Thursday, 24 November 2016

Getting canned

Hi everyone,

I had the interview at the cannery today.

Probably unwisely, I wasn't feeling over-positive about it on the drive in: I had the distinct expectation that I'd get there and discover that I was too old, too inexperienced in factory work, and too overqualified to be considered.  Thanks for coming in, but please don't let the door hit you in the arse on the way out, because this is a food processing facility and we don't want your arse contaminating our door.  I had low expectations.

The location itself was the cannery's main facility in town.  They must have been in operation, because the air smelled like boiling fruit.  Imagine the smell of warm jam and you'll just about have it.  This was OK until I saw some of the competition arriving: bright energetic things twenty years younger than me.  I put my game face on - the expressionless one that says "I know you're about to hit me.  Get on with it: I have other things to do today".

The interviews were refreshingly free of cant.  The first person asked why I wanted to work for the company.  I said it was because I was unemployed and they were hiring, and I need to eat.  Could I do such-and-such physical work?  Yes, I could.  Could I understand work health and safety?  Well, in a past life I was a workers' compensation lawyer, so yes.  I noted that she wrote that last detail down.  I'm pretty sure that will snooker me: any employer will hear "workers' compensation lawyer" and think "troublemaker".

The interview with the people from the local technical college (who provide the employer's basic training) was surreal for both them and me.  They put an enrolment form in front of me and guided me through it on the apparent assumption I was more or less illiterate.
Them: Put your name here ... and your address here ... and can you read that paragraph?  Good.  How far did you get in school?
Me: Year Twelve
Them: And what year was that?
Me: 1995
Them: (Somewhat patronizingly) Wow - you didn't even have to think about it!
Me: No.
Them: And have you done any other training since then?
Me: Er yes, I have.
Them: What was that?
Me: Bachelor of Arts with Honours and Bachelor of Laws.

The rest of the interview included a number of slightly acidic references to "your legal brain".

That was all that was needed today.  In theory I go back next week for induction and basic training although I'm expecting an email or phone call before then suggesting I get lost.  Like the army, even desperate employers have no need to hire an odd lot

No more for now: more tomorrow.

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