Tuesday, 15 May 2018

I am looking for a job. Amaze me!


I do not know how it works for others, but my experience is so vast that I can brag about it. Among all the statuses, the one being a candidate looking for a job is the most remarkable. It goes from bizarre, to hilarious and to serio-comic.
Being a professional in the domain of letters, my searches have always orbitated the following jobs: teacher, translator, copywriter or content writer. Both in Romania and abroad, life has blessed me with something to recount.
Teacher
When you are living in a country whose language you do not speak, but English is in high demand and you have a somewhat knowledge of that, you seize the occasion. The funniest part is when you realize you are introduced to other people as native English speaker, even though you know – and hope the others know, too – that English is not an official language in Romania. Then, still, when you realize that the reason you are introduced in this way is to get more money from the parents for your English classes, the thing is not so funny anymore.

These last couple of years dawned on me with a realization regarding Romania: moving from one region to the other may equal to a stressful attempt to adapt. Or to readapt, according to each case. The most precious moment of them all, when I was looking for a job as a teacher, was when I was interviewed by the manager of a private school. Her mere curiosity regarding my family name started a whole deal of personal questions. When she found out that my husband is French, the next question she addressed to me was totally unexpected – And how is it to be married with a French? At first, I though it was a joke, that she did not actually expected an answer from me. But she kept insisting. Not knowing what to tell her (for I had no other marriage to compare it with), I stated that it must be the same as if I was married to a Romanian. The lady was not at all satisfied with my answer. She corrected me, because – let’s face it – she knew better than I did that it must have been different. That everything was more romantic, for example. And we never get back to discussing my professional experience.

Copywriter/ Content writer
Everybody prepares before an interview. The best prepared ever were those who worked in a company and who, after greeting me, and receiving me in an office, let me recount for 10 minutes about my professional track. When I was in the middle of things, they stopped me and asked me about the position I applied for. I told them that it was for the position I was called for a day ago – copywriter. Oh, we’re sorry, but it’s been a long time since we did not have this position available in our company. So I stood up and then directed myself towards the exit. I gently smiled at the people and opened the door, expecting to be greeted by the ‘you were tricked’ team and a cake. I am still waiting for that!

Test. This word has lost its meaning to me. It’s almost a swearing. Or equivalent to an abuse. Just like me, I am sure there are many people that have been subjected to this abuse. People that are searching for jobs in a creative domain. One may say that I have written novels of tests. But the stupid people grow wiser. Eventually! As it happened, I declined the magnanimous offer to solve a test that would have lasted 13 hours. A pro-bono work, of course. Yes, and it was not me who estimated the time it would take to solve the tets. Thank God, I did not do it! Maybe if there were more of us to refuse such proposals, claims like these would no longer exist.

In the meantime, others play hide-and-seek with the candidates. After you have sent them your resume, their answer is swift. You have to solve a test by writing a text of 700-2000 words. With no other disussion beforehand. Yes, of course. We don’t have so much time. But because we live in the century of speed we should show more respect to the time a candidate spends in a recruiting process.

Is there a mondus operandi in the recruiting process? Of course there is. When one invites a candidate to an interview and one does not ask about the candidate’s interests in the respective job, one does not describe what one wants from a potential employee, but only puts the candidate in a room, in front of a computer and asks the candidate to spend around 4 hours in order to solve a test, one assumes that the employer has at least made a selection through the resumes. I, the candidate, was wrong. After a while, being called to be informed that I had passed the test (ahh, the test!!!!) and that I should come for an interview with the potential manager, I came with the hopes one has when going to a second interview. What a pity! After five minutes, I was told that the interview had to stop there. The reason? I did not have enough experience. Dazed, I asked why did they call me for the second interview, in the first place. They told me that they were impressed with the way I had solved the test. But still, not good enough, given that my lack of experience disqualified me. To my mind, they should have started the other way around.

Having read so many job ads, I learned to recognize just by reading it if the employer does not have quite a clear idea about the expectations regarding a possible candidate. Even better, a candidate could really be taken off guard when she/ he goes to an interview and finds out she/ he has to work in shifts, during the weekends, and for the first two weeks she/ he has to work as a casheer, cleaning lady, baker, doorman and to make the inventory – even though none of this challenges were mentioned in the ad. Again, time is money. For both sides. But why does the one of the candidate seem to be of a less value? Had I known, I would not have applied and neither would they have wasted their time interviewing me.

When I was led in an office with the shutters down, so dark that I could not see anything, I could only think that the person interviewing me had a sleepless night and did not want to scare me with her/ his dark circles under the eyes. Still, it turned out that the interviewer was a young and lively miss. I was surprised to see that, after five minutes since she entered the office where I was waiting for her for more than twenty minutes, she went towards the switch and turned the lights on. Just in time to see the amazement on my face when I was told that besides the typical work of a copywriter, I was also supposed to come up with ideas of a botanical nature regarding the creation of food supplements that would sell big-time in the far-off America. I was very happy to realize that my mother had, actually, a well-equipped kitchen. Not only did she had the amazing book written by Sanda Marin (a recipe book), but also the one written by Maria Treban (a book about plants and their healing properties). 
Primula veris alleviates the respiratory distress. Oh, and how well it does that!

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