An Aspect of Irishness: From Ballinastack With Love


Being Irish abroad is something that gets easier with time, but for me it was quite difficult at the beginning because I realized that everything wasn't going to fall into my lap as it tended to do in Ireland.

Job interviews... or should that be Jobs interview?
(By Joi Ito from Inbamura, Japan) 
Having upped sticks and moved to Boston for an extended period of time due to a plethora of different reasons, I was incredibly hopeful that I would walk into a steady-paying, high-reward, low-pressure job that would look good on my CV. Unfortunately for me, I was unaware that milking cows for fifteen odd years in rural Galway does not translate to a cushy office job fifteen floors up in downtown Boston.

I completely rubbished Christina's ideas of applying for any job that came up, including unpaid internships. I made her weep with the ridicule that I rained down on her. "I didn't come to Boston to work for fucking free" I says. And then the rejections started arriving in my mailbox before I had even packed to depart our bankrupt country for the land where anything is possible.

Thank you for your interest in the Funders Together to End Homelessness Communications internship. Unfortunately...

Thank you for your interest in the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). This intern position has been filled.

Thank you for applying for the Assistant Director position with Grassroots Campaigns, Inc. We appreciate your interest in working with our organization....

It was then I realized that I didn't really give a shit about homeless people or animals. Sure I hope neither die but do I really want to dedicate my year to working for them? Obviously I was never going to get the chance because I couldn't even get an interview for these jobs. So I settled. For the first time in my life, I settled. I settled like Heidi Klum did with Seal or Beyonce with Jay Z, or the Irish people did with Fine Gael and Labour. I took on two unpaid internships. Here I am three months later and confidence is lower than it would be if I had developed a heroin addiction at this time and had just checked myself into rehab. The rejection I'm feeling is worse than what I used to feel at youth discos where "will you shift my friend?" was met with a laugh every single time.

The main conclusion I have come to is that job seeking is soul destroying. It is something I have never had to do. Any time I needed money before I just did extra work on the farm at home or it landed in my lap in the form of a man (or woman) needing his (or her) cows milked. Updating my resume and playing around with a cover letter for specific jobs is as alien to me as a meal without cheese is to your average American. Putting on a shirt and tie and attending a job interview is not something I've ever done. The closest I've gotten is going down to a farm the evening before milking there to see where the cows are going to be and what the farm looks like. Compare that to a six-and-a-half-hour interview that did not yield a job. This takes a personal adjustment similar to the one that Michael Jackson went through when he bleached his skin.

And yet you can't teach an old dog new tricks while you're kicking him - or so the old saying goes. Here I am still applying for unpaid internships every day, taking the shame of rejection on the chin and unleashing frustration on my punching bag in the basement. Punching bag is not a euphemism for anything else. I'm not Josef Fritzl. So the search continues as do the unpaid internships and the under-the-table part-time jobs (don't tell any one).

Either way I have a raft of positions applied for and am confident that with the two internships I have been working at over the last few months will benefit me no end and I will walk into something in January. 2012 is going to be a fantastic year, at least until after the Superbowl. Even then, I have the Presidential election to look forward to. I love me a good, dirty, dog fight of an election, especially if one of the more loopy Republicans get the nod to challenge Obama.