A bearded man with a bad haircut and a cheap watch sits at his desk pecking distractedly at his computer keyboard with one finger. Eventually he runs out of impetus and stops, gazing listlessly into space instead. On the other side of the room a tall man with his shirt hanging out meanders along behind the desks, pausing to join in a conversation with a couple of female colleagues by the window. Other employees sit at their desks tapping slowly at their PC’s, one’s on the phone, eased back in her chair and eyeing a light fitting suspiciously. I aim for the centre of the room and the primary coloured sofas where my in-mates look as though they’re a permanent fixture, I seem to be mixing with a different crowd since moving to weekly sign on. A smell of stale alcohol greets me as I take a seat amongst the throng and hold my signing on docket out in front of me willing one of the staff to take an interest and relieve me of it. For a government organisation claiming to be so desperately under resourced they’re doing an excellent job of hiding the pressure they’re apparently under.
A full fifteen minutes after arrival my card is plucked from me by a passing member of staff and within two more minutes my name is called. I’m summoned by a twenty-something singleton (you can just tell can’t you?) and I sit in front of her desk with my homework ready for marking. Have I applied for any jobs since last time? Yes, five actually. I reel them off. What sources of job searching have I been using? I reel those off too whilst idly considering making up placards to hold up instead of giving the same answers to the same questions week after week. That little charade over I sign on the dotted, my payment is processed, and I’m granted a swift escape. I can’t wait to get away.
Back home an email is awaiting me from BMW. It seems that when I was communicating with them a month or two ago my email address found its way onto their external address database and now every so often I’m mail shot a latest offer or news. Since I’m unlikely to be wanting to fund a brand new Bavarian uberwagon anytime soon I normally erase these with barely more than a cursory glance but as my finger goes for the delete key something catches my eye. This one is slightly different, it’s an invite to a corporate customer event they’re holding at a posh country club where they’ll wine and dine their customer base in the hope of flogging a car or two. An idea forms and I hit “reply” to the invite instead.
Although the original email was ostensibly from the dealer manager the return address is to a lady who’s presumably been tasked with the job of collating and dealing with all the replies. No good talking to her, I delete her email address, seek out the manager’s from our earlier communication and paste it in. Then I compose a polite email suggesting that since I’m still seeking gainful employment in the motor trade I’m sadly not target audience, however would he be in need of an extra body to help staff the event? Happy to do whatever is required from customer handling to simply helping prep and look after the demo cars they’ll have there. I finish with a slightly cheeky line suggesting I’ll even work for free in return for a drive of a new Z4 35i, it doesn’t hurt to radiate a little product enthusiasm but it’s not all flim flam, I really would like a drive of one and would work a day for free to get it. Then I close by saying I hope he’s still bearing me in mind for any future sales positions, wish him well, sign off and send. It’ll probably come to nothing but it doesn’t hurt to pop up on the radar of the decision makers, costs me nothing and could even lead to something, who knows? Nothing ventured nothing gained.
That done and sent I have a last cast around the job sites and retire from my office for the rest of the afternoon. It’s all too easy to spend too long glued to the screen in forlorn hope and can eventually lead to “snow blindness” whereby jobs get missed as I become mesmerised by the sheer scale of the task. Best to make a concentrated search first thing, a sweep later in the day and leave it at that in my opinion.