The CV must be changed!

On Friday I left my job at the Lion arts centre.  Alongside having to make a small edit to the CV this also means that I’m down to the scraps I make caretaking and they’re hardly enough to keep me in the cigarettes-and-coffee lifestyle I spent the last nineteen years cultivating.

Once more with urgency:

I need a job.

The people of the Lion have spent the last six months with me – know my skill set, know my capacities – and so are an obvious avenue into the world of work.  This morning I wrote to all twenty six of them:

I got the job at Lion centre as part of the Future Jobs Fund (FJF) –  a rehabilitation project to get the terminally-unemployed* back to work.  Sounds exciting doesn’t it: Future Jobs Fund?  Sounds like lasers and rocket ships to the moon and exciting.


You’re farmed out on a six month, minimum wage, full time placement to an institution that has promised the FJF that it cares about the development of your skills but is really only concerned that you move the chairs when required and stay otherwise still and quiet.

And so but as part of the FJF we had to attend training sessions that covered jobhunting and interview skills and CV writing and which were so utterly and bitterly condescending as to constitute a finger in the eye of the human race as a whole.  You did things like roleplay characters whose plights are supposed to strike a chord with your own – so you’re a drunk teen-mother with bats in her attic.  Or else a recovering heroin addict whose mother’s merciless haranguing has driven him so deep inside himself that his only way of communicating with the doctors is by modulating the timbre of noise his grinding teeth make.  We played a Barclays’ boardgame about how not to bankrupt yourself on shoes, sticking cardboard purchases to raceless-everyman-nothing “Daryl” and then talking the group through what “Daryl” had bought (pornography and gleaming set of knives) and whether he could afford it (no).

  • Irrelevant power point presentations with incomprehensible clipart?  Check.
  • 1-10 charts to spread your unique and vivacious ‘character’ over?  Check.
  • Trainer reading out words like ‘exciting’ ‘fulfilling’ and ‘positive’ like she was literally wondering which method was the least painful because tonight was the fucking night?  Check.

The sessions on CVs covered things like which way to hold the pen, when to breathe out, and are to thank in large part for the composition of my current CV.  Though the thing that led to me actually sending it to employers happened at the Lion.

I cracked one day at the Lion.

It was very simple: a deputy manager sat watching me lug speaker equipment to and fro.  When I was done and had sat back down at the desk he got up and lumbered over and he said ‘Benedict I have a job for you – I need thirty chairs and five tables in the studio’ and from out of my mouth whistled,

‘I’ve got a better idea: why don’t you do it?’

A few falsetto refusals later he asked ‘do you like your job Benedict?’ and the reality of it clicked into place and I was able to say with composure and what felt like a weight of years off my shoulders,

‘I do not’

And ever since then I’ve not quite been the same.  And I can say what I like to this morass of people who insist that I’ve got to say what they want me to say.  It’s a small thing.  It’s a tiny nothing rebellion in the big wide world of Everything and flies in snake-belly low on the scale of importance.  But it feels good, reader.  And whatever this is, if it works or if it doesn’t get me a fulfilling job or whatever at least for a few months I have felt free.

It is a dear and precious feeling.

So yes, out goes the CV and thanks to the Lion and thanks to the FJF.

I.T. folder, Danniii, Peter, Janice – not a peep. **


*The terminally-unemployed.  So to qualify for the FJF you had to have been unemployed for at least six months.  The programme was coming to an end and I slipped in under the radar, as it were, since I was still visiting the job centre because the scraps I get caretaking are very small scraps.  The programme assumed that you were straight out of school, desolate, dejected, and addicted to at least one thing.   I fit a good chunk of this description.

**Apologies for the tone, I will be returning to LOL emails imminently.

On to seven?

  1. #1 by Ant Innit on August 1, 2011 - 12:58 pm

    the best post yet! 😀

  2. #2 by bibs on August 1, 2011 - 6:41 pm

    Liking this a lot, Ben really making me chuckle. I listened to you on 106.1 Rock Radio or whatever it was. The guy interviewing you sounded like John Barrowman…………it wasn’t was it?

  3. #3 by james on August 2, 2011 - 2:19 pm

    take care of yourself mate, your fighting the good fight for all us cowards

    • #4 by curriculum vitiate on August 4, 2011 - 9:44 am

      Thanks James!

      There are all kinds of bravery. One of the braveries is to just take it like a man.

      Godspeed x x x

  4. #5 by Liam on December 5, 2011 - 12:19 am

    Thank you very much for this post! I finished a Future Jobs Fund position position a couple of months ago and had to attend ‘Goals’ training sessions, which consisted entirely of patronising lectures on positive thinking, workbooks that looked as though they’d been made for 6 year-olds and Spandau Ballet soundtracked meditation sessions. Although the job itself was luckily quite enjoyable these ‘sessions’ drove me insane, and its a pleasure to see them captured so perfectly! Best of luck x

  5. #6 by Anna on December 7, 2011 - 3:39 pm

    Hello! I love your blog! I wish I had managed to write something similarly entertaining while I was unemployed! I am now sort of unemployed while ,masquerading as a ‘convalescing invalid’ and ‘freelance writer/actress/model’ depending on the day. No actually I am all those things…including the invalid part at the moment sigh! I am thinking of writing a book! We should write one together, a handbook for the unemployed but a cool one! Lol. Is that possible? We could try!
    I adored your comments about the FJF. I narrowly escaped it! I was offered two jobs from it but also got a ‘proper’ job offer in no way related to any ‘help’ from the job centre (would love to hear your erudite observations about the particular circle of hell that is the job centre!) but that turned out to lead to possibly the worst place of employment everrrrr!
    Anyway just wanted to say hi and you are hilarious and fabulous!

  6. #7 by Ben on February 20, 2012 - 9:46 pm

    fucking love it. yes yes yes! keep speaking the truth

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