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Epic Fails

How to Get a Job You Are Totally Inappropriate For Epic Fails

How to Get a Job You Are Totally Inappropriate For

You might have financially coasted through your A-Levels on an idle diet of EMA bonuses, occasionally re-painting your grandma’s numerous sheds and washing the cars of your begrudging neighbours, but now school is out and the summer is over…


Perhaps inevitably, you find yourself imprisoned in the primary-coloured pillars of your local Jobcentre, having gritted your teeth throughout the 50 questions about your savings, bonds, investments, trust fund and capital (HA!), and the other 20 designed to establish whether or not you are an illegal immigrant.

But now, while you’re sitting there in the depressive, windowless wasteland that is the waiting room, sneakily texting and ignoring the signs that tell you not to, your entire being suddenly strikes you with a four-limbed epiphany:

  1. Your caseworker, Sandy, doesn’t like you;
  2. The security personnel don’t like you either; 
  3. You have the emptiest CV imaginable;
  4. You absolutely, categorically cannot come back here because your ambition feels like it’s escaping your lungs in a morbid dust every time you exhale.

And what does this all point to? What is the overarching thesis guiding these four points towards a logical conclusion?

You have to get a job. Any job.

Here’s the 101 on how to get a job which you are totally inappropriate for…

Seeking a position

This cheerful starting point may well be the easiest one at which to test your unsuitability for a role. It’s simple: get your hands on your local newspaper, giggle at the ‘Police Desk’ section (note: this only applies if you live in the countryside where egg and milk theft is on the rise, or you have a very dark sense of humour), and flip back to the ‘Jobs’ section. Find a pen and circle any of the remotely realistic choices. Let’s not get silly, remember you are looking for an unsuitable role, not an impossible one.

So, you narrow it down to an advert seeking a ‘Manual Labourer’. Maybe you did P.E. at school or your Dad made you do some DIY once, but then maybe you’re pasty-faced, with a pathological fear of press-ups and screwdrivers. Nevertheless, you have to pick up that phone and dial that number, or else return to the Jobcentre and feel like you’re existing in a grainy, black-and-white photograph from the Thatcher-era.

Interview technique

You will have a strangely short phone interview, followed by a more formal (face-to-face, sitting-down, getting-to-know-you) but equally short and strange interview. Be prepared: your voice will sound abnormally high, with more non-fluency features and sublinguistic grunts than ever seemed feasible. Here are a couple of transcripts so you know what you’re in for:

#1: Phone Interview

Interviewer: Hello, [company name], this is [name] speaking. How may I help?

You: Hi, erm... I’m calling, I saw the advert in the...paper? ...Saying you needed a labourer?

Interviewer: Oh, right, yeah. Well, I just have a couple questions. You young?

You: Er, yes.

Interviewer: Physically active? Healthy?

You: Mhm.

Interviewer: Can you lift heavy stuff?

You: Um, [nervous laughter] I think so...?

Interviewer: Alright. Well, come in tomorrow at 8:30.

You: Er, okay?

#2: “Formal” Interview

Interviewer: Oh, you’re smaller than we thought.

You: Oh. Is that a ... problem?

Interviewer: Well, no, I guess not.

You: [nervous laughter]

Integrating yourself in the workplace

Did you get the job? Good, now leave your preconceptions at the door. Your misled notions about gender and gossip in the workplace will be deconstructed before your very eyes: in factories, or indeed anywhere men congregate and work alongside each other, they get very, very catty. You notice the little things first: who stole whose best set of allen keys, or who put the pallet truck back where it wasn’t supposed to be. But after a few weeks you get the real juicy stuff.

There is speculation on the sudden disappearance of Claude, the silent, French, thinking-man who works as a painter. You learn that the most recent employee impregnated the boss’ daughter, who has been hired in the employment equivalent of a shotgun wedding. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll get a derogatory nickname ending in ‘-y’.

If all goes well, you will find yourself in employment for which you are physically, mentally, indeed totally inappropriate, and you will hopefully manage to avoid with glee the crushing spiritual anguish which comes with returning to the Jobcentre a month or two later.

 

Written by Andrew McKenzie

Editorial Intern @ AllAboutCareers

Image courtesy of Abe Bingham, 'Heavy Lifting'

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