It’s not always about me, Monsieur

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mad hatter

Carmen Neutral’s (mis)adventures in Jobseeker Land continue with job search instructor Monsieur getting too big for his fine French boots and a laid back “between jobs” Cuban making a welcome addition to the unemployables class.

Where to start with the synopsis of today’s train-wreck of a class with Monsieur?

This jobseekers’ session involved the resume writing module, being one of eighteen components of the Mutual Obligations Syllabus, compliments of DEEWR (Australia’s employment service).

And in our class was a new likeable bloke who proudly expressed total ignorance of what a resume was. Good for him!

Ignorance can be bliss.

Another woman said she wasn’t looking for work because she was too busy with four children, and so resume writing was not a priority (and understandably so).

And there were also a few fresh-faced, impressionable unemployables, with the confidence and insouciance of youth — and a combined age of about 30.

And there I sat, playing the role of Miss Havisham, with my resume — prepared 100 years earlier — for “show and tell” in standard formats: chronological, functional, easy read, Alfred Hitchcock inspired, Greek tragic style, light comedy, Sports Illustrated, graphic novel, Roman tablet.

To be frank, I think I’m over Monsieur’s “ooh la la” and am ready for some new input. And why? Because he is starting to behave like arrogant Police Inspector Javert/Mr Smartypants.

And this week, being a woman of a certain age (est inondé avec des hormones), I am just not in the mood for Monsieur’s omniscience.

And I am over being told how to suck eggs!

Sorry Monsieur. I know you’re only doing your job. But after a few hours of Obligation Mutuelle — when the baguettes have been devoured and the car re-parked for the third time and the clock strikes 1.30 pm — mes hormones make me erupt like Mount Vesuvius at the slightest troubles psychologiques.

That’s when my attention span goes north and I need my nano nap.
But Monsieur has never heard of a nano nap. And he proceeds full steam ahead during my siesta time with the final straw being his unwanted suggestion that he and I have an extra-curricular “un à un” to discuss and address my employment barriers!

Monsieur, couldn’t we have the “un à un” over café et petits gâteaux at a nearby cafe? I’d much prefer that to an “un à un” in a sterile Job Services Australia cubicle. Or, why not come up and see me sometime in my Victorian loft apartment? Oh là là, ce que je pense?

Having said that, why was Monsieur picking on me?

What about the other miserables sitting beside me in poverty row?

Why doesn’t he single out their barriers? Was he trying to put me in the same category as Madame Absconder? Now THAT woman does have barriers worth discussing. But of course Monsieur wouldn’t want an “un à un” with that strumpet!

So returning to le problème de monsieur.

Did he think I “failed” my job interviews because I behaved like the Mad Hatter in search of a Tea Party? Didn’t he know I followed June Dally-Watkins (Australian doyenne of domestic and workplace etiquette) on Facebook?

And Monsieur, what are you basing your information on?

Do you presume I go along to job interviews “acting out”, as I do in your class — like a disruptive Year 10 student? Sorry Monsieur, but I only save that show for you and your unemployables tutorials.

So I asked him on the spot (with other miserables present) if he could be up-front (French-style) and give me a hint of what my “barriers” were? I wanted a morsel to take home with me.

What was the irritation? Was it my moustache, the witches hat, or the broomstick?

“No you are beautiful,” he said. “But there are things you need to be aware of in the workplace.”

And as I watched the dark clouds gather through the picture windows, I thought: Excuse me Monsieur? Are you suggesting that I am not house-trained? Or I am some kind of bumbling 21st century Monsieur Hulot on extended holiday?

And just where, Monsieur, do you think I have spent the last twenty-five years? Do you think I’ve just sprung out of a genie bottle? Or perhaps you detect I’ve been cryogenically frozen all that time? Or tethered inside a cave at the base of Uluru?!

“So, is it interpersonal then?” I asked Monsieur.

“Yes,” he said. “It’s interpersonal. Come and see me one-on-one sometime, any time.”

Lovely I thought — which reminded me to check if Medibank cover lobotomies.

And this is why I thank the universe for bringing the levelling chutzpah of a Cuban national to our table. And even though this guy is a mere unemployable, like myself, I want him to usurp Monsieur’s role at the whiteboard. He is so laid back and chilled.

And why wouldn’t he be — with Cuba’s unemployment rate being only 3.6% (I know where I’m going).

Meanwhile, Monsieur, your French unemployables rate is très pathétique at 10.8%! (so what’s going on there?) — which is worse than the USA’s (7.6%), and almost double Australia’s 5.5% .

Put that in your baguette and smoke it Monsieur. My presence in your class (however unruly) is keeping you from being an unemployable!

I can tell my Cuban friend doesn’t give a hoot for what Monsieur has to say.

In fact, as an incentive to get me to the 8th Module next week, (unlobotomized), I plan to sit strategically beside my Cuban NBF (in the seat Madame Absconder left vacant). Maybe I can absorb some of my Cuban NBF’s aloofness and de-Mad Hatter myself.

Problem solved.

Meantime, Monsieur, why don’t you step up to the 21st Century and put those modules online?

This article was originally published on Carmen’s blog 50 Shades of Unemployment and it appears on Midlifexpress with her kind permission.

Related Monsieur articles:
Being told how to suck eggs in a French accent
Six modules with Monsieur and still counting
The unbearable lightness of being in Monsieur’s unemployables class

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