Sonia Said: There is too many of us
Did you hear the one about over-experienced creatives trying to get a job? Just not in hospitality, please. Been there, done that. A job that will pay their rent and make them feel like they're good for more than serving coffee to sleepy bankers at seven in the morning. A job that won't make them wear uniforms straight out of a circus. Actually, working in a circus could be interesting. Anything seems interesting when the overdraft limit is reached and the highlight of your day is free food at work. So, did you hear that one? It's really funny!
'We've got dancers, poets, writers, actors. But no one with actual experience in this work,' the interviewer says. Pile of printed applications in front of her shows the ongoing issue of well-educated creatives struggling to find their place in this world.
'How many artists out there are successful?' she asks. If success equals money, not many. But how many people are born to be administrative assistants?
'I can see your heart is in journalism,' she says. There are ways around it, we all know them. Because a plus of being a creative is that you have probably done it all – admin work, customer service work, media work, unpaid work, volunteer work – and yet, no one wants to believe you're capable of giving your heart to this position, you consciously applied for.
Then, the joke gets really funny. Try being a creative and an immigrant. A job interview turns into a background one. Why did you decide to leave? Talk of mentality, culture and fear of conformity fills the office as you're trying to get back on track and explain all of the reasons you can do this job. And you want it so badly.
'There is just too many of you!' the interviewer laughs and it's not clear any more who is she talking about: immigrants or artists? Both are probably true anyway.
This is where I gave up, I think to myself as I'm walking with a credit card coffee around Hampstead Heath. Determined not to let it get to me, I make my way into the park to get something good out of the day. Wrong way in leads me to slip on piles of mud in my “elegant boots.” I'm lost and a huge dog runs up to me making a jump on my jeans. This is what you get, I think. This is what you get for sticking your nose where it doesn't belong – in a nice office with a good job and a decent salary.
Determined to get out of Hampstead Heath, but reluctant to go back to Wood Green, I finally reach the top and see so many people strolling or pacing around the Kenwood House. It's haunting me in its beauty because all I can think about is, what do these people do. Are they like me, looking for a quick escape or all locals, well off with no identity crisis on their minds. And who am I? Man, I have no idea. I only know that, apparently, there is too many of me.