December 21, 2013

It's Christmas Time At The Job Network [Obligations Mutuelle: ep. 12]

When I visit the Job Network during the week (always a hoot), I meet a young man who could be the motivational turning point in my jobless career.

Ok. So he isn’t another Monsieur (insert deep, heavy sigh ...)
Although Monsieur, if you are following this, I simply cannot help quoting Tourism Australia's well-known commercial failure, “Where the bl**dy hell are you...Monsieur?"  I digress.

And ...for the sake of anonymity and a poor man-woman’s use of rhyming slang, I’ll call the Job Network’s newby on the block (who’s a bit of a stud really!)  -  my Mr Darcy.

That time of the month
I was at the agency for a regular monthly, compulsory “contact” appointment.
Having just come from a cut and blow dry at the hairdresser, I knew (for once) that I was looking très bon/shabby chic(?)  ...for a jobseeker of a certain age, that is.

Needing to shift 10 kilos - before a scheduled job interview  -  I avoid the lift, and bolt up the stairs to the agency on the third floor.

And, as I pause on the landing to catch breath, I notice that someone had made a half-hearted attempt, to cover over a kicked in wall.  Unfortunately, this does little to conceal the physical indentations, of some unknown, frustrated unemployee.  

C'est la vie.

Perhaps it was the mark of  Madame Absconder.  Perhaps not? 
And as I huffed and I puffed (why didn’t I just take the lift?), I couldn’t help thinking of those magnifique salad baguette days with Monsieur (particularly the spicy salami ones)  ....and that enduring last moment, when he did FINALLY let us eat cake (like NORMAL people)!
In pondering how Monsieur had made it the best of times and worst of times, for both himself and our petite classe of pathetique unemployables, I knew deep down – that for my own future career success (
et la santé mentale mon dieu!) - I simply HAD to forget him.

But medication, munching on Freddo Frogs, and watching Gérard Depardieu films - can only achieve, and satisfy so much.   
I knew it was time to go cold turkey on the French.
Not easy.
And instinctively, like a shihtzu after a possum in the night, I could not stop myself from peering around every corner of that job network office that day, hoping to spot a reinstated Monsieur - seated on the stair, or in the corridor -  speaking  into his mobile phone, in that exquisite French lingua (insert another deep, heavy sigh ....).
I recompose myself, and face up to the fact, that Monsieur’s French va va voom was well and truly extinguished from the building ...and, perhaps even the southern hemisphere?

So, it became business as usual, that day at joblessness central. In short, as depressingly boring as all get out.
When Sally got stuck in the lift with Harry Lecter
Weeks back, an unemployee from Monsieur’s classes, told me of the agency’s recent elevator malfunction.
Sally explained that the “mishap” occurred, when boarding the lift, with the Harry Potter
look-alike from our class. 
Harry was a nice kid really. Smart. Intuitive. Intelligent.
I’d employ him.
However, due to the combined visual effect of nerdy spectacles, and bizarre face jewellery (punctuating the centre, left and right sides of his bottom lip), young Harry’s image also unfortunately conjured up reflections of a nubile Hannibal Lecter.
No kidding.  But that’s fashion.  And I’m a dag.
And, considering that such fashion must take a high degree of courage to implant and maintain, I was surprised when Sally told me how (despite the tough Hannibal Lecter visage), poor Harry almost went psycho, during that 30 minute elevator internment.
I empathize with young Harry, on that horror of a day, when he met Sally in the lift  ....going nowhere.  For the Job Network’s elevator is one of those cramped and smelly structures - best described as being the size, and having the ambience(?) of a toilet cubicle. And, so only advisable - for short, solo trips.
Which is why the stairs work for me these days. I digress.
Enter Mr Darcy

So having made it to the Job Network’s reception, without heart failure en route (and cleansed of any thoughts for Monsieur), I ring the service bell. And as Mr Darcy peers through the doorway, and our eyes lock for the first time, I cannot help thinking: Have I seen this strapping,  fresh-faced, unblemished, specimen somewhere before?
He’s maybe late 20s? Early 30s? Even 40s with early botox?  Perhaps, but not likely. 
Ok, so he wasn’t quite Colin Firth (circa sopping wet jodphurs, and damp shirt phase).

However, further down the line, Mr Darcy, had the look, and winning Colgate smile of (if not a BBC period drama/Merchant Ivory film character), at least the potential to appear as a successful cast member in Home And Away, or even Neighbours!
He would have to start somewhere.
TV casting agents out there, where are you? For this man-boy, with those looks, and that cheesy smile, is so wasted in that agency.
But looks are deceptive. 
And as the dashing Mr Darcy, sits me down, opens my file, and flashes his sea blue eyes at me – I am immediately underwhelmed, when he introduces himself as “the employment nasty” – or did he say Nazi? (Too true dear reader).
But this man was no Lenny Henry, and in line with the Ken doll looks, a dreary grey flannel personality was evident.

The conversation
“So what kind of work are you after,” asks Mr Darcy.
 “I consider all options nowadays - from casual store-greeter opportunities, to tattooist ...and, even entry level chicken sexer positions are all ok with me,” I reply. "And, of course table top dancing, has not been ruled out. I reckon I'd be a hit in western suburbs seniors venues."

As Darcy's eyes glaze over (like an embellished Christmas ham, on high dose Mogadon), I cannot stop myself from telling him, why I'm thinking of learning belly dancing.
I know Mr Darcy doesn’t hear one word I say, looks through me as if I’m not there, and with cool efficiency, hands me a crisp new employment pathway plan.

Alors, où puis-je m'inscrire grand garçon!

There WAS good news

Darcy tells me that because of my woman of a certain age status, I'm exempt from the compulsory work experience other unemployables must attend.  And, he says that I am welcome to attend any other activities that arise. 

I humbly forgo the option to gain (online?), a Forklift Driver’s Certificate.

And as Mr Darcy taps away at his computer (probably just googling himself or searching for Julius Marlows), I wonder if I should ask him about the free gym memberships apparently offered to inter-state unemployables. Amazing. Although, I surmise THAT little incentive, could only have been a pre-GFC option.

And bad news

Mr Darcy then pulls no punches, when he tells me that, to ensure my compliance, he will meticulously comb through every job search report I hand in.

“Such a viscious streak for someone so young.” I quietly mumble.

“I’m sure you are a very nice lady too,” replies Darcy.

And so it is Christmas.

Back out in the street, in the real world, I hear the sound of Jingle Bells, and see a Santa – all alone –  reclining in his red velvety chair.

I take a selfie with Mr. Claus, and  email that selfie, along with my resume (as requested) to dear Mr Darcy.

That poor Mr Darcy. He so needs cheering up!

Anyone would think HE was unemployed.

C'est la vie.

Et joyeux noël Monsieur, où que vous soyez!

Image: flickr


  1. Never fear, dear Carmen. Mr Darcy turns out all right in the end.
    Wonderful article. Thankyou!



  2. I think Mr Darcy wandered into the wrong agency - his vocation sounds more like an officer from probation and parole.

  3. Aren't the people at these places completely heartless? I hate it. They need a lesson in decency and Mr. Darcy needs a lesson in at-ti-tude 101.