I have been interfacing with the recruitment consultants on the telephone.
Some are calling to tell me off for swearing in the cv, some to say variations of ‘that was very nice Benedict but there are no jobs here for you’. Most recruitment consultants, though, are calling because they are curious. They want to see that I’m not plain crazy. I had one such call from a bewildered-but-abidingly-professional lady who spent six minutes of our lives trying to work out what it was that I thought I was doing before I asked whether or she was contractually obliged to call me (a question from my own well of curiosity and asked in all earnestness). The question provoked in her the kind of reaction excited in an android when you ask it what love is. She hung up. I hope she is ok.
So but I didn’t want all of these conversations to pass us by.
I made notes today.*
I had a call at about 16:41.
It came from a real life number and it went like this:
No name**: Hello is that Benedict?
No name: Thank you for your time.
Thank you for your time?
My voice rose in that last sentence like bubbles in lemonade.
Very short, very confusing, the call.
Well easy to annotate.
Then, at 17:01, this from a NO NUMBER:
Peter: Hello is that Benedict?
Yes, speaking? (I always say ‘speaking’ as if I’m asking a question. I’ve never been sure if I were asserting that yes, it is I speaking or if it was an abbreviation of who is speaking?‘ perhaps we could use this space as a forum to clear that up)
Peter: Hello Benedict, my name is Peter, I’m calling from ————- recruitment agency. How are you?
Yeah fine, um, I’m at work.
Peter: Oh – are you alright to talk?
Yeah, uh, the first floor toilet is clean, now, and I did the second floor toilets yesterday so, yeah, how long are we going to be?
Peter: Five minutes?
Five minutes, yeah that sounds alright.
Peter: So I’ve been looking through your CV.
Peter: And I was wondering what kind of roles you were looking for.
What role did I apply for with you – sorry I’ve applied for a lot of jobs.
Peter: Pensions Administrator.
Peter: Not really.
Peter: So what kind of roles are you looking for?
Do you have any fulfilling roles?
Peter: What do you mean?
Well I was thinking: you’ve looked through my cv haven’t you Peter, sorry it is Peter isn’t it?
Well and so I thought maybe you might have an idea what I ‘d be suitable for.
Peter: It’s a joke.
It’s a joke?
Peter: I can’t put you forward for any roles
Peter: It’s a joke.
Then why have you rung me Peter?
Peter: To tell you that your CV is a joke. Its a joke CV isn’t it?
Well actually there’s only one joke in it, I slipped it into the ‘fact and figures’ section, the ‘age at which I was 100% sure I had passed puberty’ do you remember? that one was a joke but the rest is all true.
Peter: It’s an absolute joke.
You don’t like it?
Peter: It’s awful.
Ok then so how about some constructive criticism – which bits should I change?
Peter: All of it.
All of it?
Peter: All of it.
What about the testimonials?
Facts and figures?
Extra Curricular Pursuits?
You’re going to say shocking to all of it aren’t you Peter?
So with the CV as it is you’ve got nothing for me?
Nothing at all?
Peter: (thinks)… Well I’ll just have a look.
Peter: Where do you live?
———-, But I’m willing to go where the work is!
Peter: Would you move to ———-?
Some of my best friends live in ———-!
Peter: Right, I might have something temporary for you. Hold on…
(Suspiciously long silence)
Peter: Yes, it’s a temp thing, it’s only for six weeks?
Ok, what is it?
Peter: Dancing around in a Mr. Blobby costume.
In a Mr. Blobby costume?
Peter: In a Mr. Blobby costume.
Alright then, how much does it pay?
Peter: Five pounds an hour.
Five pounds an hour?
Peter you’re a recruitment consultant there’s not a job on earth you could legally sell for five pounds.
Peter: Ok seven pounds an hour.
I’m relocating here though – that’s hardly a relocating figure now is it?
Peter: I’m sorry then I’ve got nothing for you.
Peter: Ok, We’ve got your details on file.
You’ve got my email right?
Peter: Yeah we’ve got your everything on file.
Ok then Peter, well…
I finished saying ‘ well have a nice evening’ but Peter never heard that because Peter had hung up.
And so today I turned down a job. And in another, more realistic way, I did not.
Nothing from the I.T. folder.
Nothing from Danniii.
* The conversations follow as closely as memory and notes (scrawled in the white alleys of newspaper pages) allow. Obviously there is a measure of trust involved here, on your part, and since we’re only three posts in and I’ve not even told you my surname or invited you round for dinner I’m kind of asking something of you when you have asked literally nothing of me and I’m sorry about that. Also, I’m obviously out to make myself look loads better than Peter and you should probably give him, rather than me, the benefit of the doubt if you have any. Doubt. He is probably a ‘really good guy’.
On to four?