms in my mind what a few agencies have told me – employers don’t like older workers in Australia.
Anyway, on to the funny (and sometimes frustrating) stories.
Keeping abreast of things
The most embarrassing interview that I attended was in an older part of town, slightly outside the CBD. I found myself sitting on one side of a table with two extremely serious individuals facing me. We were on about the seventh floor and behind them was a large window which looked onto a neighbouring hotel. All of a sudden a woman stepped out of her hotel room and onto the balcony. She had a mobile phone in one hand and was doing that instantly recognisable thing of trying to get a signal on the phone. So what is embarrassing about that? Well, she was topless and very good looking. And there I was trying to answer technical questions with that view right behind the two solemn men interviewing me. I think that I managed to hide my surprise and continue answering, but the moment she stepped back into her room I asked if the window blinds might be shut due to the “brightness” outside. LOL.
In the end I did not get the job. I suspect that I was overqualified, but who really knows.
For one interview I was asked to meet at a local landmark where, for security reasons, someone would collect me for the interview. I got there half-an-hour early and was surprised to discover that this was a local meeting spot. Quite a few people were standing around waiting for others. A few people asked me my name. No, I was not Michael, John, Dr Rogerson, George, Professor Smith, etc. I asked a few of them their names. None of them were Missy (not really name).