To work or not to work (in Culture), that is my question

Editorial Articles Sep 01, 2014 No Comments

Here we are in September and, lucky we, it is the second “start of the year” (scholar year… even if we are no more in scholar system, it’s appear that September still stays an important month of starts). This period of the year is an exciting moment (it’s true that after all the parties, dinners, bottles and chocolate, January starts no so energyfull…): back to school, back to hopes and… back to work! But this is true only when you have a (paid) job! And in a society where “work” has a so huge significance, when find a job is like find the Graal (definitely the Indiana Jones way, not the funny and agreeable Monty Python meaning!) -to not talk about a job in our field of expertise for which one we did so many years of studies or apprenticeship?!-, how do we do?

You could say that I am very concerned by the question of “work” and the non-work in this cultural webzine but I feel that it is not normal to talk about what feels a unemployed person (who first search a job, then ask for a job and finally desperately beg for a job) but do you have any idea of what really is to search a job?
1) find jobs offers: of course, job boards exist for this but they are so many and often it is important to search on the companies websites themselves,
2) select them: there are always these three questions “I know this in theory, what about reality?”, “it’s not a job for my expertise but I have knowledge to do it so..?” (between this or nothing, I prefer to apply!) and the last but awful question “do I have any chance?”
3) apply to them: man! Your British job boards are so awful with all the boxes to fill and never attached one document (that is actually your CV!) and the cover letter, the more depressive thing to do in life! How motivating to write how much we are the best soldier for this job! How motivating to write how deep will be our experience to work for your so amazing company! It is especially motivating to spend so long time on these applications as we perfectly know that they will not be read but filter by computer programmes to calculate the number of “buzz/bullshit bingo words” and that’s why I find that this “exercise” is just degrading in regarding of the time we spent and all the hopes we put inside of these applications and the so short interest recruiters give to them!
4) wait for an answer which is generally a no-answer (understand the totally absence of answer) because now, recruiters have found a more inhuman solution to treat applicants: waiting!

“If you have not been contacted within 5 weeks, please assume you have not been shortlisted.”
“Please note that non xxx vacancies are administered by our clients only, therefore, If the client wishes to call you for an interview etc., they will be in touch with you directly and not through xxxRecruitmentxxx.”

Job seekers are truly courageous persons to bear so bad treatments but keep hopes and energy to carry on, in spite of deceptions, bad feeling caused by the situation, financial problems because of no paid work and despite the society (and peers) pressure.

But sometimes, these job seekers are resigned to change lanes. I don’t speak about people who takes a “temporary job” and hopes to find the good job after that but the ones who are just fed up to wait, to be so badly considered, to stay as supine in front of their own life, projects and future that has to be built. Be clear, I am not saying that change is not a good thing but there is a difference to change after a period and never had the chance to work in the field for which one we studied, we waited before going in the “job market” to be more prepared to finally return to studies to find another work!

I had the real luck to follow studies that I loved and allowed me to understand my surrounded world in one of the most famous schools in the world. Thanks to the French state, this College is a state one and the fees are almost the same than in a Parisian university; I didn’t have to begin a mortgage even before work to know how I have to. This is a real chance and I know how privileged I was in regarding your so expensive fees in Britain (and what saying in front of the American ones?!). But the is result is no paid job these last three years since my last diploma. And the more sad in it is that I am not the one! Actually, I asked to my School fellows and it seems that the Ecole du Louvre formed more teachers than curators (and a lot of job seekers!). So, certainly there is a deep problem about the number of highly formed students in regarding of the real needs and that some fields are more restrained than others but if we talk about Culture, the number of apprenticeships and volunteering offers is really high, tourism and visits represent an important amount of money and art is more and more present and “consumed” by audience so what…?! Why this situation where cultural structures need professionals but they are rejected to other spheres? Be clear: I don’t say “all sold” but how can we bear this?

Helene Herniou

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