Youth unemployment, it’s an issue, right? In fact, unemployment is an issue across the board. Ever since the crash of the Global Financial Crisis, jobs have been harder to find, harder to obtain, and even harder to keep. The government has warned us that less and less young people are making something of their lives after leaving school, with fewer youth engaging in work or study of their own accord.
We should be able to live our lives the way we want. We shouldn’t be under pressure to conform to a society with certain ideals or an ideology that does not fit who we are finding ourselves to be. For some, it takes time. Travel, experience, life. Sure, I’ve gone from high school to university but many friends have taken gap years, started working, or have found themselves occupied with other pursuits. There are healthy ways to spend time and there are unhealthy ways. But giving someone a break after 13 years of education shouldn’t be taboo.
However, for those of us who have decided to balance life, study and work, we should think this trio of events is attainable and likely to be possible. The thing is, employment is hard to come by and I, for one, have been trying to gain employment over the past months without much success.
What has prompted this post though, is a terrible experience I’ve just had. Earlier this evening, I rocked up for a group interview with lingerie store, Bras ‘n Things. I arrived early, as I would for any job interview. I parked my car and found the location. But as the store came into view, I noticed a mass of people – girls – standing around the surrounding stores. I didn’t know what had happened. Had there been an accident? Was one of the nearby stores having a one off sale? Were there celebrities in sight? What the hell was going on?
It was only once I was amongst the crowd that I saw all the girls were holding A4 pieces of paper. And at the head of the piece of paper read ‘Job Application’.
Are you kidding me? There were about 200 girls there. Now, I’m bad at estimations but this is no exaggeration. Girls, probably aged 16-30 (okay, young women), were lined up, on the street, in the heat, and ‘dressed to impress’, as we were told to do. Girls in heels, skirts, some in pants, some in black stockings and jackets, adorned with jewellery, hair in bows and ribbons. It was almost an unbelievable sight. And the thing is, they wanted to interview us. Together. ALL AT ONCE.
It was ridiculous. The scene was like sardines in shades of pink, blue and black, of all shapes and sizes, yet racing for the one prize. But none of the girls are to blame. No one knew this is what we were to expect. I thought I might have been going to an interview with maybe 50 other attendees. Even 50 girls vying for scant positions is a lot. But what is one’s chances in a sea of hundreds?
The stores folding doors were opened and we crammed inside. Packed to the brim, one girl fainted within minutes. It was hot, it was steamy. The smell of fake tan spread instantly. Girls shook their application forms for air as airhead staff began their recruitment speech. ‘Come on, take a lollipop. I went out and bought these especially for you! Come on, your allowed!’ And then, ‘I wish I could give you water too!’ Yeah, I’ll bet you did. It was practically an Occupation Health and Safety hazard just being in that space.
After finding out if anyone knew anything about the company, we were told the ‘perks’ of working for the brand. The ‘possibilities’ and ‘promotions’ that awaited us as (potential) successful applicants. With 209 stores across Australia and New Zealand and a new Kardashian range, who could think of a better place to work?
An hour later, I could think of a better place to work. Anywhere.
They split us up into north, south, east and west as girls made their way to their assigned destinations, all within this tiny store. In the group deemed ‘East’, we started going around saying our names, the position we were applying for, the store(s) we were applying for, and why we wanted to work at Bras ‘n Things. I think six girls were lucky enough to have this opportunity. After that, it was decided there were too many of us (no shit) and we were to make small groups and introduce ourselves to each other. We wasted about 15 minutes doing this and then were given an ensemble to ‘sell’ to one of the staff members. Ten minutes later, a staff member came around. I literally got to say about two sentences. I think I said something about the breathing material, the quality of the product with good stitching and something else that’s already slipped my mind. She didn’t even get my name down. She asked my name – ‘sweetie’ – and when I told her, she just looked at me blankly. I’m sorry, but if you didn’t hear me or didn’t understand, I’d expect you to ask me to repeat it, not just stare at me. So I repeated it without request. But I’m pretty sure that even then, she didn’t even take the time to write it down. Maybe Esther is too hard to spell or something. I get that a lot.
But wow, talk about a lack of respect. I’ve taken the time to come to you stupid group interview which is basically a meat market, and you can’t even give me the time of day to get my name. It’s totally rude and ultimately, disgusting.
Not long after, I, and dozens of others, were shown the door. Sure, I’d like to have progressed to the next ‘stage’ but as stage one consisted of me saying barely 20 words and nothing more, and after the poor treatment I’d received, I was almost glad to be on my way.
And as I said, I was one of many. I’m not taking this as a personal attack but I think we as young people, have a right to receiving greater respect than I was shown tonight. I know you had literally hundreds of other girls there who by your accounts, were in someway more suited to the position (after hardly saying a thing), but that doesn’t give you the right to dismiss others in such a horrible manner.
And to be honest, I think you’ll have lost some customers, Bras ‘n Things. In our little groups we discussed how far we’d come for the interview. Personally, I hadn’t had to travel too far, but others had travelled for a good hour or more to make it, only to be out of there without having the chance to show their personality, their skills or even their name.
And I don’t care if you have the new Kardashian range, I happen to dislike the Kardashians and even if I did like them, their underwear can get stuffed. The distance between the Kardashian girls and the piece of underwear you are buying is so great you may as well send them fan-mail and you’d get closer to the real thing.
So in turn, I’ve lost my respect for the brand, Bras ‘n Things, and for mass recruitment in general. I know not all company’s recruit in this way, and I’m aware of the practicalities involved in recruiting for such big names. But what I experienced tonight should not happen under any circumstances.
No wonder so many youths are unemployed.