Idiot’s Guide to Getting a Job.

With Mildred “Workhorse” Apenyo

PUT intoxicants in a room and people will gravitate to it with a zeal that surpasses all understanding. At no time during this toxin-binging should you bring up a subject like ‘unemployment’, not even if a silence thick enough to lose machetes in has descended upon the room.

If the gods have, in their infinite wisdom, decided that your cause of death is going to be awkward silence, so be it.

Because if you mindlessly stray into these dark and perilous waters, an argument so heated and robust will ensue that a week later you’ll be writing about it in a section of the paper which is supposed to publish topics like “Does Beiber really look like a 40-year-old lesbian?” And not “The chronic scourge of victimization in neo-colonialist republics”.

I’m an idiot much of the time and I have a job, so this is pretty sage advice. Pens and notebooks please.

Legs: Are all you need to march into an office and dangle your intellectual cojones in the faces of potential employers. Dangle them with so much force and class that by the time you leave, you’ll be an employee in their minds. Thirty-six months of dodging course work and bar/club networking at university should have left you well-schooled in the art of bullshitting.

That mouth: So you can speak English. Tick! Our neocolonialist mentality loves you already. Without Sebaggala-esque grammartricide? Now they want to marry you, then pay you peanuts to sit around learning the ropes and making tea.

Social networking: If you know how to Facebook, you’ve got no excuse. There are lots of soulless research jobs floating around the web-o-sphere. Also, it’s allowed to be a bit calculating when sending FB requests. What might this extra person on your news feed contribute to your general well-being? We should try and make chat into something more than just medium for qwencing people and setting up trysts.

That pen: If you can write at all, start a blog and fill it up with any old nothing. You never know which executive will stumble on it during his bored blog-trawling. If you’re not absolutely atrocious, they might offer you a job or at least consider your application when you drop it with their catty receptionist. Online magazines are cropping up like tangle weed in a cabbage patch. Your pen is where that sexy pair of boots lives.

Stay put: Does your mom stand at the door, arms akimbo and glare at you every morning without fail/reason? Does your father try to trip you every time you walk past his chair? If no, there’s no excuse for your fervent attempts to skip the coop. YET. There’s nothing exciting about bills and evil housemates. Playing house stops being fun when bills roll in and your friends quickly stop being impressed by your apartment when they start being able to see your ribs through your suit. If your rent quaffs more than a quarter of your salary, get the hell back home.

Hang smart. Now there are friends we love because of the way they’re able to acquire some really hard-to-find intoxicants. Others we love because they make us feel better about ourselves. Make a few who’re likely to point you in the direction of some sort of employment and others for the simple reason that they don’t have drugs and booze tattooed on the brain.

Wardrobe: For some reason, the corporate world has taken a firm stand against the hip hop bum look, the sensitive indie rock chick look, the suicidal death metal look and the absolutely dirty and smelly look, so even if your mind is growling “sell-out” at you, even if that jacket makes you look like a very hated relative, brave it for a bit. Give them a thorough shock on week three by coming into office dressed only in eye make-up or in a flower bikini or in a suit with a skull and cross bone-motif.

*##$% Luxuries: Unless your personal accountant sends you urgent messages every hour about how you really need to think about opening your own bank on account of the insane amounts of money you have, you can’t afford to hide behind things like awkwardness, shyness, laziness, anxiety… etc. Buy yourself a self-help book already.

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