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The Masochistic Pursuit of Job Hunting

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Dallas Boyd
Dallas Boyd

It’s almost December. With Annual Over-Commercialised Gift-Giving Day just around the corner, and that jolly red Coca-Cola mascot starting to stalk me everywhere with his jolly ho-ho-ho’s, I hypnotically start thinking about the need to buy stuff. Which makes me think about money. Which makes me realise I have none. Many people popularly believe that an effective way to remedy this problem is to get a job. Unfortunately, this can be easier said than done.

I have been rejected from supermarkets who hire people with intellectual disabilities. Not so long ago I dropped off my c.v. at this “cool” bar/café. I’d checked my appearance before I left the house: Arse - reasonably perky. Hair - artfully windswept (it was a windy day). Pants - check. I thought I looked pretty sharp. But as soon as I walked in the door I knew I wouldn’t get the job. No matter how terrific I smelt. Reason: The tiny blonde girl at the counter had on more make-up than Johnny Depp in a Tim Burton film. And the manager was a midget. (And I was wearing heels). No mattDesperate for a job this Christmas?er how stupid this sounds, when you feel like a giant, these things matter. But as often as we suffer these humiliating rejections, we keep going back for more. This is the Masochistic Pursuit of Job Hunting.

Masochism can be defined as the enjoyment of pain. It’s not that we necessarily like being turned down over and over again, but we have to keep on trying if we want to get that dream job one day. People will tell you you’re under-qualified. Got a degree? Well done. Now you’re too qualified. Studied your ass off at university for years? Great, you have no employment history. Slaved away at shitty jobs since High School? I‘m sorry, then you have no higher educational record. I remember my first job - telemarketing in the evenings. My God people hated us! Hard-working kids trying to make a buck, still in their school uniforms, sitting in their little florescent cubicles till 9 p.m., getting yelled at: “why don’t you get a real job!”

Job hunting can be especially painful if everyone around you seems to be spreading their wings and soaring off like big successful swans. They soar above you, aiming their big successful shits at the windscreen of your car, while your sitting there stuck in traffic. To make matters worse, I read the other day that Student Job Search has announced student-job vacancies are down 20% from this time last year. Don't despair! Luckily, through my own fluctuating periods of luck and loathing, I have concocted some cunning ways to get you out of your funk.

1. Become a Social Butterfly

Don’t be a stranger! Let people know that you are looking for a job and pick people’s brains. Many positions are not advertised. Even if people don’t have any possible leads for you they might give you some good ideas.

2. Sow your Wild Oats

Wander around town to check out the shops, as many businesses stick a sign in the window for help. Take some C.V’s and cover letters with you. You can hand them out at places you’d like to work and strike up a conversation with the staff - even if they aren’t hiring at that point, they might remember you when they are.

3. Prepare Yourself for Victory

If you keep missing out on jobs maybe your C.V could use a bit of a spruce to get it looking right. Ask somebody else to look over it for a honest (and hopefully kind) second opinion. Make sure you tailor your C.V. and cover letter to fit each new job application so the content is relevant. There is actually a very cool little program at which helps you create a nice C.V. Check out the whole Career Services website while you’re there - it’s gold. Plus there are fun interactive tools which can help you find your mojo by matching your strengths and personality to suitable career paths.

4. Eyes on the Prize

Popular job search websites include However if you Google “New Zealand Jobs” a whole lot of other sites pop up too. Have fun picking through them to see what’s out there. Apply for anything that catches your eye - and I mean anything. What do you have to lose? Applying for as many random jobs as you can teaches you to reflect on your talents and abilities, thinking flexibly about how your skills can be adapted for different roles. Practice writing cover letters, hone your ability to subtlety bullshit, and experiment with approaches to find out what gets attention and what gets ignored. And you might get a job!

5. Think Outside The Box

If you’ve ever thought about running off to join the circus, I strongly suggest you do so. The Christchuch Polytechnic Institute of Technology offers a Diploma in Circus Arts. Subjects include general circus skills (i.e. aerials, acrobatics, juggling, manipulation, and equilibristics), body training, performance (i.e. clowning), history, business, and risk management. Visit the website at or for a list of other circus schools around the world.

6. Screw The Man!

Maybe you don’t want to work 9 to 5. Maybe you don’t really want a job, you’re fed up with the bollocks, and you don’t know what you want to do anyway. Try taking off somewhere to do some volunteer work. You’ll help others, have a great time, and the experience will look great on a resume. From my own experience, I personally recommend students volunteer through (feel free to contact me about that if you like). However there’s also tonnes of other info and options at Interesting opportunities, both paid and volunteer, await you at There are fundraising opportunities in New Zealand advertised on this site as well.

7. Spread your Wings

If you’re considering going forth into the wide world check out This site is endless, as there are links directing you all over the place depending on whether you’re interested in going overseas to study (degree, high school, university, language schools, TEFL schools), intern, teach, volunteer, work, explore eco/adventure options, pursue scholarships, plus more.

Whatever you decide to do, GO FOR IT! A definition of masochism isn’t complete without some mention of the pursuit of pleasure. That’s why we put up with the pain - because we believe that something good is coming to us. Keep fighting the good fight and think of how good you’ll feel once you get there.

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