Job Hunting ’s No Joke!

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Representative Photo



I don’t know if you have ever attended a job interview, but I can assure you that, at least for me, it is a frightening experience. I am a chronic interview-attender for the simple reason that for the last so many years I have been without luck on the job front. It is certainly miserable to be unemployed and to watch every morning from my window the procession of fresh-faced office-goers, hurrying on scooter and on foot to earn their daily bread.

I vividly remember my first interview. There I was in freshly-laundered shirt and trousers and matching tie, with feet trembling inside new socks and shoes. The ad had said: “Wanted: Development Officers for our Established Chit Fund Company”. I hadn’t a clue as to what chit funds were or what a development officer was expected to do. My heart sank when I saw that there were 15-odd young men and women besides me who were called; worse, most of them looked smarter, more well-qualified and self-assured than I. I ducked into the bathroom to take a cold, hard look at myself in the mirror. A ferret-faced fellow with outsize glasses, worn-out tie and ridiculous hairstyle stared back at me. Gosh!  What an idiot I looked!

The long morning wore on and I got nervouser and sweatier as one by one my self-confident rivals were called in, and came out looking smug and very satisfied with them-selves. I knew I was as good as gone. Finally, my name was announced. But where was Mr.Ramdas? He had grabbed his folder, scurried down the stairs and ran on to the street in sheer terror!

Not long after that traumatic non-interview came the actual time I brought my application to its logical conclusion. Once again, I sat nervously amongst a group of neatly-dressed candidates who had self-assurance and success stamped all over them. It was with great difficulty that I quelled the rising tide of fear and apprehension within me.

But I stuck it out and sat there waiting for the dreaded call. And come it did. I got up on shaky feet, gulped hard and shuffled forward with ashen face, the very picture of despondency and defeatism. As I walked into the room, five stern pairs of eyes froze me in my tracks. “Sit down, Mr.Ramdas,” commanded a hard-edged voice. Then followed a barrage of probing questions that left me completely shattered. Why did I get low marks in B.A.? Why was I poor in English and Mathematics in Class 12? How was I a suitable candidate for the job? (I had no answer for that one.) Why didn’t I have a single distinction in studies, games or other activities?

Finally, I was released from the torture chamber. I was by now a total wreck, absolutely drained of any vestige of worth or self-esteem. I literally crawled out, looking every inch a lowly worm. That was years ago. Now, I am no longer that overawed by those ruthless know-alls across the table. And I still plod on, applying for any every job, even if it offers a meager salary. I have long ago given up fond dreams of a five-figure salary; all I thirst for is a chance to earn a modicum of respect from my family members and friends. Clerk or executive or even trainee-journalist, I take a pot-shot at every opening waiting to be filled. For, beggars can’t be choosers, and I‘ve been a particularly unfortunate beggar whose bowl remains empty of all alms.

Utterly fed up in my trials, I even thought of venturing into self-employment. But what can a graying graduate with a third class hope to achieve on his own? Somewhere along the way, I got married too and my wife now outdoes the rest of my family in berating me for being a good-for-nothing who is perpetually shunned by prospective employers. The other day, the lowest point of my career as fulltime unemployed unfortunate was reached. At my last interview, one of the questioners asked me incredulously, “Didn’t you apply six years ago for this very post? Have you been unemployed all this while?” I felt so ashamed, so worthless that I wished the ground under me would open up and swallow me the very instant!

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