The Recruitment Agency
The gatekeepers to the corporate bastion, the agencies maintain their job is to weed out the crazies and send you only the best of the best. Well, either it’s time to get the hell out of dodge, or the far more likely truth—they are there simply there to pick up their chunk of change. And who can blame them? In today’s world, for every actual job, there’s someone employed to tell you how to do it (better).
“So tell me a bit about yourself.”
My tongue immediately glues itself to the roof of my mouth as sweat trickles down my back. I’d really quite like to eat and pay my bills? At the end of the day, that’s what it boils down to.
I launch into a semi-coherent sales pitch. See, I never practice the whole interviewing malarkey. It tends to restrict free thinking. Or free panicking. Same bloody thing.
Karen’s eyes don’t start to shift furtively. She doesn’t keep taking notes. Her hands are on the table and the pen is only half-loosely clutched in her hand by the end of my speech. That’s a cue. You are not a psycho. Or you’ve hidden it pretty well. She beams: the most important cue. You’ve just morphed from a potential serial killer into a giant pound sign.
“Well, it seems you are very well suited for the job…”
You aren’t. But now she knows that there’s a decent chance that you’ll stick with it for the requisite three months. That’s all that matters in the end. After that—quit for all she cares, it’s only another three grand her way if she places you elsewhere. Karen won’t say that, if course. Then again, she isn’t there to educate the stupid out of you.
And I am stupid. As I listen to her speak about the wonderful land of GenEx, where unicorns hand me my pay cheque and all my dreams come true, I feel a rising sense of euphoria. This redundancy thing is for the best. Karma, fate, coincidence: whatever you want to call it. I’ve got it made. By the end of her spiel, I am ready to pay them to employ me. She tells me that she’ll call me. And unlike my last blind date, this time I really believe it. There’s just one last thing…
“I am going to need you to pass a typing test before I can arrange an interview. Is that a problem?”
Well—that depends on whether I pass it, doesn’t it?
With trepidation I shake my head, gulping down any sign of nerves. I am a two-finger typist, you see. Self-taught. Bloody fast. But error prone.
As the test flashes up on the screen in front of me, I realise that my fears are totally unfounded. Today’s simplistic task may as well be: please type out, “I will be punctual and turn up to work on time.” Because at the end of the day—that’s all GenEx really care about.
But I don’t discover that for a while.
“Congratulations.” She beams at me as I walk out of the room.
Oh wait, no, actually she doesn’t. As I stumble out on rubber legs, she simply shakes my hand and hands me her card. “Um, h-how did I do?” My shaky voice betrays me.
“On what?” Blank look.
The Bechdel test. What the bloody hell do you think? “The writing test?”
“Oh,” she says, her gaze already a vacant stare. “Don't worry, I am sure you were great.”