The Next Chapter

26 September 2012
Well, after four hellish months of applications, I've finally gotten a job. Hellish is little exaggeration - I applied for over 100 jobs in that time, none of them outlandishly beyond my qualifications and experience. In the vast majority of cases, I received a form email of rejection ("the quality of applications was very high...except for yours, so no") or heard nothing back at all. About fifteen times though, I was invited in for an interview. Gah. So you get your suit dry cleaned, iron your shirt, pack spare stockings, do your hair, nails, and make up, Google map search the location, turn up, sit awkwardly in reception staring in to middle distance, then are invited in to face interviewers who, rather than discussing your skills and work history, want to play with the recruiters' toy of choice these days - behavioural questions. How I came to loathe these. Incident - action - outcome, you'd try to remember as you gave your response, but the slightest deviation from the formula and it was all over. So you'd go home and wait for the phone call of doom - I could tell the outcome from the interviewer's tone as they said Hello, without having to wait for the "unfortunately on this occasion you have not been successful. Also can you help us settle a debate we've been having in the office - what is that peculiar odour of yours?" - or else hear nothing back at all and know you've missed out. Now, I know it's a recruiters market. I know there are a lot of applicants. But if someone reads your ad, customises their resume, answers your selection criteria, sends the lot off, completes your telephone interview, then takes a stressful half-day to prepare and come in for an interview, AT LEAST TAKE 90 SECONDS TO SEND THEM A FUCKING EMAIL letting them know how it went. One job I applied for was as a youth worker with a very well respected charity. I had to prepare a workshop presentation for young people. I spent hours working on the damn thing, but felt really pleased with how it went when I presented it for the selection panel. They seemed like lovely people. But after all that effort, I never heard back, and yes I'm still angry.

Still though, in the end I have gotten a job. It's...well, there's no shame in honest work. It's in an office, and the hours are good, and I can't ask for much more than that (and in Newcastle, if you can't drive, you really can't ask for more than that - it is impossible to find work in either advertising or community services without a car and licence). It'll give me a chance to sort out my long term goals, anyway. But I'm wary. Being unexpectedly retrenched is a little like having your house robbed, I imagine - you never feel quite safe again, the security you once took for granted replaced by a fear that one day, any day, the manager will call you in to their office and apologetically explain that they will have to let you go. There's nothing I can do to prevent it; I'll just have to live with it, and yearn for the days of lifetime employment.

So the next chapter of our family's life begins. I'll become the primary breadwinner, and DH will take over the role of stay at home dad for the time being, whilst we sort out babysitters and childcare (the childcare crisis is real, and nationwide - I really wish the successive governments who pressed our wombs into duty for the sake of the nation had made a little more provision for the care and education of those children down the track. Nationalise the childcare sector already!). This will be interesting. I don't have much time for the stupid battle of the sexes, men are clueless idiots when it comes to household tasks rubbish, but it remains that for most of the four years we've been together, I've done most of the domestic management. And I'm a bit of a control freak ("DH, don't sweep like that! You're just dabbing the broom on the floor. Put some shoulder into it!"). He's fabulous with BabyG, but the housework...we'll have to see. I'll have to restrain myself from coming home from my first day of work then checking to see what's been done. Then there's the constant comments. I've been told more than a few times how lucky I am that DH looks after BabyG so much, and that I'm lucky he's willing to stay home with him. No, if we won lotto and no one had to work, we'd be lucky. This is just our reality - after moving cities, we can't find childcare, and I have the harder time being home all day, so I'm going off to work. Will I get resentful, though? Will I, deep down, think of the money I earn for the family as really being "mine"? I don't know, I've never been in this situation before. It will be a learning experience for us all, a chance to grow as a person. At least all the growing I've done as a person in the last few years is a better excuse for the weight gain than potatoes in sour cream, wine and cookies.


  1. A new job can buy you many cookies.

  2. Well said, Nico. I DO like your writing! As someone who has sat on both sides of the interview table at different times, I have shared your frustration. Good luck with the job.


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