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Rantings, thoughts, diatribe. Anything that captures my interest and hangs around long enough to capture on a keyboard.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Fail Again. Fail Better

So said Samuel Beckett.

I used to have this quote on a greeting card which I pinned up near my desk at home.

It served as a reminder that, as the 1980's philosopher Billy Ocean sang,

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Oooh Oooh 

Since I escaped from Hell, I mean, left my last job, I have been extremely picky in job hunting. Two or three days a week in the film or literary sector. Nothing with too much responsibility but also with enough stimulation to prevent brain rot. Admittedly there are not many jobs out there which fit my criteria so applications have not exactly been pouring forth from me.

Since June I've had three interviews. The first one was for an arts charity based in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. The charity's aim is to develop a programme of art events for hospital patients to assist in their recovery. The timing of my interview was ironic. I myself had been in hospital the day prior for a minor procedure involving general anaesthetic. In hindsight I probably should have said No to the interview but as they say, when opportunity knocks....

No surprises that I did not get that job. I think I was speaking English during the interview but your guess is as good as mine.

Following that there were no interesting jobs on the horizon. I started temping to keep one foot wedged in the doorway of work.

Then a deluge (actually, there were two) of part-time film jobs with medium-level responsibility flooded my inbox. I duly answered the same ten boring questions that all employers seem to ask on any job application form. A few weeks later I was asked to interview for jobs at the BFI and IntoFilm.


What is there to say about the BFI. If you live in the UK and know even a little about film, you will know the BFI. Many years ago, a much younger version of myself applied for a job with them and was rejected. Surely lightning couldn't strike twice.

IntoFilm is a film charity that does excellent working promoting access to and engagement with film right around the UK for youth aged 5-19.

Man, I sweated over the interview preparations.  I knew there would be at least one film question. I asked Facebook friend's to tell me what their favourite British films were. I reread all the film blogs I have written. I looked over my old programming material from my days working at the FTI.  Since I started rearing a child my film consumption has diminished considerably. Gone are the days when I would see up to four films a week in the cinema. Nowadays I get to the cinema maybe once a fortnight.  Which is not bad for the average person but would it be enough for the BFI cineastes'?

It wasn't.

Yesterday the BFI  emailed to say that I did not get the job. It was a kick to the guts as those doors to the BFI have been slammed twice in my face now. Then about ten minutes after that cheerful news came the rejection email from IntoFilm.


Did I perform badly in both interviews? Was I over qualified? Am I too old for the entry level positions I am applying for? Or were the interviews just a performative time wasting process for all. Was someone already lined up for the role?

Or am I just a sore loser?

On request, the BFI gave me interview feedback. They said I was a strong candidate amongst ten strong candidates. Supposedly I was one of the strongest candidate's but someone stronger got the role. The feedback made me feel like I had lost an arm wrestle with an octopus.

Failure is a very different thing at 42 than at 22. In your twenties the horizon seems endless; possibilities infinite. If you fail at 22, you wait for the next opportunity you assume is coming. At 42, failure fucking sucks. Time and energy is not on your side. You hope you are still alive when the next opportunity comes; if it comes at all. At 42, you realise not everything works out the way you thought it would.

Let me in you fuckers!
Mr Beckett urges greater failure. Greater effort. No matter the failure, Just work towards the next one. Eventually you will get there he implies.

Would you trust this man's advice?
Is there sense to bashing one's head against a brick wall a la Beckett style? In this case the impenetrable doors of the BFI?

We'll see. Watch this space.

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