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August 26, 2004

Sarcastic unemployed person: Job hunt "going great"

By Ross Thomas

Unemployed person Ross Thomas, 27, was being sarcastic earlier today when he described his job-hunting efforts as "going great."

"No, seriously. Everywhere I apply I'm accepted immediately," he said. "I've got employers climbing over each other. I feel sorry for them, it's kinda degrading."

Thomas, who's been searching in vain for journalism jobs in his area for over a year, came close to actually getting a job several months ago when he made it to the second-round interview stage for an editor-in-chief position at a local university's student newspaper.

"In the end I just wasn't what they were looking for," he said sarcastically. "They wanted someone with experience in running a student newspaper, as well as possessing Linux system administration skills -- an unusual combination. My skill set (running a student newspaper and administering Linux systems) clearly didn't gel with their requirements."

Two days ago Thomas lowered his expectations significantly and applied for a full-time position at a nearby computer store, where he would be expected to deal with customers and build computers.

"I'm not surprised they've not got back to me yet," he said with a hint of sarcasm. "Even though I have over 20 years of experience with computers and have built at least half a dozen systems from scratch, they'd naturally want to consider the other, far less qualified, candidates too."

But Thomas is determined not to let the disappointments make him bitter.

"I'm determined not to let the disappointments make me bitter," he said in a tone of bitter disappointment. "It's their goddamn loss."

Thomas said he will call the computer store tomorrow to "follow up" on his application, and that if he is ultimately rejected he'll visit the local employment centre to obtain the telephone numbers of the city's various fast-food outlets.

"Working at McDonald's won't be so bad," he said, a single tear trickling down his cheek. "If Hunter S Thompson can write a masterpiece on going to a motorcycle race in Las Vegas, and James Joyce can spin an acclaimed novel from a single day in the life of one man, I'm sure I can use it for inspiration in my own writing."

Thomas denies that he has an inflated opinion of his value to employers.

"Look, it's not like I compare myself to James Joyce or Hunter S Thompson, or Alan Turing or Linus Torvalds," he said. "And anyway, Auden used to write copy for the Post Office. And I wouldn't call my life a 'catalogue of failures,' either. So shut the hell up."

Though his prospects are grim, Thomas retains a cheery outlook on life.

"Did Alan Turing despair when things didn't go his way? No. Did Linus Torvalds throw in the towel in the early days of Linux, when making it into a viable operating system seemed like a pipe dream? He did not," he noted. "And I'm quite similar to both those guys. So I'm going to retain a cheery outlook on life even though my prospects are grim."

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