Bold, Open-Minded and Entrepreneurial

Anakana Schofield looks for work

Last week I lost my part-time job that feeds us. I had it for 16 years. It did not pay well, but I didn’t have to speak to anyone and I could do it anywhere there was internet. It also gave me the time and space to write two novels. I can’t save lives or fix broken pipes: I need a job with the potential for staring into space or reading Pinget on the side – a car park attendant seemed ideal. I found an advert online and immediately entered a car park of excessive adjectives. The parking lot attendant they were looking for needed to ‘Be a trail blazer … Be Bold, Open-minded & Entrepreneurial’.

I was puzzled. How does one ‘blaze a trail’ handing out change and scanning parking stubs and visa cards through a drafty hut window? ‘Bold’? This I could imagine. Perhaps a lorry would try to enter an underground car park and I’d need to rush out of the kiosk, arms in the air, to stop it before it pulled the roof down. Or someone might lock their keys in the car. Or try to drive out without paying. ‘Open-minded’ was more troubling. Would I need to turn a blind eye to dogging? Fair enough. Or would I be required to join in? Not so fair for $10.76 an hour.

The word that worried me most was ‘entrepreneurial’. Would I have to drum up trade? Stand in the road, beckoning drivers into the car park? Celebrate our enclosure while decrying the ugly chainlink fence place down the block? Might I be required to find people with no intention of parking and persuade them to pull in anyway? Or refuse to raise the barrier until they’d clocked up another $15 in parking charges? Or would it be enough to offer perky compliments to encourage people to come back? ‘What year is that Honda? You really do have very clean windows and a lovely steering wheel technique.’

I left that car park with the new understanding that the language of recruitment has gone up several octaves but since I negotiate language for a living, I was undeterred. The next advert included the promising phrase ‘a front line ambassador’. I may not be tall or smartly dressed but am excellent at ranting on Twitter, which is, indisputably, the new front line. My bird flu tweets are ambassadorial because my followers are ahead of the pandemic. But this wasn’t a diplomatic posting to negotiate avian flu import regulations in Kazakhstan. It was a job at a local foreign exchange teller:

***Must have own transportation, as there is no direct bus service to this area***

I would also be required to ‘probe customers to accurately determine their needs’. The implication that people making foreign currency transactions do not know their needs was exciting and confidence-building for the lowly novelist because this job would require me to make things up. The stern Do Not Apply caveat, however, clipped my wings.

I was momentarily lifted by an advert that admirably didn’t discriminate against older applicants, though I was troubled by the way it ruled out youth and ambition, and demanded you nail yourself to the chair:

P/T Evening Reception Person-Great Retirement Opportunity
This position requires a lot of training to become proficient. Long term interest only (as in years). NO STUDENTS PLEASE.

As for the last ad I looked at, before raising my hands to heaven, I really hope this is for a phantom job. A man messing about on his computer, entertaining himself by soliciting pictures of women. Or a troll in an unclean condo who got a little creative after late night noodles. There’s no mention of extended healthcare benefits to pay for the knee surgery you’d need after hours spent cleaning in heels. And why the double down on ‘no nude or illegal’?

We are a fast growing Business looking to hire some hardworking,motivated and adventurous girls.
If you are 19 & older, love to look Sexy and Classy while House Cleaning and have no problem working in heel , then this job is for you.
You will have the opportunity to earn 40 Dollars per hour + possible tips if you are strongly motivated.

Experience in Cleaning is required,
If you are interested, reply to this ad with “Housekeeping” in the subject line telling us why you will be a good fit with 2 recent pictures of yourself .We will only consider emails containing this information.
Due to high volume, we will only contact the girls we are interested in.

It would seem the best prospect for my employment lies in opening a pop-up, unsanctioned car park, perhaps offering a service where I sit and read aloud to people’s cars.