It’s job done if you’re in the know

This is an open letter to all Borders employers seeking staff.

I would like to know what it is you are looking for in an employee, as opposed to the nonsense I am subjected to in every newspaper and website advert?

I ask this because I am being rejected from jobs of which my experience is both plentiful and bountiful. It is obvious the currency of experience, expertise, adaptability, reliability, honesty and even intelligence are no longer of any value. I may not be any great wit, but neither am I a dimwit.

After some 30-odd years of work and redundancies approaching double figures, I find myself once again looking for work in a region that has, for all intents and purposes, been abandoned by every political party. Even the Holyrood government has seen fit to bypass the Borders with investment.

This so-called new recession is far from being so, for to say so is to suggest we have been living through an era of unprecedented growth and economic boomery, yet the only boom I can hear is one of economic neglect, and that goes way back.

What we are suffering is a continuation of a recession we blundered into at the tail end of the Sixties, and from which we have yet to emerge. Yet during this same period our political masters have done something close to nothing to stem the flow of job losses. The only growth I am aware of is the one around their girths.

What this region is in dire need of – and do I really have to tell our MPs/MSPs/MEPs? – is well-paid, full-time work for all. And when I say full-time I mean a working week of 40 hours. Yet all we are offered is part-time, sometime-maybe sort of jobs for which we are meant to be grateful.

I often hear that the idea of full-time employment is a thing of the past, usually from the mouths of those in full-time employment, or that the part-time economy is the economy of the future. I would be happy enough working part-time if my bills were cut accordingly. Put it this way, if it was that well paid we would all be doing it and enjoying the increased leisure time to boot.

In the six months I have been scratching around in the dirt searching for that most elusive of fossils – a full-time job local to where I live – I have found everything below to be true:

1. All the jobs in your hometown will be taken by people from everywhere else but your hometown.

2. You will never get a job with Scottish Borders Council or any other government agency unless you already work for them.

3. The majority of jobs advertised on the Directgov website or at your local Jobcentre are anything but local, unless you consider local to be anywhere else in Britain except where you live.

4. Many employers consider unemployment to be the fault of the unemployed. These are the same employers who have a reputation of hire and fire, who deride the feckless jobless, then wonder why they fail to attract any applicants.

5. Only one in 10 employers might reply to your job application, as the other nine are incapable of doing so. I can only presume they are illiterate. And don’t be fooled into thinking your chances improve with an online application either, not only will it be ignored, it will be e-ignored.

6. If you are a single heterosexual male you will never get a job as a carer. Same employers will have the cheek to tell you this to your face.

7. Qualifications count for nothing, experience even less. And don’t think your willingness to retrain, even if stipulated in the job description, will make any difference.

8. A man will never get a full-time job in retail, unless the past is managerial in nature. Even then this door will be closed to him because of his lack of retail experience.

9. Employers who only advertise through the anonymity of a recruitment agency or the internet have something to hide and should be treated with suspicion (see number 4).

10. An ability to converse in English may not aIways be thought of as a virtue.

If I am to believe my collection of rejection letters, then I am too dumb to get work in a factory, even though I have done so for 15 years. Yet my 12 years of retail experience precludes me from shop work.

It seems to me that the only way to land a job in this region is to be related to and/or be known by someone who works within the business to which you are making an application.

In other words, it’s not what you know, but who you know.

Name and address supplied