Ridiculous job advertisements that clearly spell out discrimination and modern age slavery

Janice Corera
Posted June 3, 2012 from Sri Lanka

I was offline for a couple of days. Thought it would do a world of good because I was getting so wound up having to increasingly feel so frustrated at the accumulating injustice piling up in every sphere of my life. I am on an aggressive hunt to find work that really pays for my honest contribution. One that recognizes my skills and work experience, without expecting glamour girl looks or compare how my vital statistics will fit in with the office environment. Recognition for workers who really know how to get on with a job using their brains does not exist in this country. I now regret having learnt some skills that I thought will help me to get out of a rut. Too bad I don’t have a nice round protruding butt to wag at a smartly dressed guy or boobs that stick out like melons. Maybe I could have waggled either of them or both at once and enticed them to get work. BUT there is a hitch I ask myself many times, do I want to find work that way? the answer is a big resounding NO ! Perhaps I should pretend to be the ideally desired dumb woman who struggle to figure out the business, technical jargon or cannot fathom why so much money is spent for the silliest thing in an enterprise. I would be adored if I just gulped down all the miserable fairy tales these smart men would spill down my hardly used brain. I would be considered a very obedient and loyal employee for not daring to challenge. Being a woman is a pain, being a smart woman is terrifying for these corporate big wigs especially if a woman in the lower tier is smarter than any of the top men.

Sunday’s dailies have an entirely different section for jobs. It has become my ritual to patiently scan all of these ads in an attempt to find decent work that calls for the kinds of skills and work experience that I have. I am amused to read the many different adverts that strongly ask for applicants not exceeding 30 years, 35 years. What happens to a worker after 35? Do they think that all of the accrued knowledge and work experience simply disappear? Or is the assumption more on the lines of they may know too much and try to be too smart? or is that they are not willing to pay more for someone who can be entrusted to get on with the job without being micromanaged? I am too confused to understand the underlying reason. Spelling out clearly the age limit, requesting photographs and some adverts even requiring candidates to be without personal obligations (marriage, children?) proves a point. The intention is to preserve the culture of modern slavery confined to the office corridors and the personal computer in the name of commitment towards the organisation. This they call commitment towards the enterprise. Never mind their families, children or even other dependents – all of them can go to hell but putting in an average 10-12 hours of work every day is commitment, dedicated, loyal employees. Some adverts are even bold enough to say ‘must be willing to work long hours with commitment’ hmmpph I could relate to this so well for all the committed hours I put in only to be faced with prejudiced decisions that cost my personal life.

It isn’t surprising why many young urban women are growing increasingly obese. (Pah what do they do when their favourite butterfly spring chicken suddenly explodes to the size of an ostrich egg? get rid of her and look for another svelte 20 something?)

I once worked for a newly set up logistics enterprise. They started with a bang, A plush office. I sat at the biggest table and a chair with wheels (first time in my working life) and had a spanking new Compaq desktop. At the beginning all 10 of us worked out butt off to get customers. Everyone was almost in the same age group. We clicked really well and wanted this enterprise to work. A bigger company was funding this enterprise and was keen to see their newly launched sector take off well. The first three months were filled with work and we really wanted to do our best because being able to sustain our pay cheques were the most important thing to us. As the months went by, the big guy was a typical Colombo social butterfly began inviting his Lion’s club members to the office and were entertained at the expense of the enterprise’s funds. The bills often were accounted as prospective client meetings. None of us agreed to this because we feared for our pay cheque. The bigger company who was funding their logistic arm was one that was an established trading company and didn’t know until serious damage had taken place.

We noticed that a woman working in the funding company often visited our big guy. Her visits became frequent and every visit was accompanied with a plate of savoury snacks. We found it quite strange because whenever she walked in the doors of the big guy’s room would be closed. It remained closed for hours. The odd behaviour between these two took a heavy toll on the enterprise to an extent where even the Singaporean principals pulled out of the operation. The big guy popped in and popped out of office whenever he felt like. The pressure was intense with no business turn over and we lived through it for 3 months where our pay cheques were given on the last day of the month at around 5:30-6:00 in the evening. Until then we ended up sitting around hoping, praying that it will arrive definitely without any issues.

I was the first to make a move to another job just because I saw no reason to hang around in a place where the big guy was not serious to sustain the enterprise and that spelt a whole of instability. I used to be so stressed at the end of the month wondering if they could afford to pay me. If not where would I go to, what would I do to keep us going. On top of it I hated the thought of dependency. I always looked forward to get out of the rut staring at me and make myself more financially stable. I longed to be like the people who didn’t have to ask for money but just fished it out of their wallets and got themselves whatever they wanted.

The point is we (my mom and myself) were always struggling and my first pay cheque of LK.Rs. 850 (US$ 8.50 then) looked like a lot of money in my hands. I never knew there was something called pocket money until they day I went to live with my cousins for 8 long years. My uncle gave me LK.Rs. 10 daily as pocket money (US$ 0.10 then) every day for three long years until I went to school and then began looking for work. I remember feeling very important to have money all the time and be able to afford locally made junk food that teenagers hog on. Those were extremely tough days for my mom to be able to run a house with just a pittance of money she earned by doing household chores in some expatriate houses. While I lived with my cousins my mom lived in the home of her friend babysitting her friend’s newly born son.

Getting back to the saga of the savoury-snacking-merry-making-big-guy-behind-closed-office-cubicle, the only good thing that came out this whole fiasco was that I spent some time toodling with the desktop and got a good hang of working on a pc. Up until then I was trying to enroll in a class that taught the basic skills. I could never afford the fees with most of my pay going towards the household expenses. Money was always the issue. I read many articles on pc operation in the local newspapers and wanted so badly to learn to work on one. Somehow when the brand new Compaq desktop occupied half of the table that I worked on, I was the happiest and ended up going into every menu, tool bar, icons to learn the ropes.

Leaving all the crap aside, I am really trying to get to the bottom of what employers in this badly screwed up country want? a good butt and boobs to oogle at or brains that can really get the job done and keep the enterprise going?

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