Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Archive for July, 2008

An Update. Of sorts.

by Suzanne on July 5th, 2008

Self-portrait May 2008 | Screenprinted Godspeed You! Black Emperor patch by Alex

DISCLAIMER: This is an entry of highly personal nature, the attempt to find an answer to those who showed concern and deserve to know what's going on with me. Yes, it's about me feeling utterly sorry for myself, and yes, there will be plenty of whining and complaining and pretending that I'm the only intelligent, unemployed foreigner in the UK. So if you intend to make me feel even lower, go ahead, but maybe keep in mind that comments often reveal more about the commentator than the actual issue commented on. This is my blog and writing about these issues is actually therapeutic for me.

So here's what's been happening: Nothing. Well, not really, but the result is all the same.

I sent out 400+ applications to date of which only 5 resulted in job interviews and 0 in actual employment. Which throws me right back to where I started. At Luton airport with a suitcase way too heavy and important looking for me.

I'm disappointed by the blatant lack of people skills in the potential employers I've met so far and frustrated about not being offered a chance to apply all my talents at last despite excelling at job interviews and constantly being congratulated on my skills.

So after 7 months of unemployment (for the record: I've never been and never will be on the dole), I have finally reached financial ruin and a psychological all-time low. I've come to feel so utterly useless and worthless that I've recently started asking myself why I even bother getting up every single day, spending entire days checking job offers, sending out applications, only to be disappointed over and over again. So while my self-esteem is shattered, my stress level has increased dramatically. I get panic attacks, I suffer from insomnia, sinus tachycardia, hyperacusis, phantom pains, spontaneous rashes and weight loss. All of which affects my self-esteem again. I guess that's what you call a vicious circle.

However, after recently being told at an "informal" job interview in North London (that's how they call it these days when they want you to spend your inexistent money on train and tube tickets only to chat with you because they find you "interesting") that even doctorate holders apply for unpaid internships at galleries and museums in the City now, I've pretty much lost faith in ever finding a job in the field I have such a vast knowledge of and passion for and instead started applying to pretty much anything apart from telesales and escorting back in May, but I'm fully aware that I'll soon have to open these fields too if I don't want to be forced to leave this country. At least I'm not deaf/fat & ugly and I think I have enough self-irony not to have much of a problem with being reduced to only these three ex-negativo assets if it pays the rent. Or maybe having reached a point where I seriously consider these options just shows how desperate I 've become. I don't know. I don't care.

In the past few months, I've been confronted with so much unprofessionalism, incapacity and irresponsibility, often combined with an alarming inability to communicate that it makes The Office look like a highly competitive company run by an ingenious tycoon.

Being shortlisted for jobs and then simply not hearing back from employers seems to be the standard in the art industry and even after successful job interviews, no-one bothers to get in touch with you to let you know that they don't need you after all or that the position is no longer available.

I think the experience that triggered this blog post, however, is the barefaced dilettantism a company showed me the other day (or do I really just originate from a clockwork country where everything always seems to work smoothly. Too smoothly?). An almost grotesque situation which for a second gave me the impression I was actually sitting in Pauline Campbell-Jones' classroom, disbelievingly staring at my hand clutching one of her beloved pens. Yes, I get this "how the hell did I ever end up here?" feeling an awful lot these days. And I'm still not used to it. I don't ever want to get used to it.

After being considered for the role of a German game tester/translator, I've been invited to sit a test to assess my knowledge of the German language (errm.. it's like.. my native language and I'm a feared grammar nazi and etymology nerd, but m-kay, let's get it tested anyway...). However, the test never took place and to this moment, no-one has even bothered to tell me exactly what happened there and then. You couldn't make this stuff up. If a director is interested in filming a documentary about my job hunting, please do get in touch. The plot's highly entertaining. At least for the audience.

So here I am, asking myself what kind of country would refuse to give an extremely devoted, talented and hard-working person even an unpaid job? Is it the same country that treats academic (!) asylum seekers like chessmen or are we all just not trying hard enough? At any rate, trust me, dear reader, I thank the Old Ones every rainy evening and with every single bite I take that I had the - globally & politically speaking - deeply random luck that Schengen somehow made it possible for me to have a roof over my head and just about enough money to eat properly. Yes, I feel fortunate and grateful, but worthless and unwelcome at the same time. I can't help it.

All I ask for is a chance to prove myself and for someone to take the risk of hiring someone without a BA but with a whole lot of enthusiasm, responsibility and experience instead. A risk, I promise (and proved to all my past employers), will be more than recompensed.

So once again, I reach out to you to kindly get in touch with me if you live in the Brighton-London area and need someone to do all sorts of work for you and I'll send you my CV and testimonials. I thank you for your attention and encouragement.

Maybe today is a good day.