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  • Writer's picturethekatediaries

STATUS ANXIETY: some waffle about work, job interviews and being "good enough"

Updated: Jun 20, 2020

Jobs. As familiar lineage or concubine ownership once were, career is now a large part of how we attempt in all our human glory to validate our status or place within society. Answering that first basic question of small talk “what do you do?” arguably makes up a hefty percentage of the modern day status symbol complex, that of course combined with butt-size, passport stamps and Instagram followers.

And with this comes the peculiar dating scenario of Job Interviews, the tinder of the modern day industrial-capitalist labour market. Us mere mortals operating outside of the confines of nepotism and trust funds will have to one day or another go for a job interview, and if you happen to be living in this century, at least a couple. Gone are the days of learning a profession through the family line and keeping with it for generations to come. I guess we can mock the incivility and determinism of it all, but if you think about it, at the very least, addiction rates to Adderall would be significantly lower with no one caring if you were top of the class for bio-chem. The persistent human crises of being “good enough” would just be relegated to impressing your in-laws or in the bedroom, as opposed to the boardroom or fighting for the next promotion.

But as is marked by our technological generation, the search to simplify and individualise comes with an ironic increase of complexity and madness. There are a whole range of jobs and ways of making money, which would be simply incomprehensible many years or generations ago. I take my job as one of those quite curious, if not comical jobs: a freelance professional dancer. If you need someone to writhe around incoherently on a music video or be a glorified prop mover in a commercial, I’m the one. If you need someone to jete the newest collection down a catwalk, and for a lot less than a model, I’m the one. If you need a dancer for anything, from the show reveal of a new Sports Car or Vacuum Cleaner to the gala of a pyramid selling scheme candle company, I am that person. From Major artist concerts in front of tens of thousands to cheerleading in front of a tube station, I’ve been there, done that and bought the t-shirt for it.

My type of job interviews occur on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. The difference however is that no one asks me what I believe my contribution will be to the company or what my weaknesses are. I simply smile like a tit and pretend like this is not the first time I have tried to use a one-wheeled Segway.

I have spent an afternoon in a casting call doubled over in a yoga pose with my head as close to my ass as possible trying to dance to a new techno track. I have landed myself in a music video audition where I had to, with a complete stranger, perform an improvised duet with the aforementioned intention of full out snogging. Let’s just say it was interesting trying to explain to the guy I was seeing at the time what I did at work that day. I have been asked to sing, asked to dance the material whilst speaking out aloud about my life (contemporary dance, don’t ask), create choreography only using my right butt cheek, come to a casting with an unsightly un-Caucasian spray tan, pretend to play tennis, pretend to perform capoeira, you know, all fairly standard things for job employment really.

In reality, my job, is just like everyone else’s. The only difference is, I must with much greater frequency, face up to my incompetence’s with that brute, ‘fake it till you make it' confidence which is imperative to surviving todays labour market. “Am I good enough?” Is a question that, unless you are super-woman, plagues most people at one point or another. Putting yourself out there for the overt judgement and possible rejection vetted out so acceptably and efficiently in work environments never gets easier regardless of how much we seem to be going at it nowadays. Even for the mature and rational dancer within me that tries not to take rejection personally anymore, I still get pissy for jobs I don’t get that I didn’t even want in the first place! No I don’t want to dance flirtatiously around an 80 year-old German pop singer on national Deutsche Fernseher amidst a brood of other birds… but why wouldn’t you want me for that?! Do you not know what you are missing out on! No one could conceivably shake their ass better on the stage of a geriatric with a spray tan.

The truth is, nowadays we live in a world where work and career-performance are front and centre of today’s existential complex. Self-help books, entrepreneur’s, and business guru’s with those annoying YouTube adverts espousing a religious type prosperity doctrine are the enlightenment literature representative of the zeitgeist. All of which are trying to balance the risks, rewards and failures, and most of all foster adherence to the latest trend of status anxiety. The moment we start to question what is good enough and for whom, maybe realise that even our grandest efforts are still just small, perhaps unremarkable, and often times even ironically comical additions to this beautiful tapestry called life. Maybe we don’t have to take ourselves too seriously, which, can be pretty hard to do anyways when you are wearing a robot fat man suit riding around on a Segway.

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