27 May 2009

Isn't is stupid that, at 28 years old, I am applying for internships?

If I had never left the wonderful country of Oz I would not be in this predicament. My career would, most likely, have started two years ago and continued on a straight and narrow path of increasing responsibilities, salary and fancy job titles.

However, I met an American man who tempted me to New York where I thought my good career could be made, like all American things, bigger, better and with more branding power.

Unfortunately there is 280 million extra people in America, and a Recession, and a way of doing things that I just can't get used to. Lots of people are giving me advice on how to get a job in These Competitive Times with ideas of 'find a mentor', 'exploit old contacts', 'use the side-door entrance', and always 'hustle hustle hustle'.

Brantley Foster shows us how to hustle and become a Carlton Whitfield

But, what if I don't have the charm and smirk to pull of a hustle? I'm more the stoic stuffy type; I can't 'sell myself', so instead I have this (deluded) idea that by writing a good application letter and backing it up with a solid resume, I should at least land myself a few interviews.

But it's never quite that straight-forward.

I had a job interview last Wednesday. The position was 'unpaid intern', which I normal don't apply for. However, the job description also mentioned, 'with potential for paid employment after two months in the position of Executive Assistant to the Director'. Haha. Such. A. Joke. What a tease! What a nasty sly mean low-down son of a... Slave labour! (BTW: This is the direction Australia was headed with Work Choices... your rights at work ARE worth fighting for!)

Anyway, it was my first interview since getting back from Australia (not including temp work) so I thought I should just go and at least try out a new 'job interview' outfit.

Except that when I got to the office for midday appointment it was closed.

I called and left a nice message on the answering machine, "Sorry to miss you... I assume there's been a misunderstanding... I hope I get the chance to meet you soon..."

Later that evening I got an email from the office manager apologizing for 'missing me'. She said she had to run out for an urgent appointment. Fine. Manager then suggested I could come for an interview 'Sunday at the office' or 'Monday at my apartment'. Both options seemed really weird. I opted for the 'Sunday at the office' rather than having to mess with a split-personility of being a friendly well-mannered guest and an enthusiatic proffessional applicant in her apartment.

So I went to interview on Sunday and found the office closed again.

I left another message on the office answering machine (with only a slight slight expression of my annoyance), "Sorry to miss you... I assume there's been a misunderstanding again... I hope I get the chance to meet you soon...".

When I got home I found an email waiting for me from the manager. She said she had been feeling ill and closed up the office early. She would be at home all Sunday evening and Monday and I was welcome to drop around if I had the time.

This is where I am now, and I'm not sure how to proceed.

There's so many things that are odd about this situation, yet who am I to criticise a potential employer? Although, it doesn't feel like I'm setting up a job interview any more, it feels like trying to arrange a time for a tea party with a flakey friend.

This company is obviously a joke. I recognize the sloppy style. Someone with a little bit of money is dabbling with their 'own business'. They've got the website and the office space set-up... but can't quite seem to get production moving (as this is when the real work is required). They are lazy and are doomed to fail.

However this doesn't necessarily mean they won't be good (short-term) employers. I have worked for dying companies before, and the dumb perseverance of some people to keep operations running, despite all lack of ability and network, can create great places for a 'young gun' to take on oodles of responsibly. Of course, I prefer to work for smart people, however the experiences of working in a stupid office can be very enlightening in a trial-by-fire kind of way.

Do I bother to reschedule interview? Do I want this ridiculous unpaid job? Can I afford to be fussy?

Can my self-esteem afford to sit interview and then not get job?

What would Carlton Whitfield do?

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