Posted in dealing with unemployment

Should Fake Work be this Stressful?

This is where I question whether a power suit and a sharpie can fix everything

My two fake bosses want to have a fake meeting with me and I’m nervous, really nervous. I’ve had knots in my stomach for days mainly because I’ve no idea what the hell the meeting is for.

But I know they’re expecting something from me. One of them keeps coming over and reminding me about it and asking about my overall objectives and where I am in my tactical plan for the company.

So far I’ve come up with this:

  • Overall objective- to complete 6 weeks work placement without getting fired.
  • Indicators- that I’ve accomplished this will be when I don’t have to come in anymore.
  • Tactics-turn up everyday until I no longer have to.

I’m wondering if that would look better in a word document.

I’m tempted to go for the Allen Gregory approach in which case I will need

  1. White Board with a large and small circle drawn on it
  2. Long pointing stick ( the kind teachers used to use)
  3. A power suit (Dallas style-lose the perm but keep the shoulder pads)

Without saying a word I’ll get up and point to the large circle with the stick and say

this is all the money in the world and this

(pointing to other circle)

is your business

( Back to bigger circle) ‘AND THIS IS WHAT WE’RE GOING TO ACHIEVE‘.

Obviously I’ll really need to sell it at the end there. Maybe introduce music.

So 5. Bring power ballad CD



I’m starting a revolution

I’ve been inspired by ‘The Happy Pears’ food revolution, I mean not enough to get off my arse and make a sufficient change in the world but enough to open my computer up and type a few words. My revolution is updating interview questions to those that actually get to the core of a human and here’s the first in my series:

Do you believe having a dog is:

(a) Exactly like having kids

(b) More challenging than having kids

(c) Similar to having kids in a potato, gnocchi kind of a way

or (d) Nothing like having kids because your dead inside

Posted in dealing with unemployment

Blending in

Inanimate objects never live, yet at the same time live forever – Brett Shandler


I have a fake job for a few weeks or a “WORK PLACEMENT”  as they like to call it in the biz. I’ve come to realise that work placement is the name they give to work experience when they feel the person undertaking it, is on the mature side. A revelation that resulted in a bottle of wine being drunk and some tears being shed and while I’m not entirely sure the wine wouldn’t have been drunk anyway the tears, the tears are on them.

“I’m encouraging my co-workers not to grow attached or to feed me scraps from the lunch room”

Fake work, I’ve come to discover is a lot like real work except without the pay or dignity. I’ve done a few of these over the years so I know the drill. You’re a bit like a stray dog who’s allowed to stay until its real owner turns up. So I’m encouraging my co-workers not to grow attached or to feed me scraps from the lunch room. I know how damn lovable I can be plus once you feed me there’ll be no getting rid of me, just ask any of the sample givers in Supervalu.

So far I’ve completed three weeks of my designated six and I believe I’m making quite the impression. The boss has taken to regularly not noticing I exist in any shape or form. He appears quite startled anytime he accidentally meets me in the break room. and says things like ‘Oh I didn’t know you were in’ or  ‘I didn’t like that picture you put up’. I of course play along as though I know exactly what picture he’s talking about or even where the hell I put it up. The other day he asked my co-worker if I’d been in that day which was a little disconcerting as I was sitting three feet away on the showroom floor at the time. It also offended me that he hadn’t noticed the four Instagram followers I had gained that day, granted I had lost one by close of business. But three out of four ain’t bad especially when you’re doing a rather good impression of an inanimate object.




Posted in Back to the beginning

Who Am I muddy puddle on side of road?

I need to create an online identity. Prospective employers don’t trust people who haven’t an online presence or so I’m told. Apparently nobody’s told prospective employers about the risks of the computers one day rising up and killing us all. I’ll be sure and mention it in the job interview. Step one is deciding the version of me I want to put across. I didn’t realise I could create a version of me. The real me up to now has been such a disappointment that I’m rather looking forward to meeting the cleaned up virtual version. I wonder if she’ll be taller or will be less exhausted. I’m certain this version doesn’t have to worry about getting her car started in the mornings or whether her brain is still functioning in a somewhat useful capacity.

As it turns out constructing a virtual identity is as stressful as going through the witness protection programme. Only there’s no helpful case worker to fill out the forms for you. No you’re on your own for this one kid. First there’s the stress of your new name do you want everyone to know it’s you or do you want to be like a ghost writer hidden in the wind. As it happens my original choice had already been taken as had all 199 versions of it so instead I shortened my own name! Okay not a great start but I remained confident. After all this isn’t me this is ‘virtual’ me. The she that cannot be conquered.  Next came the choosing of the template, a layout and design that best represent what you want your blog to say. I wanted mine to say I live a kooky, quirky passion filled life and am successful in all my personal and professional endeavours. But all those templates cost money so instead I went for a purple one that looked like it wouldn’t be too taxing to manoeuvre around.

By this stage I was quite exhausted. Being an ideal version of yourself is hard and despite my best efforts the naturally lazy version seemed to be seeping in. I know I’ll focus on the content I’ll write something life affirming and upbeat. ‘If I build it they will come’. So I wrote and I wrote, version upon version, paragraph upon paragraph but everything just seemed so………so……. Me.  After my tenth version of trying to introduce my ideal self, I decided to save it and comeback later once I’d treated myself to a whole lot of chocolate. However instead of saving to draft, I accidentally published my nonsensical ramblings on the web. I had revealed myself to the world wide web. Don’t look at me internet I’m a MONSTER!  I spent the next twenty minutes scrambling around trying to undo what I’d done and delete the ugly virtual version of myself. I finally finished up, with a headache, an identity crisis and a hope that maybe tomorrows version will be computer literate.

Posted in dealing with unemployment

Sleepless in Dublin/La La land

Apparently me and Jennifer Garner are having difficulty sleeping. The only difference is hers is a result of separating from her movie star husband whilst mine is a repercussion of sleeping in until 2 o’clock every day because I have nothing better to do but Hey potato, tomato I say. Either way I like the idea of her watching awful late night television like me. I wonder does she too enjoy the mesmorising effect of E! where the flashing lights lull you into a cross between zoned out consciousness and an epileptic fit. I find the egotistic ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ particularly good at turning me into one of those aliens off ‘Toy Story’. Every so often I let out an OOOOOHHHH and a ‘Kris is my master now’.  I like the way it allows my brain concentrate on more important issues than job seeking like, ‘just where is Bora Bora?’ or ‘If I had to be stuck on an Arran Island with one, which Kardashian would I prefer?’. I pretty sure I’d pick Scott. I’ve always thought he was a hop, skip and a jump away from going all American Psycho and I’d take that blood bath any day over a conversation with Kim.

Anyway during one of my late night session me and no doubt Jennifer came across an episode that was, dare I say it, particularly thought provoking. And while I don’t have the sophisticated tools needed to eloquently describe the narrative of a ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ episode. I’ll give it a shot in the dark, in the hope that you too may gain some wisdom in your life or Kardashdom if you will.

So Kris the manager/manager/manager, had forgotten how much she liked to play tennis so makes the decision to start playing again. This apparently requires a film crew to be present while she announces this decision to Kim, Kourt and Khloe. And to be fair I’m glad the camera crew were there because what happened next was unbelievable! Basically the 3 K’s laughed, get this, in Kris’s face. I mean that woman is practically like family to them. So Kris because of this doesn’t want to play tennis anymore because she felt stupid and not just because she was wearing a full tennis outfit complete with head and wrist sweatbands at the time. No, it was because they were insensitive to her feelings. Anyway somehow the girls managed to work this out in between working half an hour a month in their own stores and apologised to her. Which was lovely and the episode ended with the girls watching Kris playing tennis for ten seconds before being handsomely paid for their efforts. So basically the life lesson here is that Bora, Bora is is a small island northwest of Tahiti in the French Polynesia. YOUR WELCOME.



Posted in dealing with unemployment

I lost myself to Terminal 2

My ‘perfect version of me’ got on the bus the other day. I almost missed her after all you don’t expect that sort of thing to happen on Gardiner street. But there she was, The enviable seasoned traveller I’ve always wanted to be. A person unafraid to stay in a hostel and share a communal bathroom. The type of person who doesn’t require a months research on travel adviser before booking a weekend away in Cork. Oh how I envy her type Even her outfit oozed a coolness that only comes from a Summer spent building huts for orphans in some remote area. She had on an Aztec orange skirt with worn hiking boots and thick woolly socks and she somehow managed to look as though she’d just stepped off a vogue travel shoot in between casting calls. She had with her this perfectly sized blue backpack the kind that didn’t hit people in the face whenever you moved or required an apology because it took up a seat reserved for elderly people. No this bag was manageable and effortless just like her. I realised our bus was beginning to near the airport and I found myself panicking. She’s going to get off and go somewhere amazing and I’m not and then it occurred to me. Maybe I could beg this complete stranger to take me with her? I mean sure it might be awkward for a few moments but then perhaps she was in the market for a travelling bestie or yearned for a conversational companion. I mean I wasn’t naive I knew I’d probably have to sell her on the idea. I figured I could start off by telling her about my jewellery making experience and how I felt certain I could finance our entire trip by selling beaded necklaces on exotic beaches to people who appreciate the abstract if she could just see her way to paying for my first plane ticket. If she was at all hesitant I would bring up my 2 weeks training in dance and I assumed once she heard I knew all the steps to Michael Jackson’s Thriller, well lets just say I felt pretty confident what her response would be. But before I’d even finished wording my speech in my head she was gone. The ‘traveling version of me’ had gotten off the bus. I lost her to terminal 2, along with her air of knowing exactly where she’s heading. Still at leased I’ll always have my beaded necklace empire.

image courtesy of the brilliant Steve Heath, check out the rest of his images at
info about his licensing

Posted in Back to the beginning, dealing with unemployment, Other peoples view on the recession

What is the point of this powerpoint? I never asked

I was summoned to the ‘Fake Fas’ office the other day. They’d moved to a new building which seems to be causing much confusion amongst the people of North Dublin. As the whole way there I’m met by a series of buildings with signs outside saying they are ‘not’ the new employment office. Eventually I spot a couple of men with pads and pens and figured I was heading in the right direction plus I realised I really should have brought a pad and a pen. I’m beginning to think my damn tiny handbag is holding me back.  This is the second time it’s left me ill- prepared. As I enter the new office, a case worker is outside giving a prep talk to a teenager. I wonder why I’ve never been given a prep talk. I respond quite well to that kind of ‘softly, softly, catchy monkey approach’. It’s why I stayed so long in band practice even though I never got to play an instrument. I spent a year practicing blowing into a bottle for the flute that never came.

Inside I spot a lot of people filling out clip boards which turn out to be updating our employment history. At this stage mine resembles a mind map and a haunting reminder of employment past. Soon we are led into a small room. Inside I can’t help but think of the x-factor audition stage where there are two rooms and one gets all excited and screams because they’ve made it through and the other room is sad and depressing because they’ve been told they’re the losers and have to go home now. This is like the latter except there was no anticipation beforehand or ‘lifelong’ friends made. There are however awkward shuffling and careful consideration to not sit beside anybody.

On each chair lies a hand-out and it soon becomes apparent that the hand-outs are print outs of the power-point the woman is going to read off word for word for the next twenty-two minutes. I know its twenty-two minutes because a man kindly announces this to us at the beginning or as he puts it ‘around twenty-two minutes’. Which leads me to believe he’s off for around a twenty-two minute coffee break? The woman giving the talk clearly lost the coin toss and does not look happy about it. At the end of reading the powerpoint/hand-outs verbatim, she announces ‘well if nobody has any questions, I’ll see you at your meetings’. Nobody dares raise their hand; we’ve all been in the game long enough to know a rhetorical question when we hear it. Besides none of us want to get onto her radar, there’s only so many times one can get out of bed before 11 before being unemployed resembles working.

Posted in dealing with unemployment, the real deal with unemployment

There was an old lady…….

I saw a job advertised the other day and thought I know this job, I could be good at this job. I felt certain this was the one for me and I know what you’re thinking, it’s not like the other times, I swear. This one’s for real, I can feel it. I went over my entire job history. Putting down anything that resembled what they were looking for. I felt like Keanu Reeves at the beginning of the Matrix when he was waiting for that mysterious man at the door with the two pills or in my case a missed call from an unknown number. By the time I’d finished with the application I was mentally exhausted. Reading people’s mind is not as easy as Darren Brown makes it out to be. And then I read you could send in a C.V. as well. Does that mean they want a CV or they don’t want one? That would require more hours of work and basically repeating what I put on the application form. But maybe that’s their screening process.

Maybe anybody who doesn’t send in a CV is instantly pushed aside as being lazy for not having enough gumption. Do I have Gumption? Do they want gumption? I decided to just send my precious application with no CV. Perhaps ballsy is what they’re looking for more. Perhaps they want me to read between the lines after all why have an application if they in fact want a CV. I’m finally ready to send the application when it occurs me what do I do about the essential cover letter. Do I just put it in the email? Do I attach a separate cover letter which of course means I would also need an attention grabbing email to lead them to the cover letter that brings them to the precious application? I don’t know why she swallowed the fly perhaps she’ll die. I finally email it in. I set it free. I felt certain it loved me enough to come to me. I handed it over to the gods or at least a man named Derek in small caps. I felt relieved. I had agonised over this for a week and a half and finally I had my evening back to enjoy.  Call me Derek for the love of all that is Holy call me or at the very least send me a rejection email.