Last week I went out for birthday drinks for a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in months and months and months. Yes, it was a long old time. So long, in fact, that it had totally bypassed me that he had quit his not-much-loved job in PR to follow his dream of working as a scriptwriter. Now, coming from a similar situation, I was full of support for his brave move, particularly at this ‘time of great economic uncertainty’ (oh, how I hate that phrase, it’s been bandied about so much, if it didn’t serve a purpose here, I wouldn’t even repeat it). His decision certainly had a stick-a-finger-up-to-the-man feel about it, and said friend was looking far happier and more relaxed than the last time I’d seen him.
Anyway, like me, he is currently seeking out new employment, but sort of struggling with the fact that – no surprises here – there are NO JOBS in this godforsaken country. And if there are, you either have to be willing to be paid nothing – no, not a penny – to do them and/ or there are approximately far-too-many-to-count other applicants for one single role. It hardly makes it worth your while filling out the endless forms in the first place. But, you do what you gotta do…
So, there I was this morning, with a blooming temperature and all, trudging through yet another form, but this time for a job I actually really liked the sound of. It wasn’t a ‘what-the-hell-I’ll-apply-anyway-even-though-it’s-not-really-my-forte’ role, it was a good’un. I should have heard the warning sirens a mile away as I took a five-minute break and flicked on the old Facebook. My job-hunting friend was apparently online, too. We said hello, had a little chat about setting him up a meeting with a media mate of mine who might be able to help him… and then, horror of horrors, inadvertently discovered we were both in the middle of applying for exactly the same job.
Silence. Then a bit of banter, followed by me sitting staring at the supporting statement section of the application, thinking ‘Is there any point me even carrying on? I’m deluding myself here. Even my very well-qualified friends are now fighting me for a job.’ Well, you know what they say: know your enemy. Oooh, sounds dark, right? Perhaps enemy is the wrong word – competition may be a better choice. And yes, maybe it is a cliche, but this old adage has some truth to it. I mean, if by some insanely slight chance we both get asked to interview, I can use my knowledge about him to my advantage. Watch out fella, ‘cause you’re getting locked into your house/ losing your Oyster card/ having your interview clothes held hostage by the dry cleaner/* something along those lines on the day of potential interview. Now, with that evil plot sorted, all I need to worry about is the rest of the jobhunting horde… Hmmm. Wish me luck, yeah?!
* My lovely scriptwriting friend, you know that in reality I would never do this to you, right?! Screenwiper position is allll yours.