Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

January 21, 2014

Post-interview crash

Filed under: news of the day,workin for the man — Tags: , , — lexifab @ 3:28 pm

Yesterday I went to my first job interview in six years. At least I think that’s what it was.

Following up on the idea that I should eschew money, free time and a healthy back and knees free of crippling muscular pain, I talked yesterday to a pimping agency that places apprentices with relevent companies (builders and tradies, in the case of my preferred vocation).

To say that it’s been a while since I did an interview for a private sector job is a bit of an understatement. It’s been at least twenty years, and that’s far enough back that specific details of how I got previous jobs are hazy, if not wholly reconstructed from lost data. The thing is, I can’t remember the process being so…chatty.

The employer – let’s call her M because it’s her initial – is the sole ACT agent for a company headquartered in Sydney. So, I dunno, maybe she doesn’t get to talk to many people face to face (or at least not many people who are not 17 years old and looking for a sparky’s ticket).

But, man, that was some chat. The state of the ACT economy, the state of the public service, the state of the local trades industry, Canberra’s variable weather (equipment-meltingly hot except when it’s brain-freezingly cold), the complexities of work health and safety laws versus the rude simplicity of not getting killed on the job, the dizzying array of TAFE courses available… On occasions it strayed close to the business of becoming an employee [1] but mostly it just seemed to be an exercise in me impressing upon her that I was serious about wanting to be a (very) mature-age chippie.

M did her best to put me off the whole idea. The hours will be long. The pay will be minimal. The work will be back-breaking and exhausting. For the first six to twelve months I will be a burden and a liability for the foreman and everyone around me, all of whom will likely be fifteen to twenty years younger than me.

I’ll admit that the hours are going to be the biggest obstruction. It will be hard to coordinate doing my part to help with the kids if I have to be on-site at seven in the morning and won’t finish my work day until after school finishes. And I’ll probably lose most of my Saturdays. And, and, and…

In the end I’m not sure if I’m put off or not. If it were just me, I think I could stomach the financial hit. I know I could grunt out the physical stress, once I got past the body horror of being confronted with the fact that I no longer have the strength and stamina of an eighteen (even the structurally unprepossessing eighteen year old that I used to be).

M was not one to close the door without opening a dim and possibly dangerous secret passage though. She suggested some other options I hadn’t considered that move me towards my goal, more in line with my prior experience and less bodily demanding. I’m not sure if they’re really what I want to do – the hands-on part of carpentry is the aspect of my plans that has the most appeal – but she’s given me a lot to think about.

As we shook hands and thanked each other for our time, I did wonder whether I was under serious consideration or not. I know that I didn’t come away with that familiar, dreaded sensation of having botched the interview and made a laughing stock of myself. On the other hand, I didn’t walk out contemplating an offer either. I didn’t expect to. I didn’t know what to expect.

It was fun though. It looks as though the years have smoothed off some of the spiky bits I’ve always experienced with job interviews. And by ‘spiky bits’ I mean of course ‘utter, shaking terror’. I reckon I might be willing to do it again.

What I will do next is still an academic question. Until my current employer decides whether it wants me or not (or at least until my employer gets around to telling me what it wants) I won’t consider taking another job. But it sure would be nice to have something lined up just in case.

The search continues…

[1] One such moment was when M quietly mentioned the salary range for first-year apprentices, which is roughly one-half of what I get paid at the moment. That’s actually a bit better than I was expecting, but of course it also comes with a forty hour week and regular somewhat-mandatory overtime.

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