The Job Interview

job interview
Your next job interview.

I enter the atrium. It is glass and steel with a hard floor. I see your massive reception desk that has what looks like a suspicious disembodied lady’s head peering at me from over the formica. I approach the lady’s head with a BUSINESS and JOB motion, and stand in a WORK stance. Good morning.

Hello, I’m employed to greet people, but I won’t look up with much enthusiasm in my cold dead eyes.

Hi, I’m here to see Mr Interview for my Job Interview


If you’d like to sit on that very noisy leatherette sofa, and sweat even more than you’re already sweating, I’ll just ring through and let him know you’re very nervous


Mr Interview? Yes, another of those things is here to see you. Yes, his perspiration is very obvious.

He’ll just be a moment.


[silence, except for the massive creaking of my body on the sofa, sounding like a pirate ship in a gale. The atrium’s acoustics create natural reverb and every creak rings out around the space. She can hear me moving. I stare at objects: The floor, the plant, the light, the picture, the receptionist, she catches you looking at her. You open your mouth to offer small talk. She shakes her head, almost imperceptibly. I go back to looking at things and creaking noisily. I daren’t fart. I can feel sweat. He enters. He is older and radiates more power than anyone I’ve seen since waking up this morning]

Mr Shitbrains?

Mr Interview! Here, shake my sweaty hand. I’m Mr Daniel Shitbrains

On your knees, peasant

Pleased to meet you. I’m Mr Interview. Let me just shake your hand firmly, and then I’ll just wipe my hand on my trousers. Gosh, you’re sweaty. Would you come this way?

I’ve got no choice, really. Thank you Ms Reception

Fuck you.

Let me just walk you very obviously through this intimidating office whilst making small talk. Look at these people. They might very well be your colleagues this time next week, small talk, small talk. See how they stare at you. They’ve already judged you. See how generically we’ve decorated this place. How drab it is. Have you got any small talk?

Yes, my talk is very small. Gosh, this place is depressing isn’t it? I’m trying to be confident, but I am also subservient and grateful that you have set time aside to interview me, even though it’s a part of your job to interview people from time to time.

Would you like coffee, tea, gin, or diazepam?

No thank you, I’m already tranquilised, thanks. I thanked you twice there. Did you notice? Would you really give me those things you have offered? What if I said yes to the questi-?

[interrupting] I guess you’ll never know. That now happened in another universe. Now, if you would step into this surprisingly cold and bare room through this rather ominous, yet ordinary door…

If I refuse, would you kill me?


In which case, I shall enter the room.

Please sit here. I will sit here.


Stop thanking me. More small talk?

A little, yes! Lame joke.

I laugh, but my eyes say “you’re a dick”. You’ve just blown any chance of having a job here.

Gosh, this chair creaks almost as bad as that sofa!

Right, well, I’ll just be a bit brisk and keen to stop this silly small talk business and get on with it. I’m just going to ask you some generic questions about what sort of human person you are. These questions will determine whether or not you are fit to do busy-work for us.

I understand. Not understanding at this point would be fatal to my chances.

OK, let’s start suddenly!

AARRRGGGH CHRIST THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING!!! And I’m calm and totally in the jobzone.

They look at you like this…

What attracted you to the role at Thingummy Wotsit?

Well, I’m going to answer this in two ways. One is to answer using words that convey my undying enthusiasm for this company, and for the role. I use words like ‘challenging’ and ‘career progression’, and you nod in response. The other would be to use my body language to convey the message that I saw the job advert whilst smashing my head on a lamppost, that I just need a job, and this job will have to do for now. Look at my eyes, I’m not enthusiastic. I’m just reciting words and phrases you job-people like hearing.

I offer my thanks for your using those words, and I’ll just make an ominous scribble on this piece of paper. The note reads, simply: “Don’t”. Now, why do you think you are best suited for the role? Please give me examples from your career that will convince me not to kick you out of this room right now.

I’ll tell you about the time when I thought I did something awesome in a workplace. I’ll gloss over the times I was lazy or non-communicative, or felt bitter resentment towards my workmates. Again, I’ll use some words that you’ll think about whilst masturbating in the stationary cupboard later on this afternoon. I might just throw in, a bit early in the interview, a work-phrase. Something along the lines of that I like to think outside the box by saying “I like to think outside the box”

Hmmm. A bit early in the interview for that sort of phrase-dropping, but I’ll let it go. Can you tell me anything else… or is that it?

No, that’s it for now.

Oh. I’ll write another note. Don’t look at me writing this. So, given that you’ve already answered some questions on the workplace, can you think of any times when you’ve found something to be too hard, and you’ve wanted to give up, but you’ve stuck with it, and ended up doing a pretty mediocre job of it?

Yes, I’ll answer this question with confidence, because you want to hear an answer, and by golly, I’ll answer it by answering as I do right now with my answer.

So why did you leave your last job. Did they hate you there? Were you sacked for being appalling? Tell me.

I’ll give a very broad answer that suggests any parting was amicable, and I hope you don’t actually speak to the references I’ve given you on my CV.

Really? That’s the total honest truth, is it?

…and you feel like this.


Oh yes. I didn’t get sacked. I didn’t leave by backing out of the room with both middle fingers raised. I didn’t leave a turd in the photocopier. I left with hugs, good luck cards, and wishes from all my co-workers, all of whom regretted that I was leaving (some were crying) and all expressed a fond hope that I would see them again. I won’t. I’ll just have a few of them as Facebook friends and gradually delete them over the next 18 months. They’re waaaankers.

I won’t thank you for that answer. Now, can you think of any transferable skills from your time in the Army?

I wasn’t in the Army.

I see…

But I did look at a picture of an Army once.

Ah, that answer at least piqued my interest. You are clearly trying to make up for not being in the army. It does, at least, show willing.

And I once watched a Navy!

OK, don’t overdo it. Now, would you say you were a person type of person?

Yes, I’d say I was, and I’ll give a rambling answer to illustrate that point…

You don’t need to do that…

…and I’ll ramble some more while my brain freezes, and I panic and try and remember the question…

No need, you’ve answered the…

…and I’ll end up sort of rephrasing what I’ve already said in the first sentence of my answer.

Thanks. I’ll make a joke now. Haha.




Ha. ha.


That’s enough.

Oh… um… er… right.

So what can you bring to this company?

I can bring THE MANY THINGS!!!

(oh, the Many, Many Things…)

When you reach this point, you should probably shut up

Such as?

I…er… Christ, I don’t know. I’ve never really understood this question. You’ve just asked it because it is a standard job-interview question, haven’t you?

OK, you got me there. It is a really bog-standard question that means nothing and your answer will not tell me anything truthful. You win this round. But I won’t allow you a victory dance…


…because I still want to know what you can bring to this company.

I can bring a toy to show-and-tell. Plus I can bring my body, and my many experiences as a job-person. I can bring metal and big rocks, plus I can bring cakes on the days when my wife bakes a fresh batch. I can sing songs, for I am a bard. I can bring a homemade vinaigrette, and my skills with a torch. I can bring a Soviet spy I’ve been hanging on to for a few years, in case that swings the deal. And I can bring shrimp; Lots and lots of shrimp. I can also bring…

 [OK, well, you’re in full waffle-mode now, so I’ll just nod steadily until there’s a pause. I don’t understand your answer, but that’s sort of fair, because you didn’t understand the question. Nobody does, you’re quite right. I think it’s safe to say you’re panicking now because your answer is gibbberish, and now I’ll tune in because you’re reaching a cadence point]

…and there’s a massive bag of porn I found in a railway siding I can bring in to pep things up when projects go awry.
Excellent. So given that you’ve skim-read the job description, and haven’t a fucking clue, I’ll just outline some of the more tedious duties, which are standard in every job. You must show up to do the work, and you must do the work, and then you must leave the work so that you are rested before returning to do this work the next time the sun comes up. Now I’m going to ask you about some of the other aspects of the role that aren’t too obvious in the job title, but were mentioned in the Job Description…

I’ll just say “OK…” to show I’m connecting with this conversation

Does the fact that this job involves doing some work bother you at all?

Well, I should answer yes, but my brain is screaming “NOOOO!!!”

I shall punctuate your answers henceforth with an “Ah-huh…” to give you the impression I’m listening, even though I’m not, and your answers mean nothing to me.

…and although you’re asking me to do something I don’t want to do, I’ll sound positive and agreeable, and I’ll feel a trickle of sweat leak from my armpit hair and run down to my waist.


And I don’t want you to think I’m unwilling to work for you, even though what I want is a way to fill my daytime and earn some money to pay my mortgage, but really, I don’t want this job…


…it’s not what I want to do, and I’m certainly thinking I could do better…


…and I’ll just finish my answer abruptly.0

Ah-huh… oh, you’ve finished? That’s it, is it? That’s your answer?


Nothing more to add to that answer? Because this is the moment when, later on, you’ll realise you should have answered some more.

No, I’ve finished my answer. Yes, I’ll regret it later.

Did you know that the job involves doing something you’ve never done before, and you have no experience of, but that you’ll be expected to do it anyway without any training?

Er… question… w-what?


No, that has taken me completely by surprise, but I’ll lie and say I’m totally prepared for it.

So, you haven’t done this aspect of the job before?

Yes. No. Yes. And a no.

So you’ve done hostage negotiation with a known child molester holding a screaming boy at knifepoint before, then?

Yes. Totally. In my last job, I talked down a rampaging zebra in a bookshop.

OK, that’s not quite the same, but transferable skills, and small talk.

A little small talk, not much. Zebras and traumatised children both figure somewhere on a similar scale.

Somewhere… yes. Haha.


No, haha.

Right. No heehees in this job, obviously.

Absolutely. Attention to detail much?

Yes, I attention to detail plenty.

Yes, but much?

More like plenty. Plenty is kinda much.

Yes… “kinda”.

Attenntion to detauil! (in semaphore)

OK, if you say so.


Not care now. Do you normally dress like this to do work?

Yes I do (no I don’t. I hate ties. I hate jackets).

And you have that haircut and that aftershave?

Oooh, yes. Daily. (what fucking aftershave is he referring to? Oh Christ, I think he means the stain on my trousers…)

I typed “interview” into Google images. Got this in response. Great job, everyone.

And do you ever like to be an obnoxious work-prick?

I have a feeling it’s what’s expected of me, so I suppose I’ll say yes.

Because acting like an obnoxious work-prick with an inflated sense of importance is crucial to this role.

Yes. Let me use an obnoxious work-prick phrase to show I’m in the club. ASSERTIVE.

Not totally convincing, but kudos for using it.

And I’ll throw in another work-prick word! More ASSERTIVE INITIATIVE.

Ooh, now you’re talking! Now explain what you mean by ASSERTIVE.

I’m merely quoting something I saw on The Apprentice.

I’ll pretend I never saw that episode 400 times on repeat whilst fingering my bum.

I’m really out of my depth here, I hope you don’t notice that I’m not ASSERTIVE but PASSIVE.

I do notice these things. I am more than you. I > You. Now you’ll be working with work-pricks on a daily basis. You know that don’t you?

Yep. Can’t wait (for my adult working life to be over so I can retire).

And these work-pricks aren’t just men, but women as well.

Bring it, dude. I’m married. Women good.

And you’re OK with people screaming down a phone at and having someone screech abuse to you as part of the job…?


No, you don’t say “Ah-huh”, I say it.




That’s acceptable. So, the phone screaming…? You down?

I’m not a confrontational person, and I have mild mental health issues, but I’ll sound like one of the Big Boys right now, so you’ll not see my weaknesses.

Ah, I like your Big Boy routine, and it’s reasonably convincing. This pleases me.

Should I mention the mental health issues?

Nuh-uh. Absolutely no way. I have contempt for people with mental health issues. Never mention it again, not even when you’re suffering from a period of depression. I won’t understand it. In fact, I’ll make your depression worse by patronising it.

OK, then I’m supremely confident at all times and like shouting at people and throwing my weight about. Did you notice I brushed my hair and trimmed my beard into a neat mons pubis? That won’t happen often. I’d much rather look like a frontier woodsman.

I’m impressed by your shiny chestnut-brown hair and glasses. And I like clean-shaven men. But I equally like men with slight stubble, as long as they’re pushy and arrogant. And I gather beards are in now. I’ll make a comment about beards. I see you have beard.

I’ll make a very slight pithy comment about my beard…

I’ll chuckle in solidarity, even though I have done much to rid my face of my own facial hair because I hate it. So tell me, now that we’ve had that moment of levity, where do you see yourself in five years’ time?


In five years’ time I will see myself in a mirror. That’s where I usually see myself. I imagine that unless mirror technology changes in that time, I will see myself there. Oh, and I sometimes see myself reflected in windows and television screens that are switched off, but not as well as in a mirror.

No, I mean, where do you see yourself in five years’ time working in this company??

Probably in one of the bathroom mirrors. You have bathroom mirrors, yes? And probably in a computer monitor that hasn’t been switched on yet. And maybe in some of these glass doors you have.

NO! Where do you see yourself WORKING in five years’ time in THIS COMPANY?

Ah! I see what you mean! Ah!


I see myself working at a desk…

Oh for the love of…

…in a reflection on a glass office wall that belongs to a MANAGING JOB PERSON!

OK, I’m feeling this… and what will you be doing?

WORK, but sort of in a reversed image, because reflections do that.

BUSY work? Will you be important and cool?

BIG and BUSY. And reflected. Which is how I’ll see myself. Very cool, and very important. Who knows? Maybe you’ll respect me then.

Unlikely. I’ll probably always treat you like a junior underling, reminding you that I interviewed you. Now, how do you feel about this thing here?

I don’t like it at all, but I’ll say I like it, in case that’s the answer you’re looking for.

It is the answer I’m looking for, well done. I’ve put a question mark next to the “Don’t” on my piece of paper.

Hopefully, you won’t ever discover I just lied to you.

Hopefully, we’ll never talk again. Does this mean you’re OK with doing something else unpleasant?

Yes, I’m fine with it except I’m not really.

Good. Now as far as experience goes, have you killed using a sniper rifle before?


Do you wish there was another you?

All the time. Expecially now. Reflected in an office glass door in five years’ time. Attentnion to DETWAIL. ATTENTION.

And can you quantify that with examples?

Three times, but only in April.

When you’re looking at the job description of the worky-work for our job, did it fill you with dread, and a gnawing feeling you are utterly incapable of this.

Yes, but I’ll say no.


Milk much?

Yummy milk.

Milk small talk!



We are MILK brothers now!

Hopefully, I’ll never see you again.

I hope we do milk together. Often.

No. Now, with regard to regarding things, how much regard do you pay to regarding the things that are highly regarded in this organisation?

I’ll answer in a way that makes you think “Hmmmmm. WORK”.

Oh, very good. I shan’t eat you now. Can you computer?

Oh, yes. Buttons a lot, and programs.

Mac, yes?

Of course (not. PC 4 lyf, bitch).

Mac programs…

God yeah! (fuck no)

So, computer good… Mac good…

Can I just interject, a little bit out of turn, to distract from all this Mac nonsense to say something that shows I am pro-active, with a point that I hope will make you think “Mmmmmm. BUSY WORK”?

Yes, by all means… although I’ll remember later on that you changed the subject…

So I’ll make this point to give you an image of me, in a meeting, making a point that makes everyone in the room think “YES. WORK AND JOB. BUSINESS”

[leans forward in the chair] Oh, WORK AND BUSINESS MUCH!

And I’ll even slip in the assumption that I will get the job to make it sound like I fucking PWN the job already.



Yes, you’ve made me consider – very briefly – the prospect of you doing a WORK JOB. And even more incredibly, this WORK JOB might be involving us. Well done on WORK.

Where are we in the interview? I just want to check my scores

Oh, it’s progressing and your scores are scoring. Now can you think of any time when you did stuff in work?

Yes, I did stuff a lot, and I’ll ramble again…

…don’t mind me…

…and there was a time when I did stuff for JOB…


…and WORK…

Ah. Huh.

…and I did BUSY.

Good. Now I’ll ask a question you didn’t fully expect.

Oh. Um. I’ll pause before answering…

Don’t pause too long, or I’ll have to think about eating you again!

…but I’ll very quickly cobble together an answer, but it’ll be too short an answer.

You finished your answer suspiciously quickly. Is that your answer?

Yes… WAIT! No-  oh, all right, yes. Yes. Go back to yes.


OK. Slight disappointment that you very obviously blagged that answer. Might have to put a question mark next to the question mark next to “Don’t”. Now, I’m going to lighten up a bit to give you a human face to make your responses to. Do you have any hobbies or interests that might be of any interest to me right now?

I do, but you clearly don’t have any understanding of why I like doing what I do, and they don’t interest you personally, but they add dimension to me as a human.

Well, you’re correct in that assumption, but I’ll pretend to show vague interest, but I’ll also make it clear I think such things are stupid and that we share no interests in common.
For example: If you tell me that you play the violin, I’ll say that I never learned to play any musical instruments, and although I’ll profess a liking for music (because to say I don’t like music would imply I’m a soulless freak) and I’ll state my admiration for people who do learn instruments, to be honest, this is the last time we’ll ever discuss our hobbies, even if you do come and work for us. Although you have mastered a musical instrument, whereas I have not, and therefore you are superior in some ways, remember that I ultimately care not for your musical ability. I am nothing like you, and I don’t understand why you play the violin. The concept is alien to me. I have very different interests. For instance, I hate clouds, and I like to vandalise bus shelters.

Yes, bus shelters are vandalised often. I wondered who did it. Now I know.

Hopefully, I’ll never see you again.

I am human and I have interests.

I can see that. Well, I’d just like to wrap things up by putting a blanket around my shoulders, and putting some paper around a thing I’ve bought for someone.

I’d like to make some closing remarks, and throwing in some last minute examples of work-prick words…

…bit late, but go for it…

…and I’d like to say JOB, and WORK, and ignore the sweat that is now pouring from my armpits like a mountain stream…

I could’ve left the window open, but I didn’t. This should tell you what I’m like.


Ah. You should’ve said all that before. Bit of a desperate ploy at this late stage. And I shall briefly morph into a female of your species just to remind you that your boss could be female and therefore more terrifying in a more profound and Freudian way.

…and JOB and I WANT JOB but not desperately (but desperately I want JOB, even though I don’t like the prospect of working here).

I see these are your closing arguments, and I shall steer this conversation to a close by changing back into MALE mode and raising the pitch of my voice at the ending of this sentence to provide a natural cadence. Thank you. This concludes our allotted talking moment where you have attempted to convince me of your suitability to level up to Next Level Human.

My measured thanks are a substitute for a loud exhalation of relief.

Now if you’d care to follow me back to the very echoey atrium…

So much hate.


Back through the OFFICE WORK PLACE?

Yes. Look at the people in their stations. In their rightful places. You could be joining them. Are they your future colleagues? We shall see.

Gosh, they all look so sad. She looks nice, but that one there, that man, he looks like a future enemy.

They do look sad. So do I. Did you notice? Small talk, small talk, but I’m keen to get rid of you.

To be honest, I didn’t notice your sadness. Small talk.

That’s why I’m a boss interviewing the likes of you. Attention to detail, see?

Oh, right. That’s what it is.

Yes. One notices things that are worng, and then re-evaluates them until they’re right.

Yes, I see attention to detail a little more now. (Shit! I didn’t say RE-EVALUTE!)

Yes. I project the air of perfection and power, and yet hide my failings as a father and husband. That’s the secret. I look perfect, but I’m not. Learn from this.

Small talk?

Small talk diminishing now. You interest me less. You follow me to the end of the building and to the world outside.

You were my captain for this brief period, and I would have followed you to the end. I hope I have your respect.

Unlikely. I shall think on your application to join us. And now, we enter the atrium. It’s like the end of the fantasy film where the young girl heroine returns to the real world. Back up through the rabbit hole, click the ruby slippers, tell Jareth he has no power over you, etc.

This atrium represents the end of our moment together. Thank you, Mr Interview.

Thank you, and I insincerely wish you all the best! What the best is, one can only guess. And, even if you do get the job, hopefully I’ll never see you again.

Part of me wants this job, and a lot of me doesn’t. Thank you for taking the time to interview me which is part of your role here at Thingummy Wotsit.

All the best, again, whatever that means.

Thank you, again. I can’t stop thanking you. I look forward to hearing from you (last-minute proactive MUCH ASSERTIVE)

Good bye.

Good bye. And I’m walking alone now through the atrium. You’ve already turned on your heel to welcome the much more snappily dressed, younger, assertive, proactive-looking person who is radiating initiative, sitting on the creaking sofa, but holy crap, they’re sitting there silently without creaking at all! You have switched your attention completely away from me already and will struggle to recall our interview later, when you refer to your notes. Oh well. I shall move on. Good bye Ms Receptionist.

Bite me.

(I didn’t get the job)

job 8
Your dignity belongs to this sofa now.


This concludes the series on unemployment. Thank you for reading! Back to Dad-fails and the usual humiliations next week!


The Application Form

So, let’s recap.

Last week, I wrote the Covering Letter you shouldn’t write

The week before that, I wrote the Job Description through the eyes of unemployment-related depression

And the week before that, I wrote something… er… I forget what it was, but knowing this blog, it would have been fuckin’ awesome!!!


This week, it’s all about one of the most important, but also one of the most intimidating things about being unemployed: The Application Form. The thing that could guarantee your employment could suck all life force from you, but don’t despair! All it takes is a bit of gumption, a bit of confidence, and maybe a human sacrifice to their demonic God.

This, however, is the application form that beats you into submission.

Thingummy Wotsit 2 Logo


Information for applicants


  • All sections of the form must be fretted over for far too long.
  • Please read the enclosed guidance notes at the end of this form for more destruction of your self-esteem and to enhance the nagging feeling that you’ve filled the form in wrong.
  • The information contained in this form will be treated as confidential (Oh yes. Confidential. Suuuuure.)


Personal Details

Job Title:
Job Title you’d actually like in a perfect world (NB: As you know all too well, this is not a perfect world):
Enhanced human with laser-beamy eyes


Title: Mr Mrs Miss Ms Dr Idiot


MeName you give yourself in your head:
DR SHITBRAINS (and even then, then doctorate was bought off an Online University) 

My damp, messy house with all the curtains drawn so no one can see in

Sadness Lane



Post code:   TW47 F4C3


Telephone numbers (incl. area code): Home: 123-4-5 678910 ELEVEN TWELVE! Daytime: The same. I won’t answer. I only get calls from scam operations in Mumbai these days
Mobile: 07734 55378008 (turn it upside-down. It says ‘Boobless Hello’ on a calculator. Hilarious!) Bananaphone: Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring…
E-mail address:


Are you applying for this job on a job share basis so that someone else can sort out the inevitable mess you’ll make? Yeah, that would be sweet No. They’ll only get frustrated with me


Role Applied For

Role applied for: Assistant Loser
Department: The Department of Mirth Closing date: Yesterday. I misread the job advert, and now I’m panicking.
How did you find out about the vacancy: Someone screamed it into my face during a pub fight.



Applicants offered a post will be forced to justify their qualifications on appointment.

Secondary schools and/or colleges attended Full or part time From To At what point did you quit?
The University of Fucking Up Full Sept 1995 July 1998 BA (hons) 2:2 in Ennui
St Ostracise Comprehensive School Full Sept 1993 July 1995 3 A-Levels:

B – Resentment, B – Parental Disapproval, E – Success

St Ostracise Comprehensive School Full Sept 1988 July 1993 10 GCSEs:

A – Awkwardness

A – Social Anxiety

B – Very Sad English Literature

B – Solipsistic Indie Songs

B – Embarrassing Encounters with the Opposite Sex

C – French Exchange Disaster

C – Utter Confusion

C – Really Looking Forward to Leaving This Fucking Place and All These Absolute Cunts Far Behind

C – Feeling Left Out
F – A Sense of Well-Being


Training (e.g. short courses; further development; all of which pointless)

Course title Date Qualification (if appropriate)
Plastering for Dunces July/August 2013 Piece of paper with the words “stop being stupid” written in crayon
IT Night School Mar/Apr 2008 A look of contempt from the teacher
Network Management Sept 2005 A qualification that is meaningless in all walks of life


Membership of professional bodies and date of admission:

The Guild of Master Arseholes since 1976


Present/most recent employer who hated you (this may be paid or unpaid)

Job Title: Self-employed Salary: £Mung beans
Brief description of job and main duties:


Developing my own business of staring out of the window and wishing I was someone else with a bit more pizazz. This is how I earn a living these days

In doing so I undertook the following:

  • Negotiated the purchase of a window to stare out of
  • I provide my own administration, including correspondence with people such as my nagging inner voice, ex-girlfriends, impatient bank managers, exasperated friends, the leaseholder to my happiness, and acquaintances from throughout my life who seem to do much better than me.
  • Kept accurate records of how crappy I feel on a day to day basis, then put my moaning up on Facebook for all to laugh at
  • Worked as part of a one-man team, with tight deadlines and a pressing need to lie down
  • Work was completed £2.5k under budget.

The business is currently sold subject to contract, and a substantial profit is expected before all the legal costs and taxes wipe out every single crumb I strived for



Start date in this job: July 2013 End date (if appropriate): It Never Ends
Name of employer: Self-employed

Address: Just post it in my mouth

Post code: Numbers and letters                       Telephone no: Yes! Exactly this – “Telephone, nooo!”


How much notice do you need to give?

Did you not read what I said up there? It Never Ends!!



Previous employment and wastes of life (this may be paid or unpaid)

Please put most recent job first.  (Any gaps in employment history must be expunged.  Any dismissal or redundancy must be clearly lied about).

Name and address of employer Job title and main duties From To Reason for leaving Final salary
Unfulfilling Career Choice Made in my Mid-20s That I ended up Lumped With for 8 Years Inc.

Easy House

Pay-the-Bills Lane

Rut Town

Assistant Procrastinator
ShruggingStaring at the Clock and   Wishing for Time To Fly By
Surreptitiously checking emails and FacebookDoing the Least Amount of Work I Could Get Away With

Occasionally Being Tutted At by a Superior and Being Summoned Into Their Office With The Chilling Phrase “Can I Have A Word?” Before Getting A Profound Bollocking.

Jan 2005 July 2013 The empty void in my soul became too much to bear. I wish I could say I left on a cloud of fart gas with both fists raised aloft in triumph, but I actually left without much fuss and had a poorly attended leaving do in the pub after work Enough to live and socialise on, but not enough to secure myself for retirement
Pointless Administrative Taskmaster Bastards
Mundane Buildings
Grim Street
Rut Town
Assistant Attempt At Being A Grown-up
Multiple Coffee BreaksLaughing at Cat GifsWishing I Worked Somewhere Else

Occasionally Being Tutted At by a Superior and Being Summoned Into Their Office With The Chilling Phrase “Can We Have A Chat?”

Sept 2001 July 2004 Ran out of fucks to give. Surprisingly Generous, but Not Enough to Placate the Gnawing Feeling At The Core of My Being
Shrieky Workspace
Shouty Towers
Enforced Jollity Road
Rut Town
Assistant Assistor
Providing office support, weak laughter, lily-livered tacit approval of sexism/racism/homophobia in the workplace, dealing with twatty colleagues who blatantly take the piss while I make more of an effort than I should, phone contact with utter arseholes, excruciating conversations about rubbish I don’t watch on TV anyway, tolerance of some properly shit-filled opinions, wondering how the supervisors actually got their jobs because they do the square root of fuck all, and taking minutes at board level (board members being gassy pricks who chortle about golf)
April 2001 Sept 2001 I just couldn’t take the walk to work through the financial part of town any more. So much money floating about in these towers of steel and concrete. So many grim faces. So many… A fairly insulting amount
11/2000 – 4/2001.
Period of temp employment.
Worked as temp administrator for various wankers for shit pay and an endless eroding of my self-worth
Centre for Arts and Art Things
Art Warehouse
Regeneration Lane
Bar Serf
I worked behind a bar in an Arts Centre run by a woman in a jumper. You honestly wouldn’t believe how many alcoholics there are working in the arts. Really, it’s amazing. The bar basically funded the fucking place.
June 1999






November 2000






Closure of centre because all the alcoholics ran out of funding £0.50p per shift.
“Its the arts, dearie. There’s not enough funding”.
Units 31-33
Grease-Under-the-Fingernails Shopping Mall
Trainee McJoberator
Serving rude bovine humans whilst wearing a stupid fucking hat and stripy shirt after completing my degree in Superior Cleverness. 
July 1998 April 1999, which was far too long to stay in that shite Needing a job with regular money after living high on the hog as a student in the 1990s before the bastard universities started charging £BUMSEX for a BA Hons degree in hiphop, or whatever £a fucking pittance


Please continue wiping on an additional sheet if necessary



Personal Statement

Please say how your lack of skills, ignorance, paltry amount of knowledge and previous bad experiences in employment, whether paid or unpaid, are relevant to this unfulfilling post and how they meet the criteria listed on the employee specification by giving practical examples of your ineptitude and failure.  You should refer to every single moment of regret in your life, how much your parents despise you, and the enclosed guidance notes when completing this sheet. You can also outline your lack of successful relationships, whether in paid employment or elsewhere to demonstrate personal qualities or interests. This won’t help you, seeing as you have no qualities, and you’re certainly not interesting. Please continue writing reams of bullshit about your boring-as-piss-drying life on a separate sheet, if necessary.

Please note you should complete this section with enough evidence to demonstrate how you meet all of the essential criteria, and make at least three hilarious grammatical errors. Without this you cannot be shortlisted

I am a motivated and hard-working individual with a commitment to doing the very best work, especially under time and budget restraints. I enjoy working in a demanding and stimulating creative environment, either as part of a team or on my own. At least, that’s what I think you want me to say.

I have four years’ experience working in pointless administration, and 12 years in a hateful office environment working with people I really couldn’t stand, sometimes with people who in school would be unkindly described as having special educational needs; and over 10 years’ experience of irrelevant freelance, or rather, “unpaid” work. This means I am motivated to produce work of the highest quality. I am used to working under pressure and to tight deadlines, and to write nonsensical twaddle in order to fill out sheets such as these.

Recently, I have been working as a Self-employed… er… unemployed person. This has meant being driven, disciplined, and tenacious in business dealings with nobody. Again, I have evidenced this by using words and phrases that might catch your eye and distract you from the obvious litany of poor life and career choices I have made. I have been motivated to work hard every day on my own initiative. Initiative: That’s another word you fuckers like. I have acquired new skills on a rapid learning curve, and I have worked in partnership with others to present a shining example of what it is to be a bit irrelevant in all things. I’ve been working up to seven days a week in a high-stress environment, under the limitations of a strict budget using my own capital, keeping track of all expenditure and correspondence, communicating with working partners and trades-people, and dealing with complex issues concerning estate agents, trades-people, and solicitors; or to put it another way, I’ve been doing the housework. And not very successfully, I might add. I have been successful in resolving all issues with any arsey cunts in a professional and courteous manner.
My strengths are:

  • My hard work ethic
  • My creativity, able to adapt working practice at a moment’s notice, and able to  improvise and find solutions in any working environment. In other words, the ability to blag bullshit.
  • My ability to collaborate and to work as an enthusiastic part of a team whilst gritting my teeth at my colleagues’ spitefulness
  • Confident public speaker
  • Unconfident private dweeb
  • Articulate blatherer
  • To keep a cool head in a crisis, whilst screaming on the inside, and to work effectively in a high-pressure working environment
  • My ability to learn new practices, and to engage with new skills and yet still manage to destroy myself
  • Using bullet points

I am a self-motivated and determined person, able to juggle a varying workload and able to take on difficult responsibilities. If you’re not impressed by that sentence you might as well stop reading right there. My work often involved dealing with difficult and sensitive situations, and resolving issues effectively in a positive manner, usually by talking about Eastenders, which I never watch, but I pick up enough from the front pages of tabloid newspapers to fake it. I work very well as part of a team of people who hold less politically liberal views than I do. I am excited by the prospect of working with others, particularly towards a common goal, sharing in the joy of achieving something as part of a group, and I am a naturally collaborative person, sensitive to the collective needs of my colleagues, and I’ll try and claim credit for our joint work. Though I often wish they’d all die and leave me alone.

I am a fluent and effective communicator, able to convey difficult and complex information, an excellent demonstrator and performer in public with an entertainingly awkward presentation style, and able to provide formal correspondence that wot make me look lyk a big boy all growed up.

In my work as an assistant doing assisting things, which at least prevented me from having any real responsibilities at three different companies (See my woeful employment history above), I was often required to keep track of filing, do more filing, filing things away, finding files for people who are perfectly capable of looking for files themselves but decided to delegate to me to root through decades’-worth of files for one line of text, opening filing cabinets, closing filing cabinets, looking through files, not finding what I wanted to find in files, and spent plenty of time surrounding myself with a concentric nest of files, with me at the centre weeping copiously.

I have also done things that people in offices are supposed to do: Answer phones, create purchase orders, take minutes at meetings up to board level, write stuff, fill in forms, report to someone senior than me, dreamed of a better life that isn’t this one, be the first point of contact on phone and email for all official and public queries, handled boneheaded public queries from morons, handled even more boneheaded queries from people we have professional relationships with, hushed up office romances, looked blankly at finances and banking, wished I was a rock star, cured Ebola, answer all booking enquiries, sent vaguely sexist jokes around the office and cc’d it to the wrong people, arrange hospitality, negotiate arms deals, organise refreshments, setting up rooms and equipment, and maintaining a presentable environment, i.e. I was roped into doing some hoovering when the cleaners were on strike. I am an articulate speaker and writer, this is evidenced by me having presented presentations I chucked together on Powerpoint three hours before I was summoned into a featureless chamber in front of a bunch of disinterested senior figures who then didn’t quite get the gist of what I was trying to convey.

I am proficient in a number of standard computer packages, especially MS Word, Outlook, and EXCEL. Other than that, I’m very good at ringing the IT department. But that’s OK, because everyone who has ever worked above me, including all my supervisors, haven’t got a fucking clue how to use email, so they ask me to sort it out. Every. Single. Time. And these people are in continuous employment?? Do you not notice they’re completely incompetent? What the fuck is wrong with your HR department??!

I am experienced in actually you don’t give a rat’s fuck what I’m writing here. All I want is a job. I don’t want to work for you, but I need a job. Just give me a job. I don’t want to sound like an Alan Bleasdale character, but I could do your job just as well as you do your job. I’m sure you could find me something to do, can’t you? Look, I’ve been out of work for months, my wife is supporting me, and I can’t find jack shit. I’m just sat here filling in application form after application form and wanting to have money coming into my bank account, even if it’s for monkey work, but I haven’t achieved anything, other than a few miserable interviews. And even then, I don’t usually get a response. You won’t respond to this. You’ll just leave me dangling here while I wonder if I’ll ever find work again. Aaaand I’m back in the room.

I feel I have a great deal of experience to offer. I would relish the opportunity to work at Whoever You Are. I bring a professional and organised approach work, as well as a confident, enthusiastic and disciplined attitude, ready to tackle any challenge, and be a valued member of a vibrant and co-operative team. And that’s what I really, really want you to believe.



Please give the name and address of two people who vaguely from whom we may seek information regarding your suitability for employment.  If you are currently employed, one of the referees must be your current/most recent employer (see guidance notes).

Name: Mr Previous Boss Name: Phil Mate
Unfulfilling Career Choice Made in my Mid-20s That I ended up Lumped With for 8 Years Inc.
Easy House
Pay-the-Bills Lane
Rut Town
PI55 0FF
Philatron Industries
House of Phil
22 Phil Street
O4 5IS
Tel No. (Incl. area code): 0100 100100 Tel No. (Incl. area code): 07777 777 777
Fax: (who the fuck uses a fax anymore?) Fax: P£N15 D74W1NG
E-mail: E-mail:
Job title: The Crusher of my Hopes and Dreams Job title: Not my mate pretending to be a former boss


If shortlisted for interview, please give any dates when you would be available to be pissed on:

You’ll probably want me to come in on my kid’s birthday, won’t you? And even then you won’t give me a job. So I’ll return home in my tatty-but-attempted-to-iron-it-in-an-effort-to-look-adult suit, and have my wife say “How did it go?”, and I’ll say “Shit” and burst into tears; then look up and see my kid, her friends and their parents all standing around waiting to blow out the candles.



Do you have any unspent criminal convictions?        Yes/No

If yes, please provide details below. You do not have to tell us about any convictions that are spent (as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974).  You must disclose all unspent convictions of any offence.

Date                         Offence                       Sentence
In uni


Traffic cone arse amusement gone wrong A telling off by a late-shift desk officer who has seen it all before and laughed when I started crying and apologising as I sobered up and realised How Much Shit I Was In
Doing A-levels


Possessing a miniscule crumb of hashish A telling off by a late-shift desk sergeant who threatened to tell my mum. He never did, but I’m still scared he will. Please don’t tell my mum, she still doesn’t know about either the arrest, or the drugs.



Please state below if you are related to or have a close personal relationship with any Employee of the Company Wot You Are Applying To:


I wish I knew someone who could help. But I don’t.


Relationship: I actually think nepotism would help me out right now, but I reckon every member of my family is disappointed with me.


Personal Declaration

‘I declare that the information contained in every section of this application is correct, and is a window into my pathetic life for you all to have a peek through and giggle at’.

sig 2
2 June 2016


Please note that any false claim may make this application perfectly acceptable.  If employment has begun, you may be blackmailed.

Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form

Thingummy Wotsit is an Equal Opportunities employer and is working towards making sure that the workforce fairly represents all sections of the community. We can only judge our success in this area if we have full information regarding the gender, ethnicity and disability of all applicants.  This information will be kept confidential and used only for monitoring purposes by the Ministry of Social Purity. We will detach this sheet before it is sent to a selection panel, upon receipt of which, you will be… processed.  Please note that none* of the questions in this section are compulsory. (*all)

Date of birth (Applicants must be aged over 16 when they commence employment):
01/01/too long ago
Genitals (please tick): Crabby Minge Tiny Wand


Feeble: The Feebleness Discrimination Act 1995 defines Feeble as: “A depressing impairment which has a substantial or long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, yet they should suck it up”.

Do you consider yourself to be a Feeble Person: Yes No


Type of Person: Please note that these categories reflect those used in the 2001 Census.

How would you describe you as a Type of Person?  (If you do not identify with any of the categories listed, just pick the nearest one so we can put you into a box)  Please tick half a box and then change your mind.

Sporty Active and smug
Aggressive towards people who are different in some way, especially fat people
Wears sport clothes. Shouts a lot in pubs and the street due to swaggering sense of prickishness
Geeky Nerdy
Borderline autistic
Wears glasses
Ambitious Aspirational
Alpha-male/Queen Bitch
Conniving and wants promotion
Workplace coke-addled bully
Creative Arty and colourful but secretly wishes they could make a living from their Etsy page
Sullen and thoughtful and writes peevish comments about barely disguised co-workers in the novel they’re writing
Bores everyone with their music taste and wants to be a rock star and get up at 11am
Pours all their creativity into writing emails
Mindless Drone Watches Strictly, talks about little else
Reads the Daily Mail, talks about everything they read in the paper. Avoid.
Secretive Don’t know/not sure/determined to create an air of mystery in the office/slightly freaks people out
Would rather not state how many bodies


How would you describe your religion/belief?
Pious as fuck
Twee Protestant
Makes for awkward conversations
Is not invited to social events because they abstain from consuming anything fun
Quite severely religious, but easily tempted by Naughty Things; feels immense guilt about the internal conflict for 20 years, finally gives in during a moment of weakness at a works do and becomes horrifically bitter about religious upbringing. Subsequently much more fun to be around
Surprisingly scary
No religion, apart from being ironically evangelical about the God Emperor Dawkins, Worships Dawkins, loves Dawkins, bases life on the teachings of Dawkins. Normal God is Stupid!
Religions are bad. Politics are bad. Boring person who has a Bill Hicks CD and complains about Starbucks whilst buying coffee from Costa.
Ummmm…. if you don’t mind, I’d would rather not get involved in such controversial matters. Everyone’s entitled to respect everyone’s religious affiliation in the entire world.


Sexual orientation:
How would you describe your sexual orientation?
Normal, vanilla, twice a month
Disgusting. Too handsy in the lift and letchy in the office banter. Leers at low-cut tops. Do not approach at office party. Somehow gets away with it even after four official complaints. Probably son of board member.
A bit disturbing. Talks too much about it.
Strap me up, slap me hard, twist my nipples, and piss in my mouth. I am so your bitch.
Definitely illegal. Do not look at my internet browser history.


Please return the completed form via email to

Or by post to:

The HR Commander
Thingummy Wotsit
Depressing Place
H4T3 1T 4LL


Guidelines on the application form

Thank you for your interest in applying for a job with Thingummy Wotsit. We’ve put the following notes together to help you understand how our mind powers work and how to lower your expectations in order to fill in your application form as effectively as possible. You are advised to read them before we beat you up.

All relevant information will be ignored on the application form, although you may attach additional sheets if there is insufficient space on the relevant sections of the form, not that it will help. We’ll just mutter “tl; dr” under our breath at everything you write, even though it will take you all day to complete this fucking form.  CVs will not be accepted because we’re just not interested in your polished, abridged, and condensed version of your life.


Understanding the job

Please read the job description carefully before making your application. This document contains background information on Thingummy Wotsit and the relevant team that the role is part of. The “Key Responsibilities” section in the job description describes the mundane, soul-crushing day to day reality of your life, duties and accountabilities in more depressing detail. The “Employee Specification” section in the job description describes the incompetencies, lack of knowledge, skills and gaps in your experience you will have to sex-up in order to fulfil the role. Please pay attention to any special working conditions detailed, such as shift-work or late-night working, because we have every intention of sodomising your work-life balance.


The application form

How you complete the application form is very important, you massive durbrain, because shortlisting from this form is the first stage of the selection procedure. The information you give will be used to decide whether you will be invited to interview, or whether we’ll summon you in as a sacrifice to Azezael. ALL HAIL AZEZAEL.

All applications, from both internal and external candidates, are considered against the criteria contained in the employee specification which I know you haven’t read. Applicants must meet at least all the essential criteria contained in the employee specification to be considered for any hope in advancing in life.

If there are a large number of applicants (and there will be because, y’know, This Government, Eh?), the desirable and advantageous criteria will also be considered, so it’s extremely important that you lie copiously about how you meet all the essential criteria and as many of the other criteria as possible so we have a false but impressive picture of your skills, experience and abilities.

If you need to continue on a separate sheet for any of the sections please do so, making sure that the additional information for each section is clearly headed, eg “No wait, I have so much more to give!”. Please clearly label these extra sheets with your name and the role you are applying for, otherwise we will find you.

Please be a bit evasive about any gaps in your employment history.

Once you’ve completed the application form, please keep it on your desktop for three days while you tinker with it, edit it, change bits around, cut out any extraneous waffle, and then submit it having not bothered to spellcheck, or make sure the formatting is legible, but having a sneaking suspicious you missed doing something vitally important.

Please send the completed application form to the address shown on it and NOT to any other address supplied with the job details or in the advert. Don’t be an idiot. We’ll notice straight away.


Convictions and Disclosure

The Rehabilitation of Crims and Ne’er-Do-Wells Act of 1982 gives individuals the right not to disclose details of old offences as they are deemed to be “spent” and you’ve attempted to “go straight, guv”.  However, for some jobs employers are allowed to ask about these offences, just for gossip purposes, you understand. Certain jobs, such as those working with children or vulnerable adults, will require a check on previous convictions [including those deemed to be spent] in order to make sure you’re not a creepy wrong ‘un, plus details of any cautions, thick ears, reprimands, wagging fingers, or stern warnings. Where disclosure is appropriate, the application form will indicate the level required for the job in question.

We will follow the Criminal Records Bureau Code of Practice concerning the use of information gained from the Disclosure Service, which ensures that sensitive personal information is shared around the office appropriately and is kept for only as long as necessary.


Equal Opportunities/Monitoring Form

Thingummy Wotsit is an equal opportunities employer and particularly welcomes applications from groups currently discriminated against in our wider society. It is essential that we monitor the effectiveness of our society-cleansing policy, and to help us do this we appreciate your co-operation in completing the form.  This information will not be used when short-listing, and all information will be treated in the strictest lack of confidence. You’d know all about lack of confidence, wouldn’t you?


Thingummy Wotsit is committed to making reasonable adjustments to make interviews and jobs more terrifying to frightened people.  If you are invited to interview you will be asked to let us know if you have any particular fears and anxieties concerning job interviews, and we will do our very best not to dispel them.


Equality of information

All applicants will receive differing and unreliable information about the job, and if a contact officer is given, all applicants are invited to phone for an informal discussion about the job prior to applying for it.  This may help you decide if you meet all the criteria and whether you want to proceed with baring your soul.



Your current or most recent employer should be named as someone we can approach for any tittle-tattle about you. In some cases we may not ask your permission to take up references when you are offered an interview, and if you do not wish your referee to be approached at this stage you should inform us in writing with reasons. We will, of course, ignore your request. As a general rule, references will only be taken up once a job offer is made and has been accepted. No appointment will be confirmed without a thorough background check on your personality and habits being received.

If you are related to a referee in any way – for example, if you have formally been employed by a member of your family – you should make this really vague on the form.

If you have not been employed before, you should give the name of someone who will be able to comment on your skills and abilities, such as a teacher or lecturer, or other professional person who is not a friend or relative, and who probably doesn’t remember you and would require prompting. A second referee cannot be a family friend who will provide a character reference, but the relationship should be lied about.

You should surprise your proposed referees by not asking their permission prior to naming them.


Right to work

Thingummy Wotsit has a responsibility to sulkily comply with immigration and equality legislation as set out in any legislation or guidance issued by Her Majesty’s Government. You will therefore note that nearly our entire workforce is white, and apart from one woman, all of our senior staff are male.


Late applications

The completed application form must reach us by the stated closing date. Late applications will not be considered unless there are exceptional circumstances, like having both your knees being eaten by bears.

Recruitment files

Application forms and recruitment files are confidential documents and will normally only be seen by those who need to see them in order to recruit and select. And then, after about 5 years, we’ll print off the really funny ones, of which yours will be the most bitterly amusing. However, Thingummy Wotsit audits its recruitment and selection processes, and we must therefore inform you that our auditors may require access to any files for auditing purposes. And then, to keep our secrets contained, we’ll kill the auditors for THE GLORY OF AZEZAEL.

This version: April 2016


“Hmmm, just need to tidy up the Personal Statement, and I’ll reward myself with some porn. I love porn!”


NEXT WEEK!: Will there be a Job Interview? And if there is, what will it be like??!

Tune in and find out!!!

How to (Not) Write a Covering Letter

This is the third part of my series on being an Unemployed Dad.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about how miserable it is to be a Dad and out of work for a long period of time.

Last week, I wrote a fictional job description for the firm, Thingummy Wotsit.

This week, I’ve written a covering letter to Thingummy Wotsit. There are hundreds of articles spattered throughout the interweb like guano about how you should write a covering letter. This is not one of them.

Writing a covering letter is an essential part of job-hunting, but it can be bloody haaaaard. It is especially hard when you’ve written dozens of the fuckers, been knocked back a few times, and you have to muster the enthusiasm to keep writing good things about yourself, time and time again.

After a few months of this slog you become sorely tempted to write an uncomfortably truthful letter explaining how you really feel – You’re tired, you’re depressed, you’re fed up with the whole process, and you’re disheartened by the endless need to write glowing things about yourself. But writing an honest letter is not a great idea. You’re not really in a good frame of mind, and you’re likely to ruffle a few feathers by doing so, and those feathers might belong to someone who is the position of offering you a job.

So here is the letter you mustn’t write. The letter you want to write, but can’t. I’ve done it for you.

DISCLAIMER for all future employers of me:

The following letter is a work of fiction, and should not in any way be taken as being representative of me in real life, either now or in the future.

It is intended to portray how demoralising it can be to be unemployed for a significant length of time, and how one’s self-esteem can take a battering during the job application process, particularly if you have to write letter after letter after letter in the vain hope of getting a reply.

Only a complete idiot would take this letter as a serious representation of my lack of professionalism in applying for any future jobs. You’re not a complete idiot, are you?

Also, in my personal experience, people in HR departments work damn hard, they do an important job, and are helpful to the point of human sacrifice.

I think of some the word. I carve word on paper. Word make me job. I happy human! Need business. Do work! Eat pen.


Daniel Phnut

29.7 Bumfuddery Reaches


TW47 F4C3

103st Quobvember 2019

Your Ref: 63t 57uff3d

Dear HR Cow at Thingummy Wotsit,

Hi! Dan Superiffic here! I’d like to have that job you’re advertising! I’m really great and you’ll love me! I’ve done loads of stuff like this before, and I’ll be really good at it! You really need not consider anyone else for this role! Your search is over! I’m looking forward to you giving me this job! Hooray!




My name is not important, and you’ll forget it within seconds. I would like to apply for the role of ASSISTANT LOSER even though it’s a job I don’t want, and what I really want to be is a Superhero Rock Star, but I have bills to pay and I must squash my dreams in order to get by. Society demands that I do what amounts to (in cosmic terms) a thankless task in order to pay my taxes and not be pilloried in the media as a workshy scrounger, so here I am, begging you for work like I’m a hobo in mid-30s America. I get shit from my wife, my friends, my parents and my in-laws, for not having a job right now, and I’m only doing this because I need them to shut up; and I want my children to have a father they can respect. To be honest, I would really rather be watching boxsets of Game of Thrones right now.

Stop smiling, you freak. Writing a covering letter is a serious business.

In this covering note I am duty-bound to say how packed with initiative I am, or how hard-working, or motivated to the point where I’ll dance on my balls for you, but to be honest I’m feeling like none of these things right now. What I really want to say is:

  • I have been out of work for too long, and I’m terrified that this fact looks bad on my CV.
  • I want to say that I’m applying for up to four jobs a week and I hear fuck all back as to whether I’ve been rejected or not.
  • You are the 55th covering note I’ve written in the last six weeks, and I’ve lost track of who I am even writing to right now.
  • I filled in this form amidst a lot of sighing and looking out of the window and wondering how my life has led to this point.
  • I’ve looked at your Job Description and realised that as jobs go, I’m perfectly capable of even the most menial of admin jobs, but my current self-esteem plunge means I haven’t the confidence to apply for a job collecting trolleys in a Tesco car park
  • As far as adults go, I’m perfectly adequate, but again, a nasty voice inside me constantly tells me I’m severely lacking, even though I’ve somehow managed to do some adult things like have relationships and earn money, and pay taxes, and drive a car, and vote and stuff.
  • Even though both you and I know this job is capable of being filled by an illiterate knuckle-dragger, the wording of your Job Description and my crushing lack of confidence in my abilities means that I feel that I’d be unable to satisfy you, but that’s OK, because I feel I have a history of not satisfying anyone.
  • (I don’t mean that last bit in a sexual way. I am, at least in that regard, a sensual and priapic love-God. #sexgloat).
  • Most of the time I wish I could just copy and paste entire paragraphs from all my other covering letters, but I’m told by all the job agencies to tailor my applications individually, even though I am demoralised to the point of not having a shit to give anymore.
  • When I do get interviews, they fail to give adequate feedback, and I’m left wondering what’s wrong with me, and if I actually am capable of surviving as an adult.
  • As you can probably guess, I’ve had enough of writing covering letters.
  • I’m writing this in my underpants, having not showered since Tuesday, on the 132nd day of my unemployment. You are the fifth letter I’ve written today, and it is physically painful to try and muster the enthusiasm to write to you. I’ve been knocked back too many times recently, and I need a win.


Oh, HR Cow, you understand this, don’t you? Do you remember your ambitions and dreams as you grew up? I mean, you didn’t want to end up in HR by your late thirties, did you? You did a degree in History and had designs on academia or teaching in a further education college, or maybe archaeology, or research, but somehow you had to take a job to pay the bills and you wound up working for Thingummy Wotsit from your mid-twenties onwards.

People who read your CV be like…

As a child you wanted to be a doctor, or a princess, or a ballet dancer, didn’t you? And you were slim and beautiful and a little bit saucy in your teens and early twenties… but you’re now hovering around 40, with two kids, and you’ve gone to seed and you’ve dyed your hair. Your beauty is fading, your skin is becoming waxy, the crows’ feet are deepening, and you’re slightly bored of your husband. On your bad days, you dream of flying off to Spain and living in a commune without a bra, but you have so many responsibilities, so many people to answer to, so many people – so many – grasping at your legs for your attention, and you couldn’t bear to leave them.

So here you are, overweight, becoming more conservative with age, slightly bitter and with one of those unpleasant grown-up attitudes that resents self-pitying, feckless jobseekers like me. Secretly, you long to be a free-spirit, but your increasingly trenchant viewpoint forces you to reject such transgressive notions. And so you wear your trouser suit, and your necklace, and your make-up and you sift through application forms like mine, and you’re a bit of a bully in the office, and you do a job that’s OK, but utterly unfulfilling. You still want to be that ballet dancer.

You get my CV, and you conclude from my previous employment that I’m an unambitious idiot with pretensions, and you feel that I don’t have the required experience for this job, even though I’m nudging 40 myself. You wonder how I managed to get this far. I urge you to look beyond the standard words of introduction that I have written and see the person within.



Look, I know that if I get this job, I’ll probably eventually become miserable, just like I did in my last four jobs; only now I’m knocking on the door of middle age and I romanticise that my life is described in the lyrics of a Radiohead song from the late 90s. And now I’m panicking somewhat because on every job agency website I’ve ever read, they advise I keep my covering letter short and to the point. Bollocks. There is no point.

Just give me a job. Any job. Let’s face it, you’ll employ anyone vaguely competent, so why not just pick me? I probably won’t be the best person you employ, but I won’t be the worst, and I’ll do everything I can to be adequate, and not bankrupt the company.

Please. I need this.

Yours, in utter desperation and wallowing in my own crapulence

D Phnut


NEXT WEEK: The Application Form





The Job Description

Last week, I discussed how it felt to find myself unemployed and to go out looking for work when you have a family to support.

This week, we discuss one of the most essential parts of the job application process: The Job Description.

If you’re unemployed, then the chances are, you’ll be prone to depression. If you are unlucky to be depressed, then the process of applying for jobs becomes a lot harder. Your mind almost deliberately sets out to sabotage your mission: Small things become big things. Friendly corporations become scary hell-dictatorships staffed by bastards. Job descriptions become hopelessly intimidating.

Presented below is an example of what a job description can read like if you are lacking confidence, low in self-esteem, and you have already been knocked back a few times, but you still gotta keep on applying for job after job after job after job…





Thingummy Wotsit Logo

Job Description

Thingummy Wotsit is a committed leader in the business of work. For the last 38.73 years we have forged a reputation for hard work in the field of work, with plenty of jobs going to people who want to work in return for some money. Now that business is up after a period of down, we are looking for more people to do busy-busy worky work-work.

We are looking for a brash, yelling, confident, energetic person to join us in the BIG LOSER department who will be dedicated to operating without fault, reproach, or mistake in order to facilitate the smooth running of the Loser department, while providing never-ceasing support and indentured slavery to the Director, the Administrator, the Overseer, the Supervisor, and “The Boss”.

The Applicant will work closely with the Senior Loser to run our busy and depressing office in an industrial estate in the most dreary part of the whole of England. Your view every day will be of a grey car park fringed by spindly, twiggy saplings which are bare for most of the year, with the constant backdrop of a slate-grey sky and the thrumming soundtrack of the A48239 ringroad that circles endlessly round your provincial town of Erewhon. The majesty of Glencoe, the dragon-haunted valleys of Wales, the rolling wheatfields of the mythical Albion of William Blake, the dynamic pulse and skyline of the city of London, and the golden summer beaches of the Southwest from your childhood’s memory are a long way away right now, and forever more will be out of reach. You are an adult. You are at work. You will really need to name those saplings in order to survive.

There will be opportunities to work occasionally on large offsite projects that will consume your mind and become an obsession; but you will keep being told “No, this project isn’t a priority right now” for months before everyone demands that you drop whatever you’re doing and come up with the offsite project in a weekend. Also you will be required to do the most menial and humiliating tasks imaginable (tea making, bin emptying, photocopy machine wrestling), apart from when we get a work-experience teen in for bullying purposes.


Everyone dies.



  • Provide day-to-day administrative incompetence to the Administrator, who despite only being 8 years older than you, will talk to you as if you are a child.
  • Maintain the Business Diary. This is NOT a diary like your own secret diary where you write down every trauma you ever experience on an hourly basis (“Dear Diary, my period started today, and I’m a man!! FML”), but a diary where you write in appointments, meetings, schedules, doodles, and insulting messages to anyone who might peek into it.
  • Regale us with your oh-so “fascinating” stories
  • Surreptitiously look at Buzzfeed
  • Get beaten up by frogs
  • If you didn’t watch Broadchurch last night, we’re not fucking interested in you
  • Maintain and manage the digital archive, by updating files and backing up systems and not downloading porn and viruses, even though you’ll be damn tempted to
  • Maintain and manage the analogue archive by putting pieces of paper into cardboard folders and closing the drawer of the filing cabinet
  • Maintain and manage the physical archive by hammering sigils onto tablets and then burying them in the ground for future civilisations to discover
  • Maintain and manage the ephemeral archive by imagining files, and placing them in another dimension, in a crystal castle where everything is kept in order by the Sacred Priests of Noldor
  • Maintain the maintaining of the maintenance maintainer
  • Provide assistance in helping to aid others in collaborating
  • Liaise with the Marketing Shit, the IT Bellend, the Administration Bitch, the HR Cow, the Finance Prick, and the Board of Director Twats
  • Be the first point of contact on phone and email for all stupid enquiries
  • Keep secrets from colleagues
  • Find ways to “beat the system”
  • Get caught
  • Receive a bollocking
  • Join in engaging with light-hearted sexist banter
  • Get really offended by any banter concerning you
  • Make complaints
  • Be told to “man up and get back to work”, which if you think about it, is a bit sexist
  • Appeal
  • Have appeal brushed under the carpet
  • Receive a final written warning
  • Give up and go to the pub with colleagues
  • Drink far too much
  • Conduct affairs
  • Cover up affairs
  • Spend too long making tea and daydreaming


Business people
This photo is called “The League of Absolute Wankers”


We are looking for a dynamic, highly organised and self-motivated individual with outstanding abilities in organisation and administration. You’re not that person. You’re a bit inept, quite lazy, socially awkward, quite nervous, and not very enthusiastic about the role, but we fully expect you to use those work-related buzz-words in your Personal Statement on your application form. The ideal candidate will have at least two years’ experience in experiencing things, and must be prepared to enter what most proper adults refer to as “The Daily Grind”.

Right now, as you’re reading this, you’re feeling a bit anxious about the role, and maybe you’re wondering if Thingummy Wotsit would employ a sweaty, foul lump such as yourself. Given the choice, they wouldn’t, but throughout human history, millions of people have blagged their way into roles they are incapable of doing, and yet they have somehow thrived and achieved positions of responsibility.

You somehow need to summon up the bullish attitude we’re looking for, and in interview, we will tell you we’re looking for an individual (but we’re also looking for buzzwords such as “initiative”, “facilitate”, “co-imagineer”, “blue-sky thinking” and all that corporate fecal matter) and not someone who will read off a script. Someone who is prepared to think outside the box! And yet we’ll expect you to be as compliant as the average honey bee. Individualism is to be quashed in our New Corporate Order.


  • Be literate and numerate (talk wordy good, wryt propaz, do big clever sumz lol)
  • Speak Bocce like a second language
  • Must have own teeth
  • At least 17 years experience of working in an office with some right cunts
  • Be hygienic
  • Ability to obfuscate any incriminating data amongst reams and reams of spreadsheets
  • Be familiar with all standard computer packages, including Microsoft Worthless, Microsoft Excuse, Adobe Bootpolish, Adobe Moustache
  • Detailed knowledge of Management Systems. No, we don’t know what that means either. Perhaps you could tell us? We’d really like to know.
  • PhD in epidemiology, or similar
  • Column in The Sunday Times
  • Experience of Middle-East peace negotiations
  • Able to work with children and vulnerable adults without making inappropriate remarks or non-PC jokes
  • Must be able to make a good cup of tea
  • Have the love and pride of your parents
  • Have the audacity to question authority
  • Be experienced with…Nah, you know what? You might as well not bother. You’re not going to get this job, and if you apply, we won’t tell you if you’re unsuccessful


I’ve always wanted a headset, ever since I saw ‘Aliens’ aged 14. It’s a badass look.



  • Awww! Thanks for noticing!


(This is how we wrote it…):


Excellent communication skills including high‐level interpersonal skills. Excellent literacy and numeracy skills. Ability to juggle multiple priorities effectively. Resilience within a busy environment.  Ability to negotiate and for lateral thinking to resolve problems.  The ability to manage others fairly and calmly. The ability to work independently and as part of a team.

(…and this is how you read it):


You must have communication skills on a near-telepathic level, including higher levels of consciousness. Your literacy skills must be that of a Cambridge Professor of Emotive Poetics, and your numeracy skills must rival that of Stephen Hawking. You must be able to juggle a crushing workload with an overwhelming range of multiple crises – both personal and professional – at any given moment. You must be way more tactful than you really are, able to simultaneously negotiate your way out of an armed robbery and take a MENSA test without crying. You must be able to relate to other humans, even if they are powerfully smelly and obnoxious, and must have the patience of a saint to work with them. You must have the ability to work as part of a team, and not stomp off and sulk in a quiet corner somewhere. We know (because your mother told us) that you can be quite stupid and clumsy. This is why we write these Essential Skills bollocks, so that we weed out the pathetic wastes such as yourself, and you don’t waste our time in applying for jobs like these, you clattering bumfuck.


Essential In Reality
Perspective Demonstrates interest in the most effective and efficient running of the business and support for the creative team to deliver tasks Struggles to find enthusiasm for anything other than food or drink. Would often love to pull the duvet over my head and pretend the world doesn’t exist in my cushiony womb. Has to really work hard to have enthusiasm for myself, let alone a twatty company such as this
Managing information Actively extends the quality, relevance and distribution of information efficiently Garbled information being something of a speciality.
Solving problems Analyses and solves problems and makes timely and informed decisions Gets overwhelmed by simple problems. Tends to scream and run away from decision making throughout adult life. Struggled over the selection of my socks today, if I’m honest
Partnerships Promotes partnerships that exemplify good practice Promotes petty resentment of other partnerships to the detriment of all
Engaging and motivating Thinks and acts in ways that encourage others to participate willingly “I’m on my fucking fag break, and I don’t give a shit any more. Why should you? WHY SHOULD ANYONE??! This job, indeed this entire company, is an exercise in futility and will not leave a mark on this unhappy world!”
Team‐working Thinks about what the team need before they ask.
Grasp what makes team work well.
Insensitive, obstructive, prone to sulking until frustrated, and then a gamma-ray outburst of rage erupts, and I accuse everyone else of being appalling and of having no respect for me. Has no friends, doesn’t play well with other children.
Alignment, focus and planning Focuses on how their role can support others, on the needs of the company, decides priorities and how to achieve them Focuses on the need for another coffee break, hates the whole ethos of the company, can’t organise a ‘to-do’ list, and has an overflowing inbox full of meaningless crap
Communication Conveys information effectively and timely to internal and external people Grunts, sighs, forgets stuff, writes crappy post-its and fails to stick them on people’s desks. Doesn’t convey timely information, and results in the entire office wallowing in recriminatory crap for weeks on end with everyone blaming everyone else for my failure to mention a deadline.

(Note to self: my litany of failed relationships and friendships lie testament to my lack of communication skills and poor choices. But suck it up and blag, otherwise the slightest hint of this shit and I’ll be unemployed for millennia)

Change Embraces sound new initiatives while retaining relevant current approaches I am phobic about the concept of further development.

Hours of Work:

Monday to December. Holiday entitlement of 2 days off per annum, plus you’re demanded to work Bank Holidays and every time you have a family engagement or your child has something on at school that you need to attend.




Business people stand excited
The blood-sacrifice has been accepted!!



Applications should consist of a simpering covering letter and an Application Form.

Please send your application by email to by Jonsday 13st Thenuary at 14am.
Should you need to submit your application by post like a fucking Victorian, please mark the envelope CONFIDENTIAL, YEAH? DON’T READ THIS THEN, YOU NOSY PRICK and send it to:

Claire Microwave
The HR Cow
Thingummy Wotsit
5138008 Bumsnatch Road
Hell’s Business Park
Busy Busy Work Town

If you have an enquiry about the position, please email and we will ignore as soon as possible. Closing date for applications: Mopday 2th Wedtember 20013 at 42pm like we said up there. Did you read it? No you didn’t. READ IT AGAIN. You have 24 hours to comply by throwing together a panicked, badly formatted application form complete with a whole range of errors.


Interviews date to be advised shortly. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted by phone, email, smoke signal, telepathy and semaphore as soon as possible after the deadline purely on the basis of whether or not we like the cut of your jib. If you have not heard from us by Frugnesday 17.8th Crumgust, please assume that we have binned your application and we hate you.

NEXT WEEK: The covering letter you actually feel like writing


See what I mean? Headset mics make you look fucking awesome.


The Joy of Job-Seeking!

All Dads should be a hero. That’s the theory, anyway. Dads should be able to do stuff that makes their wives and children let out exhalations of wonder and respect when Daddy does stuff. A Dad should be able to do stuff that causes their wives and children to clasp their hands to their chests and breathe out “My hero!”.

I’m not talking about fighting off uncouth rival suitors for your wife’s hand, and battling monsters under your child’s bed – although Dads do that too, it’s just par for the course – I’m talking about the small things: Being able to get up at a seconds’ notice to soothe a crying child in the middle of the night; Putting up a garden fence; Driving the family single-handed across the entire country to reach a distant location, through rush hour and on into darkness, on a Friday evening; Plaster a wall; Light a fire; Invent some sort of life-hack for everyone; Write a song; Cooking an impressive meal.

Yeah, proper hero stuff.

Something that is not heroic, however, is being unemployed and being unable to find a job. This time, last year, I was in the midst of 18 months of unemployment (as it turned out), and it wasn’t funny.
It was self-inflicted in many ways. I was 12 years in a career I was beginning to seriously hate being in, so I quit. After a brief period working on a renovation project, I entered the actual world of the unemployed. I didn’t think I’d be unemployed for long. I thought that being in a 12-year career would give me transferable skills that employers would recognise. D’oh.

Unemployment sucks. It sucks elephant balls. There’s nothing worse than spending weeks scouring the job ads, spending hours tailoring CVs, application forms, and introductory letters, only to have your applications rejected. But what’s worse is when you do all that, and you hear NOTHING back. Nothing at all. I mean, you’d get an automated response acknowledging when you sent the application in, but it seemed to be impossible for companies to send a quick email – even a cut’n’paste one – to let people know that they were not successful in their job applications. Generic emails take seconds to compose, and could be sent to dozens of people in even less time. After all, they’ve already proved that they’ve got our email addresses.

I rather think that if companies specify in their job adverts that applicants be enthusiastic, dedicated, polite, courteous, smart, punctual, “going the extra mile” and articulate, they should demonstrate their expectations by being polite, courteous, and going the extra mile by sending me an email telling me that the application was unsuccessful. It strikes me as being rather rude. It wouldn’t have happened in the 1950s, when “things” were clearly “better”. If I was a Daily Mail reader, I’d blame political correctness, or health and safety, or “not telling it like it is”, or immigrants. That’s it! It’s all the immigrants’ fault!! Now I feel much better that I can blame my first-world problems on some hapless minority or other! Ah, so THAT’S how Daily Mail readers justify themselves and sleep soundly at night…

Because all unemployed dads look like this from the very moment they lose their jobs.

But it’s not so much the uncertainty of hearing nothing back, that you think about the job you applied for, and after three months think “oh well, I clearly didn’t get it” – no, that’s not the worst thing about it.

The worst thing is the thought that, because they didn’t reply, they probably didn’t read your application in the first place. You are left with the feeling that you are pissing into an empty void, and that nobody cares. This seems to be an increasingly common experience for people anyway, particularly in the howling vacuum of the internet. Hello howling vacuum!

And then you tell your wife and kid that no, you didn’t get a job today, and they sigh and soothe you. I’m incredibly lucky that my wife was supportive throughout – didn’t nag, didn’t throw massive guilt trips, or set ultimatums, didn’t put me down or humiliate me in front of other people, didn’t show signs of frustration. She was able to support the family while I looked for work. Also, the money from the renovated property kept me going.

I also did a few odd jobs for people – home decorating, a bit of transcription work, did some music for some theatre productions – so I wasn’t completely wallowing in depression. I did stuff, I worked, I got paid a bit.

But most of the time, I was wallowing in some way. And it’s not fun being unemployed, not after the euphoria of the first week. Spending hours on the computer, finding ways to make your CV more dazzling, is not fun.
Scouring job ads  and seeing descriptions for jobs you don’t *want* to do, but really *have to* apply for, is not fun.
Having the slowly dawning realisation that your last career of 12 years counts for sod-all in the post-financial-crisis job market is not fun.
Coming to the conclusion that you’ve wasted 12 years of your working life when your peers are earning double what you were, is not fun.
Realising that spending 12 years on a career that went nowhere means that whatever new career you have, you have to start from the very bottom is not fun.
Knowing that, in some cases, you’re applying for jobs that you (in your state of low self-esteem) believe you are not qualified enough, experienced enough, or suitable for anyway is not fun.
Realising that, as a man in your late-thirties, you are less-than-qualified to do jobs than your average 21-year-old is not fun.
Realising that in your late thirties, that’s it, you’re unemployable, and probably won’t have a shot at having a successful career in anything, and that they have moved on to the generation below is not fun.

Look at him. He’s got a job. Good for him. Man in job. “As it should be”. Not at home not working, oh no. He’s a big jobby worky man. And he’s pleased with it. Very pleased. Lucky man to have big worky-work busy job. Pleased are you? Happy with it? Nice job?? Yeah.

Being a proud man, but having to rely on your wife to support the family is not fun.
Realising that if you do get a new career, the chances are that by the time you reach retirement, you will not have saved up enough to have a comfortable pension is not fun.
Wondering if you’ll ever get a decent job with a good wage is not fun.
Waking up in the middle of the night – or just not getting to sleep in the first place – because you are fretting over not having a job is not fun
Going to bed having not filled in an application form that day, and having the guilt and feeling of failure gnaw at you is not fun.
Going to birthday parties with your kid, and having conversations with other parents, and those conversations turning to employment, and you having to explain that you’re not in work, and then having to discuss unemployment is not fun.
Having those conversations, and the response from the other person being (unintentionally) patronising is really not fun.
Being overly-conscious of the fact that you’re one of the few Dads on the school-run, and that you believe yourself to  look shabby and run-down and dejected is not fun.
Knowing that once you’ve dropped off the child, you’re back to the recruitment websites for three solid hours, is not fun.
Worrying about how other people perceive you as an unemployed man in his thirties is not fun.
Having rare moments when it all becomes a bit too overwhelming, and the darkness encroaches, and you find yourself having a quiet weep on the sofa, only for your child to overhear, and come in to find out why you’re crying is absolutely not fun.

And then, what does your sweet, kind, wonderful, loving child do? She soothes you. Like you sometimes soothe her in the dead of night, with every vile monster screaming at her from underneath the bed. She soothes you, and cuddles you, and you end up howling great gulping sobs into her, and she’s only 5 years old, and she cannot possibly understand why her father (heroic, strong, can put up fences in the back garden) is crying like another wounded child in the playground because he cannot get a job. That’s really not fun. Not fun at all. That is one of the most un-fun things ever.

I typed “unemployed dad” into Google Images and… well…

Some things about unemployment were great. The first week after I quit felt really liberating. I got time to write. I didn’t have to go to work in a shit office (although my ‘job’ was looking for work, which as you may have gathered, is not great). I was the Stay At Home Dad, which I absolutely loved being, and it’s only a shame I couldn’t get to be one permanently. I got to bond with our kid and watched her start school, and be there for her when she came home. People were very kind, and all sorts of people sent me job ads, or asked me to do odd jobs, or kept in touch to see how I was doing. It could have been a lot worse.

But then the reality of job-hunting – especially the reality of job hunting in the 21st century – would bite. There were some low points.

Like the time I talked to someone from a job agency on the phone, and I ended up feeling like I needed to have a shower. I felt soiled just talking to this woman, with her nasal voice, and her tired I’m-only-calling-you-to-make-up-the-numbers-I-don’t-actually-care. Her side of the conversation went something like this:

“It’s a tough job market at the moment”
(You don’t say)

“I think they were looking for someone with less family commitments”
(And prettier too, I imagine. Is that an age thing? Because discriminating against me on the basis of age is a no-no. Is it because I need child-friendly hours? Surely you people understand that parenting requires me to care for my child? I also have a beard. Does that mean the job you’re trying me out for wouldn’t go for my magnificent facial locks, despite the irony that I’d be working in a call centre and therefore unable to be seen? I could accuse them of pogonophobia, and then when they asked “wossat?” I can amuse myself by telling them it’s a fear of pogoes. Or pygmies. Or just anything I feel like telling them because they’re stupid cunts)

“They need someone with more experience”
(I’m experienced. You wanna know what experiences I’ve had?? Come here and I’ll show you. I’ve got a big long list of experiences that would be useful. Not that you’ll notice, of course…)

“No, I mean phone experience”
(I’ve used phones before. I’m using one now, how am I doing? Pretty well, huh?)

“What are you looking for? Admin work? To be honest, there aren’t many admin jobs at the moment”
(I get 30 adverts for admin jobs every day in my email inbox. Some of them are the same weekafter week. Either you are lying, or the adverts are lies. In either case, the job market is full of liars)

“So have you tried not being a workshy scrounger? Is that really your best suit? I mean, honestly? Can you operate an iron? Does your mother hate you that much? Do you normally smell like that? OK, well, that covers ‘experience’ then…”

“They want people with relevant experience”
(The jobs require that I be computer literate, have experience with Word, Outlook, and Excel, be good on the phone, and have 5 or more GCSEs. As both Leonard Cohen and George Michael once said – although not at the same time: “I’m your man!”. The Leonard Cohen reference is lost on you, isn’t it? Damn.)

“You need to be confident and outgoing and have attention to detail”
(Well, I’m not feeling it now, but I can fake it. Do you have any jobs for people who don’t feel like being outgoing today? Or any jobs that require people to be courteous and diligent but not be terribly confident? You insist on ‘attention to detail’, yet most job ads have several grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. Is it some sort of test? Because at some point, just to show my attention to detail, I’ll just apply by sending in a job ad with all the corrections, just to prove I’m better at writing job ads than people who supposedly have experience of writing job ads )

“Your CV shows that you’ve not had admin experience in 12 years”
(In the career I had, I self-administered, dealt with hundreds of people, created my own invoices, and corresponded with relevant client agencies. I arranged events, submitted funding proposals, and attended specialist training courses.  As a property developer, I did extensive research on the housing market, took training courses in plastering and decorating, controlled a tight budget, liaised with tradespeople, solicitors, surveryors, mortgage brokers, and estate agents – communicating by phone, email and letter.  In all this time, believe me, I’ve used Word, Outlook, and Excel a lot. Possibly more than you)

“I’m sorry, I think you need more admin experience”.
(Fuck you. Fuck you, and fuck you again. *click* <brrrrrrrrrrr>)

Boy, I wish I could have said all of those responses and more. I didn’t, of course. I mimsied and pacified as usual, because I wanted to appear willing and pliant and professional and stoic. And this was just for a job in a call centre that I didn’t even know I was up for in the first place. So why bother ringing me to tell me I was useless? What did that achieve, other than opening up a yawning chasm beneath me?

Sometimes I would get to the interview stage, and I’d dust off and iron my suit and shirt, and practice my answers, and research the company and the role, and then I’d get all worked up, and I’d go to the interview, get my hopes up, and then be rejected and have my hopes dashed, and then I’d take a deep breath and ask them (as you’re told to do on many job-seeking advice websites) for feedback on my interview and receive deafening silence in return.

“Well, we have been looking at your CV and we must ask you this: Why must you weave such a poorly constructed web of lies?”

Or even worse, what happened once was that I got to the interview stage, had an interview with a well-known company who advertise on the TV, and halfway through the interview I realised the company was a shower of shit, and the role required me to be a dishonest bastard to people who did not deserve to be shafted. Even though this was my first interview in months, and that I had nothing else coming up, I decided to sabotage the interview so that they wouldn’t end up hiring me, knowing that my wife would probably be furious if I told her the truth about how the interview went (I did, she wasn’t, she totally backed me up. I love my wife!)

The lowest point when dealing with recruiters or interviewers actually came very early on. At first, perhaps a bit naively, I did things the old-fashioned way. I got into my suit, prepared 20 or so detailed CVs, and went out into the centre of town early one morning, and visited all the job and recruitment agencies I could find. I expected that I would hand my CV into all of them, they would ask me a few questions, set me a few tests, see what my words-per-minute rate was, and then take my details and call me in a few weeks time. That’s how it was done fifteen years ago anyway.

Nope. Every place I went into told me, in so many words, that my twenties were a long time ago, and that both times and the recruitment industry had changed. No more walking in off the street. No more handing in CVs. You emailed them instead (impersonal, unmemorable, no means of getting an instant response, no face-to-face interaction, just an attachment to an email. The humans are dead…). No more tests. No more assessments. They read your CV, and if they deign you to be worthy, only then will they summon you for tests and assessment.

So why the fuck do all these recruitment agencies have these members of staff in expensive town-centre store-front offices hammering away on keyboards made of bullshit?

“We haven’t got any admin jobs at the moment, but if you check the website next week there might be something for you…”

They’re gatekeepers, that’s what they are: Gatekeepers Of JobWork. What else are they for? What are they typing on their computers? Why sit at desks?  Why have adverts outside saying “drop your CV in here TODAY!!”??!

The absolute nadir of this sorry mission came when, after six hours of being brushed out of the door without a CV being handed out, I went into one recruitment agency that had insistent and nagging music played over tinny speakers. At the front desk was a nightmare of fake tan, perm, eye make-up, and lime-green claw fingernails clack-clack-clacking on a computer keyboard.

Hi, I have a CV to give to you, my name is Danie-
Her [interrupting tersely]: “Just email it.”

She didn’t even look up.

At that point, I got a severe case of Fuckititis, gave up, went home, and started to feel very bitter.

Two years on from that incident, I’m employed with a large retail company. I have started at the bottom with a whole bunch of just-graduateds, on the shop floor. Pretty much everyone is younger than me. It’s a pay cut, but I like the working environment and the job itself, and they’re a good company who have already given me some opportunities, and I work with great people. I’m actually enjoying myself.

Being unemployed has left a scar that has affected everything I do. Being a parent helps to heal it. Two years on, and I’m coming to terms with it.

Yet more results from the “unemployed dad” image search. You win this round, Google Images…

Next week!: What a job description looks like when you’re depressed and lacking in self-esteem.