Dear xxx xxxxxxx [potential employer]
I hope you will consider me for the post of xxxx xxxxxx, which I saw advertised in the xxxxxx. I fulfill all the criteria listed in the job description and my previous employers (supplied as references) will confirm my conscientiousness and commitment to doing a job well.
I do feel, and I hope you agree, that honesty is an important quality. In this spirit I confirm I am applying for this job, and am confident of my ability to undertake this work, because I urgently need an income, rather than having a strong desire to be a xxxx xxxxxx. My chosen profession is a writer – that doesn’t mean I think being a xxx xxxxxx is ‘beneath me’, far from it, it’s just that I would rather make a living from writing, it’s just a question of vocation.
If you were to ask me where I see myself in five years, it may be happily working for your company if given the chance, and if it turned out I was suited to the work and found it fulfilling. But there is a chance I might not enjoy it and be desperate to leave, or have left.
It’s not as if I have much of a choice but to try and get a job – and this one isn’t as bad as others advertised, even if it is only minimum wage (below the living wage). We haven’t yet had to visit a food bank, but I don’t think it’s inconceivable we might in future. We are struggling to stay on top of bills and my partner is working many hours of overtime in a job she doesn’t enjoy just so we don’t sink further into poverty. Meanwhile I am not contributing, and that’s not fair.
Yet as an anarchist, I do question the ethics and integrity of myself in even applying for this work, even though I need work to survive. I feel it is important to question things generally. I enjoy working on my own initiative and am happy to follow briefs and be led by managers – but I have a tendency to what you might call ‘insubordination’ if I feel managers are acting with undue coercion or are just being hierarchical arseholes.
Surely as an employee I should be entitled to the same respect as anyone in the company, no matter what their position?
I feel I should also explain that I am prone to bouts of mental illness. This means that sometimes I get stressed, depressed or paranoid, and might ruminate over negative things that have happened to me in the past, turning them into self-fulfilling prophecies, to the extent where I can’t face coming into work.
I was laid off from my last job due to economic circumstances – I really did my best to make the shop work, and went the extra mile to try and attract people in by organising events etc, but ultimately failed. Such is the nature of capitalism and the rise of the internet and ever-more powerful corporations.
At the same time, the campaign I was involved with unpaid forced the government into a U-turn, so at least I was successful working in a team protesting! It’s a shame I didn’t get paid for that socially useful work, and am having to seek work doing something which intrinsically is of interest to capitalists, rather than society.
I am a member of the international trade union, the Industrial Workers of the World – I believe your workplace doesn’t recognise unions, but the IWW stands up for workers regardless of bosses’ recognition.
You will see from my CV that I have spent a lot of time self-employed, including at this current time. I would guess many employers and HR staff may see that as a euphemism for unemployed. They would be partly right. I do occasionally have work, and was working full-time self-employed for years, but now the workload has been reduced to a trickle – hence the reason I am applying for this job.
Why, you may ask? Part of the reason is the devaluing of journalism and writing by the internet and the DIY ethic of self-publishing. I ought to be pleased the sphere of journalism has become more democratised. But at the same time, I see newspapers I used to write for and I often feel they have gone downhill – all too often, they are understaffed by unpaid interns to keep the bean-counters happy, and rely on ‘churnalism’, rewrites of commercial PR copy and agency copy from celebrity-land and the courts. They simply don’t have budgets to spend money on staff and writers.
The other reasons my work situation is dire is due to politics and my occasional lapses into a non-functional depression – 90 per cent of the time when I have the blues I still do manage to function, but it’s that occasional 10 per cent that has proved a problem. A shame, as I was getting quite a lot of music blogs in the Guardian until a bout of depression led to that bridge being burnt (sorry, I was briefly unreliable after being reliable for years). That travel-writing lark for nationals and internationals went down the spout due to the same long-term relationship breakup/ brief bout of homelessness blues.
And I do sometimes wonder if those people who have worked all their lives who criticise people who are unemployed as being workshy scroungers ever consider what it is like to be unemployed? Whether they lack empathy? The patronising and often bullying attitude of Jobcentre staff, forced workfare or being given a sole option of working in a chicken factory farm (for instance), the feeling of pointlessness when yet another job application isn’t replied to, or the interview which goes awry because you just can’t muster enough enthusiasm – or failing to adequately look smart and confident because you are a naturally a scruff with a low self-opinion and sense of self-worth (partly exacerbated by unemployment and repeated knock-backs by potential employers).
But I digress.
As for the politics… the trouble mounted when I became a campaigner – my rationale was and is, advisably or inadvisably, that the cause means more than my individual position. While I have been a socialist, anarchist, atheist, anti-capitalist, anti-fascist etc since I was a teenager, and openly have discussed my opinions with journalist colleagues (you might be surprised to discover journalists have a range of opinions – on the Left and Right, and many are totally cynical about the world of politics), I followed my training to strive for fairness and accuracy in reporting.
My published work could not be challenged on the terms of fairness and accuracy, I faithfully reported both sides and objectively in my political stories.
But I made the mistake of slagging off the local MP outside work (on a blog comment) and the MP and fellow Tories had words with the editor, who did take my side (as did the lawyer). But they quite possibly complained to the media owners as well (I have no proof here, just suspicion – I do, however, have forwarded emails to various people from the county council leader who carried out his own investigation into my political views, in order to get me the sack… he took some of my comments out of context – for instance, I mentioned many would like to raze the City of London to the ground, but not included was my personal view that it would be counterproductive – unfortunately I deleted all the evidence in a vain bid to restore my career).
Also difficult to prove without affidavits being signed is that certain authorities put the newspaper through a media blackout (ie neglected to email their news releases) while my byline was still appearing.
The end result was that I ended up losing that bread-and-butter work, and – although I did get as far as one interview – have not been considered for posts within the industry I have experience in, and professional vocational qualifications in.
The county council leader claimed that I could not do my job as a journalist while being a revolutionary socialist (as he described me). I beg to differ.
Should episodes of depression, any assertiveness against bullying by hierarchies, and opinions that the way society – and the employment system – are essentially wrong, and to have an aspiration for a more just society where workers are genuinely valued, and of value to each other, themselves, and society, preclude me from doing this job?
While I commit to doing this job conscientiously, I will be tempted not to do it so well if I experience tyranny, disrespect or just general bad and vindictive management. I hope this condition does not preclude me from being hired, as I am up to the job.
When do I start?
I look forward to hearing from you…