Here is #4 in my helpful series on what the ideal job application should look like.
To Transnet Freight Rail for the position of Apprentice Welder
I have been looking for work but nobody wants to hire me. I think the problem, apart from being white, is that I am setting my sights too high. But who wants to be a brain surgeon, anyway? Pompous old pedants poncing about in white coats. They should grow up. Welding cracked railway tracks is more fun than fusing ganglions in some loser’s cracked brain.
Your advert says applicants must have matric maths and science. I expect that all your train drivers have degrees from Yale. I am a Harvard man, myself. We have certainly come a long way since the days when working for the railways was first choice for anyone who had been dropped on their heads as a baby.
Your ad says I will have to manage equipment and fix battered rail ends. No problem. But you also say I will have to “repair skid marks”. I need clarity on this. Are you referring to train lines or my supervisor’s underwear? I agree there are times when only an oxyacetylene torch can get rid of the most stubborn stains, but then I would want some sort of danger pay factored into my salary.
You mention that I would be required to assemble “flashbutt joints”. After a lunchtime spent deconstructing Descartes’ dictums with the wheel tappers, your welders would need to unwind. But joints, flashbutt or otherwise, are a little effeminate in my opinion. When I come for the interview, I will bring my Hong Kong bong along and show you how the workers can relax without wasting half their break looking for the Rizlas.
You also say that visual acuity and psycho-motor abilities are essential. I don’t mean to be rude, but you risk confusing applicants who might still be working towards their doctorates in developmental neurobiology. What you mean is that you are looking for someone who doesn’t need the help of a Labrador in finding his way to the bathroom and who can follow a conversation while simultaneously lowering the tinted visor of his welding helmet.
Other stated requirements are physical fitness, balance and agility. Are you looking for a trapeze artist or a welder? I may have to reconsider if the job involves working on top of fast-moving trains and then leaping onto other trains speeding in the opposite direction. Similarly, the prospect of racing to finish a job before the 8.45 from Kapteinsklip slices me in half leaves me less than enchanted.
If I am unsuitable for the position, please consider me for the post of Trainee Shed Assistant. I would love to work long and irregular hours for a transport company that openly admits it cannot provide transport for its staff.
Dr Ben Trovato (PhD Welding)
PS. I would like to be based in Kroonstad among the cream of Transnet’s intelligentsia.