Other Side of the Mirror: The job hunter

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By : Bikram Vohra

I get the feeling that job ads are more soaked with human emotions than the news columns.

There is prejudice for one, heaps of it. If you are over 35 you need not apply. What is this fascination with the figure 35? As if at 36 a person crumples like soggy cardboard. Seeing as how you are productive until 60, why not 45? You would still have 15 good years in your tank.

After all, if anyone stays that long in a company, the odds are he isn’t exactly the Zorro of the sales team.

I believe companies that cancel out applications because they are over 35 are grossly misled into believing that youth comes with magic potions, not that anyone particularly cares what I believe.

Then there is the intrigue. Salary commensurate with experience and ability. Thanks a lot. First, you don’t want the experience, now you are squaring out the pay packet according to the notches in the belt.

Talk about Catch 22s. Besides, there is, this word, `commensurate’, that no one really understands. It is a corporate copout. Commensurate with whose yardstick, will someone please tell us that.

There are lashings of false hope. “We are looking for a person who will lead the team up the hill, to greater glory, greater heights and greater victories in a company that is unchallenged for its forward thinking, progressive ideals and passion for innovation.”

Oh yes, so how come if you have this ambience, you have to advertise for a crummy middle level job.
Isn’t anyone there progressive enough to climb a couple of feet up the hill?

The deceit comes next. Plenty of perks. Sure, but are they stunted little perks or big, fat juicy ones.

It is the order of perkdom that there exists a chasm of credibility between what is stated and what transpires. The catch is always in ‘suitable accommodation’. Suitable by whose standards? There is a great difference between a villa on the beach and sharing room with attached bath for two.

Job ads also come marinated in hope. Are you ambitious? No, I just love filling in forms. Are you looking for the big break that could change your life?

Nah, I just love filling in forms.

And let’s not forget strategy. Do you want to grow with us?

Nice way of saying that we are a one-horse outfit working out of a refurbished garage.

Do you have drive?

Can we exploit your talent at cheap rates to get out of the garage?

I love that bit about `looking for a challenge’? That’s the best camouflage for a second rate job offer where they cannot find anyone foolish enough to slot into it.

Job ads occasionally engage in doublespeak. We are looking for the right man.

What have you been doing all these years? Getting the wrong men? Who would put an ad saying that they are looking for a wrong man anyway, not that it wouldn’t be a turn for the books.

There is mobility, too. Would you like to travel? Of course. Not club class to Paris but door to door, except that part isn’t in the ad.

I suspect, and this has nothing to do with being over 35, that most of these ads have no sanctity (rather like the news) and the vacancies have already been filled by the corporate president’s second cousin’s idiot son.

To my mind they make fascinating reading. The only other ad I have enjoyed more was placed in a classified marital column.

It read: Boy returned from States, wishes” to marry and take up farming. Caste, color, creed of girl no bar. No dowry, only one tractor. Send photograph of tractor.

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