The world of work

It’s been a while since I was out in the market looking for work. But something happened this week that reminded me of my temp days, working for agencies, looking for something permanent.

Here’s an example of a typical prospective job conversation I would have with someone from an agency.

Hi Michelle, it’s Kate/Amanda here from Xxx agency. I’ve had a great job opportunity come in that I think you’d be perfect for.

(The agency staff always had names like Kate and Amanda. Agencies must have been a hiring rule about it.)

Me: Great! What’s the job?

K/A: It’s working for a really lovely team in financial services the City. The offices are ah-may-zing, they’ve just been done up, they’re so nice.

Me: Sure, but what does the job involve?

K/A: Oh, you know, just the usual team support role. But the team is really young, really buzzy. It’s a real work hard play hard environment.

(Does anyone promote the idea of work hard play hard as a good thing these days? To me the full phrase should be ‘work hard play hard get financially stretched develop mental health problems’. Because that’s what work hard play hard implies to me. I quite like the idea of work hard and then go home.)

Me: Where is it based, and what’s the salary?

K/A: Oh, it’s in the City, standard working hours and quite a good salary package that includes the option for a season ticket loan. And the new offices have a fabulous cafeteria on site.

(Information point: most City employers (including my current one) offer a season ticket loan to their employees because the cost of commuting in London is so expensive. So this is not something exceptional that other employers don’t offer.)

Me: Umm??

K/A Right, so can I put your CV forward for this role? I see from your CV you’ve got all the relevant experience they’re looking for and I think this would be a good match for you.

Me: Umm, OK, sure.

But relevant experience for what? You didn’t give me any tangible details about the job. I don’t know the name of the firm, it’s location, what the team does, what the salary is, what the hours are… in fact nothing that would help me decide if I was seriously interested in this job or not apart from the lovely offices and cafeteria. And when I’m looking for a new job, the loveliness of the offices are not top of my list for assessing my potential for any new job.

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