The hunt continues…

Marie’s job hunt, that is. At the beginning of the week, I got a call in the library from a rather panicky Marie. She had been called in at short notice to interview – in English – for the handbag firm Coach, and wanted a dry run of her self-introduction before her interview began in half an hour. At one point, a momentary confusion between the words ‘impress’ and ‘express’ resulted in what I thought was an accidentally brilliant summary of the fashion industry: “I want to work in fashion because fashion is how people impress themselves”.

Over a bite another night, Marie wasn’t hopeful: the interview had only lasted ten minutes, with Expo-worthy queues of applicants outside. She’s had six job interviews so far. And that very day, she took two maths exams – with more of both interviews and exams to come. Nor is the summer holidays any longer a light at the end of the tunnel: Marie hopes to begin work as soon as she graduates. It’s a hard knock life.

I told her over dinner of what Ben had done: strike it on his own with an online shop on Taobao. Ah yes, she responded: lots of Beida students do that in their free time – and made a fair profit off it. But as a full-time enterprise? She couldn’t imagine it. No security. She wanted two things for herself: a good job, and to be in the same town as her roommate and best friend. Which means disappointing her mum and dad, who – like all mums and dads – are encouraging her to take a job in her home province of Yunnan.

Another disappointment was that Marie didn’t get the job at the Japanese interior decoration company, Epco (see my earlier post linked at the top). Instead, they hired two boys. I asked if she thought there was anything sexist about their choice. No, she said, because “it is a technology job” – and boys are considered better at tech. Then she paused for a moment, as if the thought had just occurred to her: “but my subject is  also technology”. So isn’t choosing boys over girl sexist? A briefer pause. “Maybe.”