Picture the scene. It’s 24th March and this thing, this monster called “Coronavirus” has hit our shores. It’s Armageddon, World War 3 and “Zombie, Day Of The Living Dead" all rolled into one.
The panic and hysteria in the recruitment industry, is bad enough. But it’s nothing compared to the panic and hysteria in my head.
After I’ve stood in the mirror doing my best Churchill "We will fight them on the beaches" impression multiple times, reality starts to creep in, and I come to accept that my little business that has served me well for a decade and a half is now useless. An empty shell. It's over. Life without an income simply isn’t an option.
But those very selfish and inconsiderate kids of mine still need to fed and clothed.
I need a solution... Fast. I need money. I NEED A JOB!
I’ve heard Coles are hiring Internal Recruiters. Their HO is five minutes drive from my house.
Surely they’ll be gagging to hire me? The CEO will probably ring me personally to thank me for my application? They’ll probably send a driver to pick me up each day for work!
I squash my pride into the palm of my hands, insert it into a reusable sandwich bag, and hide it behind my underpants. Nobody will find it there. But I’ll know where to find it if I ever need it again.
And then I sit down and write my CV. (Something I haven't done since being self-employed, sixteen years ago).
I go to work.
Man, it’s a work of art. A thing of beauty. It’s the most beautiful CV I’ve ever seen. I could get a job ANYWHERE with this fucking thing. Almost seems a shame to waste it on Coles, but it’s their lucky day. I hit “send” on the email and start ironing my work shirt.
Half an hour passes, and to my shock and horror, Coles haven’t replied. WTF! What kind of Micky Mouse operation are they running down there?
Do I take my own Recruiters advice, and follow up my application with a well timed and polite phone call? No, fuck that. I’ll wait.
I’ll give them till tomorrow.
Tomorrow comes and goes. I’ll give them till Friday.
Friday comes and goes. I’ll give them till Monday.
(You get the picture!)
Coles, the supermarket, never come back to me. I’m fully ghosted. Full on rejected (I assume). I don’t even merit a “thank you for your application, but unfortunately, on this occasion...” letter.
Fuck. What’s Plan B?
I could try Woolies. But I don’t think I can handle any more rejection.
Can’t pivot. Everybody hates that word. I’ll be cast out . Ostracised from society. I can just imagine the discussions around the dinner party table. “What ever happened to that bloke from Mint?” “Oh, you mean Pete? He pivoted!” “Pivoted? What a dick!”
Reality TV? Nah. Too old and boring. I’d be voted out Week 1. Week 2 at best. Then I’d still need a job.
Right. Last resort. There’s no other choice...
I open the underpants drawer, and pull out my pride.
I’m simply going to have to dig deep, hustle “like it’s 1999” (coincidentally the year my recruitment career actually started, but also the year referenced in a catchy tune by Prince that lends itself perfectly to this LinkedIn monologue), work arguably harder than I’ve worked in years, annoy the fuck out of everybody with regular LinkedIn drivel, and quite simply, try and administer the breath of life to my dying little business, currently lying on the operating table with its dehydrated tongue hanging out.
Oh. And stop feeling fucking sorry for myself (like Rocky does in the first 60 minutes of every Rocky movie, which I’ve watched back to back during lockdown).
Fast forward 5 months.
Has it worked like I planned? Liked I hoped? Like I dreamed? Like I believed?
No. Of course it fucking hasn’t. There’s a global pandemic going on.
Have I generated a small amount of income? Yes.
Have my kids starved to death? Not yet.
Have I annoyed the fuck out of everybody on LinkedIn? Absolutely, and that’s a work in progress. (Sorry!)
Does it look like my little business will survive Covid19? Fingers crossed, yes.
Can I look myself in the mirror, a little bit proud of how I’ve responded to Covid19? Absolutely.
Is there a point to this article? Moral of the story?
Yeah, kind of. Don't throw the towel in. Take time to consider that what might seem like the hardest option, might actually also be the right option.
All I can say is... Even if working hard through this pandemic doesn’t make you much money... Even if it just keeps you afloat, but keeps your sanity and your pride in tact... it’s worth doing.
What would I have done if Coles had called me in for an interview? God knows. Thankfully, because they completely blanked me, I'll never know!
But I'm so happy I didn't throw in the towel.