Specialized jobs and head hunter’s offers|Hari Kumar

Published (HKT): 2021.04.10 09:32

Head hunters’ offices have displaced hair salons as the favorite place to visit ever since the lockdown and work from home began.

So, one day, I too made my way to the plush office of one such head hunter.

After looking at my resume and asking about previous experience, she was silent for a while as she scanned the computer for data on available jobs.

After a few minutes of steady mouse clicks, she gave the verdict: “Very difficult. There are too many people looking for jobs. There are thousands from Cathay itself.”

“I thought that might be the case,” I replied, hiding my disappointment. “What kind of jobs are available now?” I asked.

“The ones with attractive salary need specialized skills. Even in the restaurant sector,” she said.

“Like a chef?” I guessed.

“No, no, waiter! But this particular opening needs people with experience in Paris eateries,” she said, as she leaned towards the screen to read the details.

“Applicants should have worked in French restaurants serving only high class customers who want to dine out during the lockdowns. Their motto is ‘No Covid once you pass the door’ " she went on.

“So this is a French company? The candidate needs to speak French, too?” I was ready to see if this was something I could still do.

“No, this is a local restaurant in Yuen Long. They have a similar concept and are open to groups that want to party despite pandemic restrictions.”

I found myself lukewarm to the idea. “Don’t think I will fit their bill,” I said, remembering reports of the police raiding a joint in Yuen Long where people were partying. “I want to be on the right side of the law.”

“Okay,” she said. Did I sense a hint of disappointment in her voice?

“If you are looking for jobs with law enforcement, there are some openings that I can find,” she said.

“No, no,” I replied hastily. “I am a man of non-violence. So a job that will require me to carry firearms and getting involved in brawls is not my cup of tea,” I explained.

“It’s going to be difficult if you are not willing to change some attitudes,” she was definitely sounding irritated now.

I was silent while I considered the issue: which would be more difficult, reducing my generous girth to fit into a uniform or changing my mindset.

“But, there are jobs that don’t require you to carry guns and batons. Are you interested?” she asked as she continued to stare at the screen.

The idea of shedding those inches around the waist was still troubling me, but I fought back the urge to raise more objections. “What kind of tasks?”

“Can you train teachers? They have to be instructed about the new laws, trained to maintain discipline in school and do the goose-step during morning assembly. Think you can handle that?” she queried, peering over the computer.

She was desperately hoping for some positive response, but the thought of my ample belly weighed against such physically demanding jobs. I replied: “I was looking for some kind of office work that involves paper work. I am not a very physical guy.”

“Okay,” she said, making her disappointment at having to deal with a difficult customer very clear.

She turned away from the computer and fetched a file from a nearby cabinet.

“There are well-paid jobs that need a lot of paper work, but most of them have been taken,” she said.

“Like what?” I was still keen to know. “Accounting jobs?”

“More like auditing,” she replied. “Checking speeches and social media posts by people who intend to stand for election or are looking for government jobs.”

“I could do that!” I said, brightening up.

“Unfortunately, it is not open to the public as it is a specialized task and will be done internally, so it says” she said, tapping a sheet in the file.

I felt downcast again as she continued flipping pages.

“Have you done any painting?” she asked.

“I once helped a friend who was painting his apartment,” I said.

“Then there may be some openings for you,” she said with a smile, perhaps relieved that the chances of her fee coming through had improved.

“This is at the new art gallery,” she said.

“Painting the building?” I asked.

“Evaluating paintings they have acquired and deciding which are acceptable for public viewing,” she said.

Evaluate paintings? I can’t even draw a line properly. She was clearly getting the wrong picture about my skills.

“I am not sure I am qualified for that. I can paint some walls if needed, but not this,” I said.

“You don’t need to specify that. Just say you were a painter once. That is enough for this job,” she egged me on.

“No, thanks. Think I will wait for a job that I think I can do. Thanks for this,” I said as I got ready to leave.

‘Okay,” she said. “Drop by next month. I hear there may be jobs available for people like you soon.”

I wasn’t sure if it was just sales talk. “What kind of jobs?” I asked.

“I hear they will need people to read all books being sold here to see which are appropriate. So you could get a desk job like you want,” the head hunter said.

“Sure, I will come around next month then,” I said and left.

I paused outside the bookstore next door, but decided not to go in. Better wait for them to tell me which were the good books to read, I thought.

(A fictional satire written by Hari Kumar, who is a journalist based in Hong Kong.)

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