camouflage


I went to university with a girl who wore so much makeup that the first time she came into class without any everyone thought she was on death’s door. Back then, a naïve eighteen-year old, I didn’t touch the stuff, too afraid of anyone noticing I was trying to change something about myself. Now, many years later (so, so many) it’s the first thing I do. Tinted moisturiser, a bit of eyeliner and mascara and I’m ready to open that bathroom door and face the day. It’s not much, I know, but it’s like a slap on the back from an enthusiastic coach. Yeah, world! Here I come! Then I exit the bathroom and start getting breakfast ready, while my family runs around searching for clean underpants. Yes, it’s a glamorous world all right.

My daughter, still, at four years old, in love with her Mummy, thinks I’m the most beautiful person in the whole world. My husband says he prefers me without it (I don’t think he realises I actually wear some EVERYDAY). Everybody else, let’s be honest here, couldn’t care less what I look like. But it’s become an important part of my routine, a little bit of camouflage to help get me through the day.

And when it comes to finding a job, many people have probably been guilty of at least a little camouflage; a touch of embroidery, a dab of concealer, a slight fib here, a fudging of the truth there; anything to get the job, right?

And then you get it and – what a surprise! You’re either a) scared witless because you can’t actually operate that bit of machinery you said you could and you just know you’re going to lose an arm, b) more bored than you’ve ever been in your entire life, even that Christmas at your ex-boyfriend’s sister’s house, the one with all the dogs and weird soybean Christmas cookies, or c) so claustrophobic you want to jump out of the nearest window; if only they actually opened and none of your fellow workers – zombie-like and all looking forward to their retirement in twenty years time – weren’t looking, which they are because you’ve landed in that particular hell that is the open plan office.

Little white lies can range from saying you can do something better than you really can through to feigning enthusiasm for a task that, deep down, you know will bore you senseless in less than one day. But times are tough. You’ve got to eat and pay the rent/mortgage. You’re going crazy at home, the kids are old enough now, and you’re desperate to use the skills you’ve got, if only someone would give you a chance!

And we all lie all the time, anyway. For better or worse, it’s part of being a social animal. We save face, we protect, we flatter, we hide. But when it comes to work that really does suit you, honesty is definitely the best policy. Paint a rosy picture for sure, but don’t put in something that shouldn’t be there in the first place. That way trouble lies. And if you do get offered a job when you know you’re not the right person, turn them down. It’s a great feeling being the one to say ‘no’ and it’s all good practice for landing that job that really is a perfect match.

It’s a tough world out there. Finding a job, any job is hard enough. And living in a foreign country with the added issues of language, work permits, cultural differences, and juggling bringing up a family with no relatives nearby, makes it all the more difficult. But you’re fooling yourself more than anyone else if you you’re less than truthful. And we all know how much we hate to be lied to.