Job Opportunity

A word jumped out at me from a shop window as I jogged along the Carlisle Street shopping strip this morning. The word, writ large, was

PORK.

Not remarkable, given the shop was a butcher’s. Beneath the word that sprang out at me I read 

          VEAL
 

                 CHICKEN
 

                              BEEF.
The words were laid out so they descended across the window stepwise. I slowed to take in the aesthetics of the butcher shop.
Beneath the list of viands I saw a placard which read,
HELP WANTED, (Junior).
Drop in Resume.
So I did.

“Dear Mister Meat,

I write pursuant to your request for my resume. Please consider me for the position of ‘Help (junior).’

Name: Howard Goldenberg.

Born: January 8, 1946

Qualifications: Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery;

Diploma of Obstetrics of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology; Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practice.

Achievements: Founder of the Stomach Club of Australasia.

Winner (over 60 years, male), Northern Territory Marathon, 2008, 2015. Editor, Mount Scopus College school magazine, 1962.

1972-2002, Mohel (ritual circumcisor) to the not quite devout Jews of Melbourne and Tasmania. 

I enjoy meat. I cook it, I serve it, I enjoy the pleasure it gives my family. When I say I enjoy meat, I mean it in the same way I like other men’s wives: I admire from afar. I eat only kosher. Although I’m a vegetarian I am not a gluten assassin or a fodmapster.

I do not work on the Jewish Sabbath or on the Festivals ordained by scripture. I’ll happily work on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and New Years Day and on Easter Day and on Anzac Day, so long as they do not fall on the Holy Days mentioned above. Also Halloween, Thanksgiving and Festivus.

Likewise I will gladly work on Melbourne Cup Day, a festival which never falls on a Saturday and which competes with no Biblical Festival. 

WHAT DO I BRING TO THIS POSITION THAT DIFFERENTIATES ME FROM RIVAL APPLICANTS?

1. Experience – not many juniors have experience like mine.
2. I am a good speller.
3. My degree in Surgery and my experience in performing autopsies stand me in good stead with animals, dead or alive.
4. You know I won’t pinch your sausage. 
5. As a lapsed mohel I know my way around wieners, offcuts and giblets
WARNING: DON’T GET AGEIST ON ME. I am backed by family members who are feared attack dogs of the Law.
Inevitably the competition for my services is intense. I suggest you write by return post and I shall consider your application.”

 

Homage to Catatonia

Cruising past the various checkout queues, I check them all out, looking for the shortest. I find it, shortest by a mile. Shortest, of course, need not equate with quickest. 

The sole lady ahead of me at this checkout has loaded her shopping onto the conveyor belt. Compared with the Friday mountains elsewhere in this supermarket this customer’s heap is a molehill. Shouldn’t take long. 

But it does take long. 
Later I understand sometimes the road less travelled is the road most avoided. Regular shoppers recognise this checkout person, a study in slow movement, and they join longer, quicker queues elsewhere.
Why is our checker-out so slow? She takes a cabbage in a paw, hoists it, regards it interrogatively, then caresses it into a bag part-laden with unkindred purchases. Next she takes a persimmon, ripe to bursting, holds it thoughtfully above the bag then drops it. Gravity speeds its fall.

Celery follows, then shoe polish, then a roll of foil, then eggs. Each item is chosen by a hovering hand, raised slowly to eye level, pondered then loaded at hazard.
I wonder about the checker. Why is she so slow? I wonder how she holds her job? I wonder are the items chosen by this particular customer are exotic, new to the market perhaps, or unscannable?
After some time, with my tub of ice cream racing into liquefaction, it is my turn. I greet my checker by tagged name: ‘Hello Lucy.’ Lucy turns head away, bends face forward fifteen degrees, and makes a sound. The sound is audible, too short for a word, it strains for syllable length. But it is conversation, all the conversation we will share today.
In the space of the next twenty minutes as my dozen items are selected, elevated, perused and lowered into my bag a number of further questions occur to me: ‘Why am I so short of patience?’ ‘What makes my minutes so precious?’

And – in place of my earlier questions – a dawning answer:’Perhaps it is precisely because Lucy is slow she won this job.’ And, ‘here is an employer who sees the value of a job to a person; who sees beyond the minutes of work to the life.’

Ogholotse and Adam

This blog has seen me leap into print recently in a familiar posture of righteous urging on the subjects of the public humiliation of a footballer and the plight of a lady with a disability. Brace yourself for more righteousness.

I wrote of my schoolmate, Hilary, a social worker and ceramicist – did I mention Hilary’s ceramics? – who works from home, counseling the lost and confused, supervising tribes of fellow therapists, contributing to the health of persons and, through her taxpaying, to the health of the economy. Hilary is an agent for good. She is not a leaner. Financially stringent governments should love Hilaries.

This particular Hilary has a couple of disabilities, however: she is not young and she has a touch of quadriplegia. She needs carers around the clock. She pays these persons from her earnings and they in turn pay taxes. No leaners here.

One of Hilary’s two carers, Ilaisaane – called Saane – is not a citizen of this country. A skilled person (she’s a State Enrolled Nurse), Saane comes from Tonga. She’s allowed to stay here as the spouse of another person, who holds a skilled immigrant visa. That person, Ogholotse, is highly skilled. A graduate of Melbourne’s esteemed RMIT University, OG as he’s called, holds both Bachelor and Masters degrees in multimedia. (As an unimaginative unimedium person I am bemused that such a skill might exist.) However, exist it does and an employer exists who needed someone with Ogholotse’s skill. So the someone employed him, he came into the country, he worked and he paid his taxes. Another non-leaner. Everyone is happy. Ilaisaane cares expertly, intimately, tenderly for Hilary in a relationship rich in mutual respect.

Everyone’s a winner.

So far so good. But hard times struck the employer and OG was let go. He has sought alternative employment in his sanctioned area of skill, but he has not found it.

Now Australia will let OG go and with him Immigration rules we must let Ilaisaane go. Being near-indispensible, once Ilaisaane goes, Hilary just might go too: Hilary’s going would be into institutional care, into a life of dependency, of expensive involuntary leaning.

Everyone loses.

There’s a simple solution: OG needs to find a job. RMIT graduates are the most work-ready, highly employable skilled persons in industry. Employers love RMIT graduates, seeking them out and hiring them even in times of deep economic recession. At present we don’t have a recession. Skilled jobs exist. Odd that Ogholotse doesn’t have one. He’s strong and healthy and clever, he’s experienced, willing and personable. And as you’ll see from the photo, he enjoys that unfair advantage in job-seeking of being good looking.

  
What can be his problem? Sure, he’s black. That couldn’t be his problem, surely. Not here, not in Australia. We aren’t racists. Ask Adam Goodes.
Postcript:

If you happen to be or to know a colour blind employer who needs a person skilled in multimedia, please write urgently to Hilary at quincetree@gmail.com. Time is very short.
Previous post on Hilary’s story http://wp.me/p2QU0B-Mg