Why My Job-Search is Like Hunting for Bison in the Sahara Desert

By Susan Roberts

I’m trying to get a job, in case anyone hadn’t noticed. Yes, a real grown up job like normal people have. I know I should probably be looking for a job right now instead of typing this, but to be honest, this is a lot more productive. Maybe we don’t get a lot of people viewing this blog but whatever the number, I think its hands-down way more than the number of people who have read my resume in the last four months since I’ve been allowed to seek employment and been on the search for a job.

Image result for minimum wage job

Almost every day I scan all the usual sites, looking for that special niche job that requires someone of my quirky talents, OCD work habits and key skills. I was quite picky at first, but in recent months I’ve dropped the bar so low you couldn’t trip over it even if you dragged your feet. In fact, I’ve lowered the filtering criteria to the point where the only requirements I ask is that it’s in Melbourne and that it pays some kind of a salary.

Minimum wage would be good. Fantastic, in fact. All I have to do is mentally convert that back into South African rands and I’d be rolling in the good stuff, but no luck so far. I’ve started volunteering at a local Op Shop and I’m really enjoying it. In fact I love everything about it except for the small fact that I don’t actually earn anything.

I’m not averse to working for nothing, of course, but it doesn’t pay any bills or give me the means to move out of my sister’s house and set up my own place, which I’d really like to do because part of me feels… well, to be honest I feel a bit embarrassed to be living like a useless teenager in someone’s house when I know I could be doing that special something that makes me independent.

Of course, I’ve worked without payment for years with my writing. Some would say I’ve done that for years with most of my theatre jobs too, especially back in the early days before anyone dreamed up (let alone wrote down) any basic conditions of employment for theatre workers in South Africa. It wasn’t unusual then to work around the clock for four days on end, just to get a show set up and open for business. Those were the days when we were young and foolish enough and didn’t lack for energy. Sadly, at my age that last bit is no longer the case either.

Why the title about the bison in the Sahara, you may ask? Well, in between browsing for likely jobs and writing the first draft of my new novel, I find all sorts of interesting snippets on the internet. Did you know that once upon a time the whole area now occupied by the Sahara desert used to be lush jungle? No, I didn’t know either until I read it somewhere online. Of course, I don’t think that area ever had bison running wild across it though – bison seem to have been native only to northern America, not northern Africa. (There’s also a species called European bison, but they weren’t native to Africa either.)

Bison, even if they ever roamed North Africa, certainly never did it while there was a jungle there, or during its current desert condition, because they graze the plains and disturb the soil which gives rise to new plants.

Related image

Anyway, I digress. Not unusual in my current state of joblessness, I assure you.

I really don’t want to point out the obvious parallel with dinosaurs here – me being possibly too old to find a job in my sphere of interest and all that – but the mismatch does bear thinking about. Maybe some great job is just around the corner and I’ll be able to do that as well as write novels that everyone will rush to buy and then I’ll have to give up working to keep up with the demand and…

Maybe I should try writing fantasy instead of romance. Looking for the impossible might be easier than looking for the perfect match, don’t you think?


4 thoughts on “Why My Job-Search is Like Hunting for Bison in the Sahara Desert

  1. Oh Sue, thought working wasn’t an option. See you soon.

  2. jac says:

    Susan I FEEL for you, know the feeling well. At my age everything’s meant to be done voluntarily, no matter how much. Ha ha ha – wish that were true. After publishing ten of my stories, the publication involved asked for more and when I suggested some sort of payment was told ‘We don’t pay for that stuff’. Good enough to publish, not good enough to pay.
    Often self-employment is the answer – you take in editing, proof reading, typing, anything that can be done from home. Try it – it may just work – sometimes publishers sub out, and there are wannabe writers who need a guiding hand. Good Luck. Check out the Write To Earn websites –

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