Readers who have been following this blog for a while will know that despite being exceptionally skilled and highly gifted in certain areas, Chi has not been able to find any worthwhile employment in the entire eight years that he has lived in this country.  The following is one compelling reason why…. 

 

Listen while you read to “Twilight Moonset” a dramatic instrumental piece from the “red side” of “10 Strings”, the dual album released by the Panache Orchestra in 2008.

 

27 February 2013

 

When I came home for lunch today, Chi told me that he had found an ad for a decent-sounding job and thought he had a good chance of getting an interview. I was ecstatic about that since a situation has arisen that requires him to become independently viable. (I don’t want to give away the plot about what is to come.) By the time I got home that evening, Chi had an interview set up for the next morning, elaborating that the employer had contacted him within 30 minutes of sending his response to the ad, which I thought was rather extraordinary given the crap economy and job market. After changing out of my work clothes into cat-ready ones, I went into my home office to deal with some administrative bullshit and got annoyed when Chi interrupted me to ask me to find him some string to tie the kitchen cabinets closed so the cats won’t keep getting into them and eating stuff they shouldn’t be.

After I finished what I was doing I went out to the living room to apologize to Chi for being short-tempered with him about the string thing (I find his apparent inability to figure out the most stupid-simple things for himself highly frustrating!) and to let him know the results of the shit management session I just completed, and that I was now ready to rehearse with him, and he told me that he had cancelled the job interview he had just scheduled for the next morning. Stunned, I asked him why. He said he was in the process of explaining the reason(s) (presumably to the potential employer he had just decided to blow off for whatever-the-fk-reason), so I went back to my home office to deal with more shit. Eventually he came and knocked on the office door asking if I would like to practice now. (Hooyah! He is finally catching on about the courtesy of knocking on doors instead of just barging in on me and demanding that I drop whatever I am doing and attend to whatever he wants at that moment. Progress!)

When I went back out to the front of the house to rehearse, I asked him again about the interview he had decided to cancel. He told me something to the effect that he had emailed the person he had been dealing with to ask whether he should wear a proper suit or if slacks and a jacket would suffice, and that the other person hadn’t answered. Baffled, I imagined that the potential employer was so taken aback by such an oddball thing as a job applicant asking the potential employer for advice on what to wear to the interview (is it me, or is there a cultural and perhaps generational issue in play here??) that s/he most likely didn’t know how to respond, so went on to the next pressing matter (like contacting a few more candidates to interview, plus whatever work they had to get done that day!).

While I was still struggling to mentally process that, he added that he had also written to let them know that he would not be able to comply with their request to bring a resume with him since he is 54 years old and has been working since he was 15, so it is too difficult to condense everything he has done during that interval into a resume. At that point despite my angst that he had apparently blown yet another opportunity to secure gainful employment, I just collapsed on the kitchen floor laughing uncontrollably until there were tears running down my face and I could no longer draw a breath since that was so exceedingly bizarre and unexpected that I could not react any other way. He seemed perplexed by that reaction, which only made me laugh even harder.

When I finally regained my composure I told him that he had surely communicated to that potential employer that he was obviously mentally challenged, and not a viable candidate. He looked even more confused and started up with his rationalizations. I briefly tried and then gave up on getting him to understand that for the most part, regardless of the job (in this case, clearly within the “white collar” class), you wear a suit to the interview just on general principle (not one of the super-posh CEO suits you inherited from your late father — just a decent, run-of-the-mill mid-priced number), and then AFTER YOU GET THE JOB, you modify your attire as appropriate to the environment you will be working in. The idea is that no matter what sort of job you’re applying for, you put your best foot forward in the interview. When he started arguing with me, I simply said that it is not my job to get him to understand this, and he needs to see a career counselor and learn how to apply for jobs more successfully, as well as get a plausible resume in hand with no further delay.

We finally began our rehearsal but I kept breaking down laughing. After some initial irritation, he apparently finally began to see that he had yet again scuppered the only viable-sounding thing he has managed to come up with over the past couple years (other than sporadic background acting work), and started laughing himself. We discussed it a bit more and I eventually understood that he had not cancelled the interview himself because the employer hadn’t got back to him about his outlandish questions (which is something I could easily imagine him doing!), but the employer was the one who had cancelled the interview.

Well, fuck me! No shit s/he did, because you effectively announced to them that you are brain damaged and not fit for work! He further elaborated that they said they need someone who will not require extensive training and work-readiness preparation. I deeply regretted that the camera was not rolling, as this was top-drawer comedy made even more hilarious by the fact that it was utterly genuine and not the least bit contrived. We continued attempting to rehearse even though we’d start laughing again every time we looked at each other (which we need to do often for visual cues), and ended up having an exceptionally good rehearsal after all.

During and after the rehearsal we discussed this further, including similar instances in which he fails to comply with some commonly accepted social norm or other, creating a very awkward or damaging situation, and it got even wackier, but unfortunately too much time elapsed between the conversation and when I finally had a chance to write about it, so I have sadly missed my chance to capture some great artistic fodder in clear detail. The gist of it is that he has some very serious social adjustment issues, and while in many cases his rationalization for refusing to comply with conventions and norms and standards is actually based on impeccable logic, it creates major problems with his employability. At the end of it all, he said something like “Ok, I won’t do this next time.” I answered, “Good. You’ll just find something else to fuck up then.”

When I got home the next evening he mentioned that all of his friends whom he had spent the most time with when he lived in Japan are quite messed up (=~ socially maladjusted in some conspicuous way), and he has finally realised that he might be too. What he needs is his own reality show.

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