Switching from a romance to a recruitment columnist.

Last year India was overcome by monkey business when Delhi senior officials hired a team of 40 grey langur chimps to guard the National Commonwealth Games. The incentive for employers wasn’t only that they could pay peanuts, but also that the fuzzy bodyguards were lithe enough to chase the host of rodents (including smaller monkeys) that were plaguing the games – leading to a hassle free environment and a swinging time for all.

But jokes aside, this scheme was not as bananas as it might appear. It heralded a general global trend of employees struck by post-recession uncertainty, shifting their skills towards new, unexpected positions for which they may initially seem unsuited. Monkeys are now national bodyguards. And I am MouthLondon’s new careers columnist.

I am by background a dating blogger. It is not a vocation that vaults enthusiastically from the lips of many careers advisors. It does not require any qualifications – save that of being unabashedly bad at dating. It certainly does not automatically pigeonhole me into the role of recruitment guru for the jobseekers of Britain.

…boardroom performance and bedroom performance…

But there are more fundamental similarities between the quest for the Nine to Five and the search for The One than the intertwining linguistic fun of coffee breaks, break ups, cover letter moments, under the cover moments, boardroom performance and bedroom performance merely hint at. As romance journal, the Online Dating Insider claims:

“The only difference between a date and a job interview is that in not many job interviews is there a chance you’ll end up naked at the end”

The One may be won through weeks of subtle seduction tactics and a tournament of playing hard to get. The Nine to Five is hard to get, and is often attained only through continuous persistence and the subtlety of a bulldozer.

…you crack and lob your phone into the depths of a local pond…

The One may drive you mad by the times they never call. The Nine to five will call insistently until you crack and lob your phone into the depths of a local pond (where pond plankton, incidentally, cover both their search for a soulmate and their sole career obligation – the production of carbon dioxide – by splitting themselves in two)

Yet, whether you’re fired up with ardour, or just fired, the raw basics are the same. The feeling of a great professional match produces the same surge of endorphic adrenalin rush that has been compared to going a first date. And rejection from both hurts.

…exposing their dirty secrets…

There is, however, no need for unemployed, loveless despair just yet. The truth, hidden behind moribund statistics such as just 62% of 2010’s graduates finding work within 6 months and over 10% of British marriages ending in divorce, is that there is no one ‘perfect’ career, any more than there is just one happy relationship blueprint. There are plenty – of both – and in this new column, I will be putting my dating doctor skills to an untested level and flirting with a new field each article, exposing their dirty secrets and their most attractive qualities.

My experience is widespread. I have worked in Canary Wharf… as an improvisation actor playing a San Francisco Chinatown stall holder. I have painted toilets and sipped champagne with celebrity photographers… for the same company. And I enclose, not my CV (the job hunter’s equivalent to a Lonely Hearts profile) but an insatiable desire to explore and an uncrushable optimism that there really is the perfect position out there for everyone.

…awe inspiring rush of Love…

A job will ultimately never substitute the intestine squeezing, awe inspiring rush of Love. Unlike Love, no popstar (except perhaps the Carpenters and Bob the Builder) has made their career through referencing the white collar daily grind. But when the average Briton spends 4.1 years in each job – almost twice the length of an average relationship – it shows a certain element of professional commitment and attachment.

So I’m calling all candidates to take on the role of reader and adventurer into the professional world. And only small furry tailed primates need not apply.


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