One of the interviews that I got called for was with a government agency tasked to promote design in my country. I was excited because I felt strongly for the cause itself, especially since I am a freelancer at the moment and I could feel the pains of delivering creative works to painful clients.
However, after so many bad experiences with government officers, especially bitchy ones that loved to congregate within my field, I have learnt not to pin high hopes. The interview session comprised two parts: a 1-hour writing test and a panel interview with the hiring manager (I shall call her The Bitch) and the HR officer (I shall call her the Nice One).
The moment The Bitch waltzed into the office with her gaudy dressing – yes it was gaudy and looked like bedsheet – I knew the vibe was wrong. I caught a glimpse of a Caucasian husband/partner with her as her phone wallpaper and I knew I up against a Sarong Party Girl (Asian girl who loved to hang out with white men. In their eyes, only white men are the best accessories worthy to own) once again. I groaned inside my heart that this was a wasted interview but I had to complete it.
This lady looked at my resume and wanted me to introduce myself. Halfway through the interview, she questioned my knowledge about the agency. As a person with only private sector working experience, I gave her what I learnt about the organisation from the website and other background research. Although yes there was a typo error in my resume (which I rectified very quickly but alas this application was prior to my discovery of the mistake), I felt that she was being biased in checking my knowledge on the details of each department. If someone has not been exposed to that organization, it is common sensical and obviously biased to fault that interviewee on the lack of knowledge of the specific roles of each department. She also pointed out that I have little knowledge about the organization. The Nice One was quiet and was frequently asked if she has any questions.
Thankfully, somehow I managed to pry the information from her on the specific portfolio that this role entailed. The successful candidate (but rather unlucky, in my opinion) would need to publicise a series of education-related programmes, including scholarships. My heart sank.
WHAT KIND OF A RUBBISH PORTFOLIO IS THIS?
The agency prides itself on promoting design on a country level, yet it has done a shoddish job after 16 years. Since its establishment, we are still not able to have a national identity, the level of design awareness and adoption is still ridiculously low.
The content on the website, blueprint and the releases says a lot and says nothing. There are plenty of words, conceptual words, that I have seen and called it “bullshitting” in my mind. In communications, yes the language is important, but communications is no longer deemed so important in marketing. Public relations professionals are now used to write executive communications (AKA write for the senior management) and for the employees (AKA write for HR on every single damn initiative that they wants to push). After leaving the building, I wrote an email to inform the recruiter that I was no longer pursuing this job (and of course I gave a diplomatic reason).
I am so sick of communications as a professional career. When I first started this blog, I wanted to show the world that I could write. I really prized writing as a genuine gift. Don’t get me wrong, writing is still very important in today’s world, but like what one interviewer mentioned during interview, media relations/public relations does not generate results that impact the bottom line.
Communications has now been relegated to a support function, abused by many who simply get you to do their work because they can conveniently say: “My writing is not as good as yours.” Or “You are an expert in writing.”
Does that mean I have to write every single bloody notice on the employee notice board? Or write an email for you?
I was grateful for this interview because the hiring manager revealed the bitchiness right from the start, told me the most pertinent information that made me lose my interest in the job right away, and prevented me from hoping for this role which would turn out to be another GREAT BIG DISAPPOINTMENT in the future.
So yeah lady, thanks for saving me from accepting a potential disaster, which I really do not need it right now.
If lady luck can stay with me this time round, hopefully I can make the switch back to marketing and learnt all the latest valuable skillsets that I need to prolong my career life!