Friday, May 18, 2012

Being part of a statistic

Recently it was required of me to enter a 200 word article together with an application for a writing position as travel writer. The topic of the article had to be on the ‘greatest challenge facing our economy.’

The minute I received the assignment, I immediately consulted the all-knowing Google. After a few hours of dismal discoveries I came to find that our country is riddled with economic challenges, the biggest of them all being unemployment. Well, this was as you would say in Afrikaans, ‘reg in my kraal.’ Not only was there plenty to write about this topic, but I could personally relate to it as well.

My research showed that twenty five percent of this country’s people are currently unemployed. Now if you weren’t born with the mathematical gene, let me assist: It is more than twelve and a half MILLION!

Yes, more than one fifth of all South Africans has to somehow eat, drink, commute, pay labola and finance their pot plant fetish (or is it just me?) with no job. Not Ayoba, né?

Like I mentioned previously, this is an issue I can totally relate to. Since the start of 2012, I have been actively searching for a job, and regardless of a few months spent as an intern at eNews, I am still presently unemployed. I am constantly comparing myself to classmates and friends in order to see whether I am behind on the ‘finding a job race.’

This metaphorical race I am referring to is some sort of rites of passage for all South Africans of my generation. But it is one I will not wish upon another, much like having your heart broken and a horrifying first sexual experience.
And during this phase I have come to realize that the pursuit for a decent and good paying job is very similar to that of the quest for one’s true love.
Let me explain:

It all starts with you applying for a position. Occasionally you’ll push your luck by applying even though you know you are completely under qualified. But you tell yourself; if I never try then I will never know. This submission is much like your first approach at the bar, or even your first text message declaring your interest, and for all you tech savvy liberals out there, your first Facebook poke. Occasionally here too will you try to court someone out of your league with the same philosophy; if I never try….

Next is your curriculum vitae. Many hours is spent on this document in order to market yourself appropriately. This can be compared to a single person’s obsession with their own appearance. People spend hours at the gym, in front of a mirror, or even at the waxing salon in order to catch the suitor’s attention. It is in a way safe to say, you (and even your finely planned facebook profile) is your CV.

Then comes the waiting game. Many a time I have found myself almost compulsively waiting for that phone call, confirming my success. Sometimes to no avail. This is very much the same as the neurotic girl or guy, waiting to hear from their newly found love to call back, asking to see them again.

When your application is successful, and they have contacted you then comes the interview. Boy, I hate the interview! Much like the first date, nervousness can present itself in the following ways: Loss of speech. The inability to detect any obstacles in your way, and then recovering after your embarrassing tumble. Dryness of mouth. Unwanted stomach activity. And sweaty palms.

Then comes the rejection. After your application wasn’t successful, self-doubt and jealousy set in. During this phase one questions your abilities to the point that you would just want to quit. But you are then reminded that you need to pay rent so you start looking again.
This is very much like the post failed relationship depression. This time of pity and doubt leads to questions you maybe don’t want answered like; should I rather change my sexual orientation? Will I die a silently and lonely death with my cats devouring my decomposing corpse? Or should I join a monastery?

If there is one thing I have learned when it comes to finding love, then it is to be patient. They say you need to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince. Well, I’m pretty sure it counts for finding the right job, ‘cause I’m absolutely not against making out with someone for a job opportunity…. I’m just joking (no, I’m not!).

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