Hire me?

To whom it may concern,

I wish to apply for the customer experience prodigal employee 2.0 position as recently advertised on all of the job seeking websites ever created.

By now, you must have slogged through a mire of underqualified, blow their own arse trumpet job applications and hoping against hope that my application can be placed in the ‘can interview without a police escort present’ pile.  That’s entirely up to you.  Personally I would hire me without the interview, but that may be narcissistic bias.

Old people love me.  Well, they love my smile.  A smile gets you everywhere, they say. I am in complete agreement as I have never failed to get a job once I meet with an employer in person.  Unfortunately, I cannot use my smile on you without being deemed a ‘stalker’, so I have to utilise my impressive communication skills to convince you that I will not cause your company to implode.  Luckily for you, your company could be run by chimps and still bring in a steady cash flow.  I am quite certain I would bring in even more cash, as I don’t have the tendency to fling my own poop at people.  I can also speak English good, so no worries that I won’t be able to help your customers with their concerns.

I have a Bachelor in Environmental Science and a dual diploma in Conservation and Land Management/Sustainability.  Don’t worry though, I won’t be leaving your company for a career in the industry.  After over three years of volunteer work I have yet to receive a single contract.  Turns out rich people pay to do what I studied six years to do.  It’s time to accept the fact that a degree stands for nothing in the modern age and I am, in fact, actually only qualified to work in administration or retail.

This is where you are in luck, my friend and future employer.  In order to maintain my extreme university lifestyle I worked the shit kicker jobs.  I can guarantee that I have already dealt with whatever crap your customer cares to fling.  I will deal with that crap with the smarmiest of smiles and assure the chimp that their concerns are legitimate.  I will personally ensure that they leave your store with fond memories of the girl who would pull the sun closer so that their day shines just a little brighter.  You will gain more wealth by taking me into your employment.

Because let’s be realistic, it’s all about money.  I want to earn a living.  So do you.  Does it matter that I don’t give a diddly fuck about what you’re selling?  No.  What matters is that I can pretend that your product is the best thing since cavemen discovered sliced bread.

Remember, I know what you’re going through.  You are praying that someday hell will have a spot available so you can leave this shit hole of a place for greener pastures.  It is my greatest wish that you do not look back upon this moment and regret passing up on a great opportunity.  I can get you into hell.  No strings attached.

I hope that this application is sufficient for the position and I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Kate Turville

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Developing characters through eavesdropping.

Everyone eavesdrops.  It’s human nature.  If anyone ever tells you they don’t, they’re a filthy liar.  We all need to know what our fellow humans are discussing in their private conversations.  It makes life interesting.  However, writers must take it to the next level.

For writers, eavesdropping isn’t an occasional sport, it’s part of the job.  Many writers, when interviewed, will admit to using outside influences when developing their characters.  It’s the rare writer that can pull a fully three-dimensional character straight out of their enviable imagination.  For the rest of us chumps, there’s the art of eavesdropping and people watching.

I was watching the perfect basis for a character on the train the other day.  She was an overly positive, religious hipster who blessed a man’s broken foot before riding off on her merry way once the train reached her station.  You know you’ve got an interesting person on the train when all the passengers are staring openly, books and phones forgotten.  Stick her in your book and hopefully you’ll have your readers glued to her naïve optimism as she faces endless obstacles.  They’ll just be waiting for her to snap.

Even snippets of conversation caught as you walk past people can become the basis for a character.  On a holiday at the beach, I walked past two surfers discussing their friend’s misfortune the night before:

‘He lost $100 to a game of rock-paper-scissors last night,’ one said.
‘What, again?’ said the other.

Not in a million years could I come up with something so ridiculous.  The notion that someone made a bet on a child’s game more than once captured my imagination.  Who was this errant potential surfer who thought this was a good idea?  Was there some underground rock-paper-scissors gambling ring operating under my very nose?  Or was he just a drunk guy with a spare $100?  The possibilities were endless.  Marijuana was probably involved.

Before you know it, this snippet of conversation has created a drug-crazed deviant with horrible money handling skills and a penchant for children’s games.  His gambling problems have caused strain in the family home and he is facing being kicked off the couch.  Not only that, but his drug use has caused him to constantly see a dog-sized talking mouse wherever he goes who keeps urging him to pop children’s balloons.  His friends are starting to think that his muttering and shaking may not be a prank like they originally thought.  They think he’s suffering from dehydration.  Probably from all the salt water when he surfs.  They’re putting out a petition to have a drinking fountain put in at the beach.  But he more likely needs to go see a doctor.  Unfortunately he lives in a remote town and the closest doctor is a thousand kilometres-

Are you still reading this?  Shouldn’t you be eavesdropping?

The ultimate validation as a writer

This Christmas, I believe I may have discovered and received the ultimate validation as a writer.  It may not be what you expect…

Henceforth, I will no longer consider published work as the only success a person can achieve as a writer.  Sure, it’s fantastic to be published, making truckloads of money or having a readership of a billion people, but what percentage of writers ever actually achieve this?  I’m bringing some much needed realism to my dreams and taking enjoyment out of the smaller things when it comes to writing.

My epiphany isn’t what I received for Christmas, however.  I’m not a character out of a Charles Dickens book.  Rather than being transported through space and time, I received a gift from my partner.  Fairly common practice really.  This year though, he gave me a computer.  Specifically for my writing.  VALIDATION RECEIVED.

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It also has a big screen because I’m blind.

How so, you ask?  Someone close to me is finally convinced that what I’m choosing to do is worthwhile.  Someone else believes in me.  For any writer, this must be an occasion to celebrate.  We are too used to the slight condescension and confusion by our friends and family.  Why are you writing?  Why can’t you come see me and don’t tell me you’re writing again because that is not an excuse.  It’s not like it’s a job or something.

Most people can’t get past the belief that writing is just a hobby, that it should only be done in spare time.  So when someone steps up and acknowledges the passion driving what you’ve been doing for years, it definitely is a success story.  I’m grateful to have the partner I do and I hope this isn’t just a way to stop me interrupting his own passion: the Xbox.

Who am I kidding?  The Xbox is his one true love.

Back in Black…

Corporate black that is.

That’s right, I the infinitely jobless Kate Turville, have finally managed to wrangle a job.  It took six months, but that’s what happens in an uncertain climate.  I’ve ended up somewhere I never expected to be: the city.  I am now one in the masses that make their way into that jungle of skyscrapers and coffee houses to squint at a computer behind a desk for hours on end.  I don’t mind it as much as I expected, besides the constant body odour on public transport, being shoved every which way walking down the street, and the ever present feeling of guilt as I walk past the homeless with their hands outstretched.  Yep, I’m a corporate.

But that’s not the reason I’ve vanished from the blogosphere for the last month and a half.  That has to do with a certain Xbox One eating our data limit and trouble trying to switch to a company that will give us unlimited data.  But now I’m back and very much happy to be here.  I just have to flex my writing muscles a little.  They’ve diminished to the size of a pea and seem content to stay that size.  Will power is key here.

To all my loyal friends and followers, I’m sorry for the silence and hope to make it up to you one post at a time.  It’s not too late is it?  I’ll bake you cookies… 🙂

Is bribery for loyalty illegal?

Parodies are the Devil

I didn’t intend to start liking this song.  I hated it purely out of principle.  Then the parodies came out and I enjoyed them.  I listened to them far too many times and started to get addicted to the beat.  And now I like the song.  Can you love and hate a song at the same time?

The Educational(?) Version

The Offensive(?) Version

What do you think of these music parodies?

Update on Epic Writing Session Sequence

Word Count: 2318

Initiate Epic Writing Session Sequence

I have just under twelve hours all to myself today.  So what am I going to do with it?  Spend time outside?

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Stuff that.

Please.  I’m that close to finishing my story that I’m planting my arse in this here chair and writing.  Nothing less than a meteorite hitting my laptop will stop me from smashing out the words today.  I’ve even got the fuel to keep me going.

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Much healthy. So heart attack.

Wish me luck!

Word count: ZERO

Workplace harrassment is the pits

Gather around kids, I have two stories to tell you today.  After reading William Lloyd’s intimate post about his bullying experiences, I decided to add my own.  Luckily I was never bullied in school, but out in the work force is a completely different story.

The Girls from Hell

There I was, a fresh-faced 14 years and 9 month old starting out on my first day of my first job.  I had met the boss and he was a lovely man, instantly putting my overly anxious self at ease.  So it was with only the faint sensation of nausea that I walked into the café for my first shift.

The boss wasn’t there.  A giggling group of three girls were.  I walked up to them, all knocky-kneed and trembling, to introduce myself.

One looked at me with faint disgust and asked, ‘What school do you go to?’

‘Ah, CLC.  You know, Catholic Ladies’ College,’ I replied, well aware that outside schools called us ‘Catholic Lesbians College’.

She screwed up her nose, her mouth twisted and she said, ‘Oh,’ before turning back to the group, effectively shutting me out.

So began a year of being pushed around to do all the work, being ignored when I spoke and laughed at when I did anything wrong.  It was a shame that the boss only worked during the week.  I worked Sundays with those girls.  They tried to get me fired four times.  Once for working too slow  I was told I needed to polish the chair legs and metal on the table until my face shone back at me.  That takes a few hours when they are caked in grime.  Another time for eating a sausage roll out of the warmer.  The girls told me I could eat anything I wanted, which they did also, but they neglected to tell me not to do it in front of the boss.  In fact they told me the boss was okay with it.  Third time they said I was bullying them.  Should have punched them in the face for that one.  Lastly, apparently I was taking money from the till.  Please, I’m way too much of a pansy to do that.

When I finally quit, they replaced me with another CLC girl and when I came back to return my uniform, the boss was working.

I thought it was odd to see him on a Sunday, until he asked, ‘Did those girls ever pick on you?  It’s just that, the other girl from CLC has complained.’

‘Of course not,’ I said and walked out of the café, trying not to notice the new girl standing hunched over the bench as though she were protecting herself from the other girls, who were standing around laughing.

Biggest regret of my life.  I left that girl to deal with what I had endured for a whole year.

Managers Have Loud Voices

I had moved on with my life.  I worked at a supermarket, got on swimmingly with everyone and then I was promoted to assistant manager in the deli.  That’s all good, I can handle it.  But then the store manager left.  The deli manager left.  And I was left facing the most aggressive man I had ever met in my life.

This man became the store manager and I was required to take on the deli manager position until someone took over.  I had been an assistant manager for two weeks.  I barely knew the computers existed, let alone how to use the systems for ordering, rostering, waste and the how-to guide for being a manager.

So I made mistakes.  Perfectly acceptable mistakes for someone who hadn’t been trained in the slightest.

And I got absolutely destroyed for it.  This manager called me an idiot on several occasions, yelled at me in front of other employees and wouldn’t talk to me in the deli.  He chose to talk to the only male deli assistant, who would then have to come to me and tell me everything that the man had just told him.  Which I could hear because I was standing a metre away.

Other times, he would be the friendliest person in the store.  He would encourage me to tell him everything that I needed help with and would promise that there would be more help for the deli.  Then he would turn, use the information I had just told him against me, to make me feel worse.

For that whole month I was manager I would go home crying every night, questioning my whole stupid, pathetic existence.  In the morning I would drive to work, hoping that I would get into a car accident, or an elephant would fall on my car, or anything would happen so I didn’t have to ever go back into that awful store.

A week after the deli manager finally came back to take the position, I quit.  I walked out and didn’t look back.  And once again, I did nothing.  I could have torn that man to the ground.  If it had happened now, I would have.  Back then, I was a touch on the meek side.

So what have I learned?

1) A good manager is essential to keeping a workplace happy.

2) Sometimes people will hate you for the stupidest reasons, or no reason, and that sucks.

3) Screw being liked in the workplace.  If someone’s picking on you, they’re never going to be your friend, so stop trying to do anything possible to make them like you.

4) Sometimes it’s better to just leave.  Nothing is worth making you feel that unhappy (also solid advice for relationship dramas).

5) ALWAYS SPEAK UP!  Don’t let that person get away with what they’re doing to you.  Because when you leave, they just turn on someone else.