Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Have you ever heard "McJob" used in a derogatory fashion, to indicate a job that requires no qualifications and no skills? How about "stacking shelves" referring to those in a supermarket, intended to put across the same meaning?

Because I couldn't do either of those jobs. I'd be fired within a week - or, if the McDonalds or Tescos or wherever was very desperate, shouted at and complained at and certainly not, like most of my uni friends who have worked in customer service for a while, promoted.

I'd have to consistently understand what strangers said, over a great deal of background noise. I'd have to have reasonable personal organisation. I'd have to be able to remember several simple instructions at once. I'd have to consistently be able to speak, in an appropriate tone of voice, wearing the appropriate facial expressions, or my management would get complaints.

Customer service is one of the few sectors in which one can reliably get temporary jobs. I've sometimes considered doctoring my CV - to remove all my qualifications, so I could begin a "simple" customer service job on the understanding that I have mild mental retardation. Then, perhaps, my behaviour would be accepted. But... I'd still be a student, and they'd have to know that to organise my hours.

Now, all those As and 100%s tell people that, if I act like I'm retarded, I must be doing it on purpose - being annoying, being lazy, being rude, being purposefully dense. Especially as, sometimes, I'll "snap out of it" and give someone five thousand rapid words on philosophy, human evolution, queer theory, Victorian novels... or even tell a relevant joke or anecdote (a joke or anecdote I'm desperately hoping is relevant).

Anyway, this is procrastination before a trawl through the university's jobs website. There might only be one non-customer-service temporary job in the whole city... but it's got to exist, hasn't it?



Battybattybats said...

Thats a really good and important post!

I have serveral friends who work in such jobs that hate the jobs with a passion. Finding wearing the false cheery smile as they are faced with the rudest of humanity (people seem to think its ok to be terribly rude to customer service operators) tremendously difficult.

But as your post shows the job they find difficult to endure would be far harder for you on a practical level.

I absolutely hear what your saying about invisible disability too! As I don't 'look sick' people take me for just exceptionally calm and confidant and aloof rather than painfully exhausted and as I have a reasonable vocabulary and speak on complex and unusual subjects they don't see the cognitive struggles I face when I have to run my head over maths which once I was good at. And when my symptoms are bad and I get overly wordy, unable to stay concise and simple or my spelling and typing get worse they get indignant or critical over it.

Good luck with the job hunting! And its good to read a new post from you too :)

Sarah said...

I'm really not looking forward to the summer job hunt as well.

Not only is my town dead, but being forced to be cheery for 8 hours makes me super un-cheery for any of the time I'm off. Which sucks.