Probably, I am too emotional. Yes, that is perhaps the reason why I am upset. Otherwise, I would have found perfectly “normal” that someone during a job interview had treated me as if I were emotionless. I have heard it many times: do not take it personally, you must leave emotions outside, be practical…
Practical. That is the answer I heard on the phone, from the person I asked why I was not being invited for a “personal” interview, face to face, not on the telephone –which is an object that is rather impersonal and misleading- the voice said: “for practical reasons”.
What has choked me here? Not the fact that I was being rejected, after all, these are “inhuman times” and one gets rejections right and left and learns to cope with them. What has choked me in this case has been the sum of elements surrounding this rejection.
First of all, the job position in question: a volunteer function helping with a photographic digital archive and social media posting. This is a job I consider far bellow my technical, “practical” and intellectual skills, but anyway… In principle, anyone who dares to ask somebody to give his/her time out of their own free will, in exchange for no remuneration at all, should be -again, in principle…- at least a little bit “emotional” and allow “practicalities” to take second place. Anyone who asks for “volunteers” should be thankful that there are people willing to be a volunteer. However, it seems that nowadays it is becoming the other way round: volunteers increasingly need to be grateful for an unpaid job.
The organization I offered my services to as volunteer, found it “practical” to interview me by phone. This, I considered completely impractical given the combination of three factors: job interview, not in my mother tongue and without time to prepare myself for it.
A number of my friends have given me the “go with the flow-get on with it-this is how it works now-learn from it” speech, but given that I have a mind of my own… I have an alternative answer: human without emotions is the same as being a robot…Therefore I have a doubt: was the person who interviewed me on the phone actually not human but a computer generated voice?
Secondly, an organization that defines itself as one that aims to help people, should at least acknowledge this fact: emotions are an essential element in people. In consequence, human emotions should also be taken into consideration at the time of determining, for example, recruitment policies. However, this particular organization I am referring to, let us name it openly “Action Aid” (location in the Netherlands) , seems to be one that, while strongly involved in helping people abroad, in non-Western countries, neglects people -and issues concerning injustice- at home, in Western countries. In any case, practicality seems to be their priority.
What does practicality (being practical) mean within this context? It means being efficient and useful, two aspects connected basically with economy -profit-organisations- and not with people and non-profit-organisations. To what extent does this “practicality” help to support Western economy? Probably to a large extent, and to what extent does it help people? I suppose it helps as long as the people are willing to go with the flow imposed by the Western economic system (unfortunately under a lot of pressure and falling apart…) which brings me to my third point of concern.
Should we look more deeply at NGO’s and analyze in greater depth what their aims are (and whose interests) are they supporting and the manner in which they are supporting them?
In short: I simply think they should practice what they preach. Action Aid, if you are human- oriented abroad why are you economy-oriented at home (location the Netherlands)? I think you should give more attention to these “little details” that can give you away,for example: in the way you prioritize practicality when interviewing candidates for a job (whether its a volunteer or not).