Remembrance of things past with Monsieur (Episode 10)

Reading Time: 4 minutes
Kevin Rudd
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s selfie. This image has been photoshopped by Midlifexpress to avoid frightening midlife women.

Government budget cuts mean our irrepressible  job seeker Carmen Neutral and her merry band of unemployables must contemplate life sans their colourful job search instructor Monsieur. But help is at hand via our reinstalled Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and an exotic Cuban connection.

During past weeks it’s likely my feelings of melancholia and depression owed more to the indelible image of PM Kevin’s selfie and the implications of having our country run by that “selfie”, than my new life sans Monsieur.

Although I would of course welcome any selfie of you Monsieur …

As for Post Master Kevin: First the government’s budget cuts put an end to my fulfilling and constructive French restoration period (aka compulsory Mutual Obligation activities). And these had been going so well under Monsieur’s unique tutelage. Then PM Kevin, you tweeted that gross snap!

It’s enough to make any midlife Australian unemploymentista, consider selling up, packing a suitcase of light onesies, and migrating to Cuba! It would of course be only a temporary move as I would miss my Sausoodle dog too much.

Why Cuba?

Apologies to Monsieur but now that you are out of my life I’ve been breaking bread with an unemployed Cuban. He tells me that at the moment with its poor economy and lack of jobs, Cuba is losing people.

In 2011 alone 40,000 Cubans, more than half of them women, left the island. Does this mean women of a certain age could actually be welcome there?  As potential employees?!

Apparently Cubans survive on the average salary of US$20 a month; so if I did fly off to Havana, the cost of living there could certainly fit in well with my  Newstart Allowance of AUD$35 a day.

And when I think of the music of the Buena Vista Social Club, of the Rhumba and the Cha-Cha-Cha, the Caribbean ambience, a whiff of the Cuban cigar and Havana Alfajores  I am almost there. In fact, I would fly there just to get my hands on a box of those damn fine cookies.

Actually, maybe I could manage it for a couple of weeks. An Australian government guideline from July 2012 indicates that Australian unemploymentistas (with itchy feet) can continue to receive welfare whilst globe-trotting — so long as they limit their “off-shore” time to 13-weeks.

I am amazed by this information.

So Australia is the lucky country after all!

A word of warning, though, for any unemployables who, after reading this, may now be thinking of escaping the Melbourne winter by jetting off to sunny Cuba. Along with toilet roll shortages (who needs that!), Cuba has one of the lowest levels of internet access in the world (but me thinks that’s a good thing).

It was, after all, only in 2008 that President Raul Castro allowed the first legalised sale of computers for domestic use in Cuba. It’s therefore not surprising that Internet access there remains limited. And only some professionals — like journalists and doctors — are allowed to surf the internet at home; so most Cubans can connect only at work, at school, or in luxury hotels.

Also, the Cuban government monitors all internet traffic closely. And Etecsa, its telecommunications company, “immediately” stops access to users if they commit “any violation of the norms of ethical behaviour promoted by the Cuban state”, a decree firmly established by the government’s Ministry of Communications.

So thank you PM Kevin 2.0 for your instructive tutorial on the benefits of social media as an instant way to fast-track our market visibility and secure gainful employment. However, do we unemployables now follow your esteemed prime ministerial lead by uploading similar selfies to our Facebook and LinkedIn accounts? Is that the key to getting noticed?

I really don’t think prospective employers would be impressed. Though maybe I’m wrong.
Maybe hipster employers would actually go for that approach? Although I do recall Monsieur affirming that we unemployables NEVER EVER post personal photos on applications of any kind.

I do remember thinking at the time that perhaps Monsieur was really against snaps (selfies, whatevs) because he considered we miserables were just too pathetically ugly. Mais comment pouvez-vous penser que Monsieur?

As une femme d’un certain âge, I’m now so confused and long for Monsieur’s nuanced French guidance on matters concerning job seeking in an online world.

Though frankly I really just long for Monsieur’s très magnifique baguettes.

So PM Kevin, I think IT’S TIME. It’s time you focused on the bigger picture  (that includes the 5.7% unemployment rate, associated government policy and spending) that empowers unemployed citizenry who don’t get out much.

You have got to do something about the emotional wellbeing of the Australian pyjarmy army of unemployables who are sitting at home watching TVSN all day while munching away on nachos.

And how so?

You could start by giving we sad unemployables telegenic Hollywood smiles by issuing government funded, teeth-whitening vouchers.

You could also arrange an immediate injection of funding to the Australian Employment Services Department. This would enable the return of le délicieux Monsieur (and his cute buns/baguettes/whatevs) to our miserable unemployables class.

I wait in hope.

Meantime, adiós mi amiga, me voy a Cuba!

This post originally appeared on Carmen’s 50 Shades of Unemployment blog and it appears here with her kind permission.

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