And quite incredible: I’ve got a cool traineeship

September 13, 2007 at 10:28 am | Posted in Internship, Job | 6 Comments
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Fifteen minutes ago I wrote that I got sacked before I had even started on my new job. While I was style typing the post, I got a phone call from one of the leading Austrian news magazines – I got admitted to their trainee programme as a news editor!!! I won’t earn anything, yet it lasts only six weeks, and there is PLENTY to learn. I had applied with only a vague hope that they’d accept me, mainly because I am already 33, yet wrote a very honest (my boyfriend would call it dramatic) letter of application, in which I discussed that very issue. It’s starting on the 8th of October – isn’t that tremendously cool???

Good old Austrian AMS!

July 6, 2007 at 4:05 pm | Posted in Job, job search, jobs | 4 Comments
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Yesterday I received a notification from the the Austrian AMS (Arbeitsmarktservice – the state owned employment agency) that they had a job for me – I was delighted of course! A month ago I had announced to them that I was facing unemployment in September and one job a month sounds halfway decent. Also, they had already put down in their books that I am about to move to Vienna – although I mentioned only in a comment that I was going to move. That transaction alone is admirable – I doubt that a German agency would have been able to perform such a high level mental activity.

When I had a closer look at the job description, however, I was soon disappointed. Yes, it was reasonable sounding position, namely that of an online editor. Bad thing was that I had already applied with this agency – half a year earlier, but they never got back to me. Also, they constantly seem to have about six to seven positions on offer, which I find highly suspicious. They’re probably only advertising them to make their clients and competitors believe that they are prospering – a common practice among advertising agencies.

I sent them my application anyway, with a reminder to PLEASE PLEASE let the AMS know that I applied, and that I would have to starve if they didn’t. I hope that THAT is going to make them reply and at least say NO. I think it’s highly indecent not to get back to you at all (but again a common practice).

Conference marathon

July 5, 2007 at 4:15 pm | Posted in Job, job search, Vienna | Leave a comment
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Right now I am attending the third convention / conference since 9 June, but luckily this time at he place where I work. I gave a poster session on combining Problem Based Learning with Content and Language Integrated Learning. The session wasn’t ‘over-attended’, but considerably well-received. Some colleagues of mine also were so kind as to hook me up with a few people from Vienna who might in the long run be able to offer jobs (that was the idea of my colleagues) – but I’m not terribly comfortable with being introduced as a job-seeker. In particular not because I am not sooo sure (as you might have noticed) whether I would like to stay in the teaching profession. I’d definitely like to do something with all the materials I have developed. Yet what that could be is still to be defined.

Job Search = Alienation

May 22, 2007 at 4:54 pm | Posted in Culture, Entertainment, Film, Job, job search | Leave a comment
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So I am currently in the process of reading many many job ads, applying for some, dismissing the most and generally in the process of developing a grudge against capitalism. I don’t think I’d be happy in any of the jobs that I have had a look at so far if it were full time and I getting a acute sense of what ALIENATION really means. Who, seriously, can develop a passion for direct marketing? I am deliberatly choosing this topic because I used to work in direct marketing and customer relationship management – and one part of me thinks that I could do it again and probably even enjoy it. But the other part thinks that I could only do that if I SOLD MY SOUL another time. It’s so annoying: to think that you would have to buy into capitalism first before being able to work in the majority of office jobs that are available. Who could ever be passionate about selling things? Who could be passionate about working in advertising – of course it is VERY easy to be VERY passionate about advertising, at the very moment that you realize the POWER that advertising (and as such: YOU) has over people. But it’s alienating, alienating, alienating.

Český sen (Czech dream) is a fantastic movie from the alienation department: It’s the final year project of two Czech film students. Together with an advertising agency they developed a campaing to market a new supermarket – that actually doesn’t exist. They interview families,pretending to be looking for the Český sen family, and it’s painful to see people confess in front of the camera what shopping means to them. The bit below shows the final 10 minutes: The public is invited to a grand opening, only to find that the supermarket itself is well a kilometre away from the parking lot where they have convened. So they’re already grumpy when approaching the supermarket – only to find out, once arrived, that it’s nothing but a facade. Fantastic!

Here are some of the trailers for the fake supermarket that were broadcast on Czech TV:

Goodbye Vorradelberg!

May 2, 2007 at 4:22 pm | Posted in Job | 15 Comments
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On Monday I handed in my letter of resignation – YES!!!!! Just a little more time and I’ll be out of here… going to the final staff meeting today only confirmed that I need to get out of this place SOON! Meet me in Vienna towards the end of summer!

Monolithic vs Serial Photography 16/40

March 8, 2007 at 2:18 pm | Posted in Food, Job, Lent, Photography | 7 Comments

A while ago I posted a small series of serial photos which were intended to endorse an application. The idea had been to offer a visual expression of the multiple facets that a personality (in this case: mine) has. Of course it is impossible to capture them all – it is probably not even possible to capture just one facet in a photograph. And of course the photograph will always give you a certain form or shape.

A week later, the company photographer took my photo again – for free and professionally. I don’t want to be bragging about his but my hair looked GREAT on that day. I started to grow it about a year ago and is incredible how long it already is. Nonetheless, it just came out STUPIDLY in the picture. We also took a few extra pictures at the end of the session with my hair tied up – and these are the only ones now that I can actually use for an application. I also read somewhere that women are more likely to be hired for a responsible position if they tie up their hair for the photograph. Reduce the feminine attributes to a minimum (but of course avoid looking like a butch;-)

To illustrate how monolithic a single picture can be, I’ll show you (if that isn’t contradictory) two versions of me: both are monolithic in the sense that each seems to invoke a singular meaning. The first one – colour, long hair – conjures up the idea of a slightly embittered woman (probably operating a library helpdesk) with low self-esteem, whereas the second one – black and white, hair tied up – makes me appear like a self-assured marketing dominatrix who goes water-skiing in her free time.

PassportPassport Pic

Neither of the two represent myself in a way that I’d like to see myself represented (the results achieved with the serial photographs were much better in that respect). Which ones should I use, you reckon? I have the feeling the dominatrix pic serves the purpose of an application the best (but would you like to share an office with that person?).

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EDIT: Had to remove the div tags to center the image as they did something unexpected to the layout. Reduced the picture size at the same time. Found it quite unbearable to look at my own old mug in such a resolution and size;-)
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LentDaily Lent (Day 16): I have meanwhile become the leftovers eater in my department. One of my colleagues has diabetes, so he may only eat small portions during the day and has to be careful with carbohydrates. The sandwiches sold in the cafeteria are too much for him, a banana is too large a portion. Enter: me. As I have been perpetually hungry the past days but hardly ever ate a full meal, I was grateful to have the bits and pieces he couldn’t eat. Today it got even worse: Although we went to the cafeteria to get a proper meal, I begged for half of his mashed potatoes (knowing that he cannot eat them all) and even nicked the three (cold, soggy) potatoe wedges my other colleagues had left on his plate. Admittedly, the vegetarian option really wasn’t very filling today: undercooked Quinoa patties with salad and a dressing with chives. I wonder whether there is any cafeteria that offers vegetarian food that doesn’t consist of veggie patties, and that aren’t almost always a disaster. Ask the vegetarians you know how often THEY have veggie patties when they cook for themselves – I personally never made any, because they stink.

The Merits of Serial Photography

February 6, 2007 at 11:08 am | Posted in Job, Photography | 10 Comments
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Some people enjoy having their picture taken, I don’t. 15 years ago of course, as an average, teenage angst ridden, camera-shy adolescent I HATED it – to my very regret these days, because there are hardly any pics around of me as a teenager. That’s why I now appreciate every picture that someone secretly takes of me. And if it is not done secretly, you can be sure that it is going to come out awfully.

Although I know that posing for the camera is learnable and eventually a cultural thing – all Americans that I’ve ever met had their camera smile – I’m not very good at switching on a smile and flashing my pearly whites at the camera. But living in post-modern late capitalism means that you have to have your picture taken regularly, to satisfy particular administrative demands such as having a passport, signing up for a travel reduction card, registering for a seminar, etc.

The second most annoying thing – immediately after getting passport pictures that meet post 9/11 biometric standards (a nuisance) – are pictures for a letter of application.

Family PortraitFirst off, these pictures can only be a lie – they are supposed to be some kind of self-advertisement, but how can you squeeze the entire message of being you into just one picture? In the heyday of portrait photography (meaning – rightly after portrait paintings had their heyday, let’s says around 1880), it might have been that a photo was able to capture the essence of YOU – but all that existed of you as a public being was your position in society anyway. The pater familias posed as pater familias, the mother of four as mother of four. Period. This pattern of visual representation is certainly alive to date (as the picture on the right – source: Wikipedia – indicates), but it can hardly show more than an aspect of who you are. Niklas Luhman would agree with me that, in an ever more complex social system in which we take on various roles at a time, it is next to impossible to communicate the ramifications of what YOU are about in just one single picture. Also, which employer would like to hire someone one-dimensional?

I’ve hence resorted to serial photography. I admit, the final result is some kind of compromise. While I would have liked to come up with something like this:

Serial Photography

I am now going to go for that:

Serial Photography

These four pictures can shed light on only two sides of me, and both of them are represented in a fairly exaggerated fashion, with the intention to increase the contrast between the professional and the private self (and to thus suggest that the real person inhabits the ground some where in the middle).

But is the result any closer to the “truth”? Hardly. I am looking forward to the day that photographs will no longer be required in job applications – attaching one to an application in the the US might even lead to the conclusion that you wanted to use your looks, rather than your skills and qualifications, to endorse your application. And if you asked for a photograph as an employer, you might even face a discrimination lawsuit. There are some good sides to political correctness, let’s not forget that!

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