Friday, November 19

Job Hunting: Reality’s Monkey Island

Once again I sit in my cubicle feeling misunderstood and insignificant. I’ve been looking for a new job for some time now, however, events during the past few months have motivated me to get a wriggle on and bust out of the rut I’ve carved myself.

Unfortunately, applying for a job isn’t a simple feat, especially in a specialist and competitive field such as marketing. Job applications used to comprise a resume, carefully crafted cover letter and a quick email. These days you have to jump through hoops and answer questions about this and that, and provide seemingly random musings to impress your prospective employer. And then there’s the interview.

The whole process reminds me of the old Monkey Island series – you look around for far too long to find what you think you are looking for, only to discover you can’t use it for your ultimate goal.

That makes the role of the jobseeker played by Guybrush Threepwood, ‘mighty’ pirate and habitual boat sinker. You start your adventure quite ambitious, tending to ask irrelevant questions and fumble around trying to find the right path.

Answering and submitting selection criteria is just like sword fighting with insults – you just think of something possibly relevant, throw in a key word here and there, and you’re done. You’ll fail miserably until you realise the tricks of the trade and learn a couple of decent responses but that’s ok because you need the practice to beat the Sword Master.

The Sword Master in this case is the person conducting the phone or first interview. You need to collect as much information as possible to get past this one. Some of the conversation will be relevant to employment, some of it will be filler so you can prove you aren’t a serial killer.

The Sword Master is a harsh mistress, living in seclusion and only available by stalking (thanks LinkedIn!). You’re likely to come across her a number of times only to fail but return much more confident.

Once you’ve impressed the Sword Master, you fiddle around for a little bit (that’s the easiest summary of the game) and square up to the ghost pirate LeChuck. Note to potential employers: I doubt very much you are an evil undead-demon-zombie-ghost-pirate antagonist hell bent on stealing my missus. Please don’t hold the analogy against me.

The final showdown, or second interview, leads to clammy hands, nervousness and what can feel like a mental beating of epic proportions; not because it’s hard, it’s just a drawn out process. Minutes feel like hours and it seems like you are running around in circles. At times you might feel like you’re at your wits end and that all hope is lost, but then you pull out some magic and win the game. Cue a sigh of relief, celebrations and fireworks.

Delving further into the comparison, job hunting website Seek could play the part of the mutinous pirates that ‘help’ you sail the Caribbean. I find it ever so *helpful* to receive irrelevant email job alerts. How is a lawyer part of marketing communications? I’m not sure, but they said I’m not qualified for the position.

Of all the objects in my real life puzzle based comic adventure, my favourite is definitely the resume (aka the soup on the ship) - a crazy concoction of random stuff collected along the way that changes the direction of your career only to land you on a new desert island full of misguided adventure that will inevitably lead you to a sequel in a couple of years.

Has your life seemed to mimic games?


  1. That was pure gaming gold my friend! If you were looking for a job in marketing in Brisbane it might be easier, and I dare say you will find your prospects significantly expanded once you hit Melbourne. Lisa took ages to find a decent job, and she is doing her masters (and killing it I might add with a GPA of 6.5) in HR! So you are not alone my friend.

    On topic, I find that my everyday work life is like GTA:SA. Sanz the killing. I do a few petty meaningless jobs to earn either money or street cred (in this case, money and street cred means I get away with doing nothing for longer), before tackling a particular hard mission (read: writing a brief for the Treasurer).

    Upon finishing the mission, I cruise around for a bit doing random stunts off conveniently placed stunt ramps (read: I talk to other people on the floor, throwing random rumours around).

    At the end of the day, I have that much coin and street cred, and that much firepower, I can pretty much jack anyone and get away with it.

  2. If I had to liken my job to a videogame, it would be Streets of Rage. So much repitition, with so many fruitily dressed young people.

  3. What do you do for a crust nowdays dutch?

  4. I work in Student Administration at Griffith University. Looking after Health related programs on the Gold Coast Campus. It isn't my ideal job, but it does pay for games. Can I ask for more?