Job Haunting

As part of New Creatives short film commissions, Job Haunting has been directed by illustrator and comic-artist Cath Garvey and animated by Fettle Animation. New Creatives is co-funded by BBC Arts and Arts Council England.

Job Haunting

You can watch 'Job Haunting' here

A young girl has decided upon her career. She knows exactly what she wants to do and where her passions lie. She has assessed her own strengths and weaknesses, knows her own abilities and disabilities and is confident in her dream job choice. She knows she wants to work with animals, as that’s where her real skills lie. She knows where she needs to start to get that first step on the ladder so in order to have any money and cover her living costs she signs on and attends the job centre whilst she applies for work. Simple enough, right? 

There is one problem: she is a ghost. 

When visiting the job centre, that is all the advisor sees. Her skills, talents and qualifications are ignored and instead she is judged upon her disabilities, her appearance and her first impressions. Prejudice and preconceptions overrules her own voice and abilities, and she is immediately informed – despite her insistence of knowing her own strengths – that there are no animal jobs. It turns out the job centre advisor has the ability to know all about a client's strengths and abilities in the matter of a few judgemental seconds and so immediately allocates her work that she believes all ghosts are good at it.

Funnily enough, this ghost isn’t good at these jobs. She faces a cycle of being sent to various employments that only vaguely connect to her dream career and often do not use her skills and strengths in the slightest. They are often jobs that she cannot do well, that she finds extremely difficult and that are impossible for her to succeed in. More than that, they are positions that most people don’t want, and leave her drifting further and further away from her desired profession.

If this all sounds familiar it’s because this is the system that jobseekers face continually. This short film is a striking social commentary. It calls out job centre assessments that are quick, robotic, based on discriminative biases, and often promote irrelevant work to highly skilled candidates. It shows that it can be even more difficult for candidates with disabilities and that their access needs can be overlooked or ignored leading to difficulties maintaining and keeping employment. They want to work but are constantly placed into environments which are unsuitable. This young girl is trying her hardest, but she is non-tangible and ghost looking, so there are only specific placements she can actually do. The system keeps throwing her into a loop, while failing to look at the underlying reason for her struggles.

Funny, perceptive and sharp in its delivery, Job Hauntings provides a familiar context for most working-class millennials. Animated through cartoon and comic-style artwork with additional voice acting, it is poignant, intelligent and insightful. It highlights the difficulty of young people to get started on their chosen career path and the barriers young people face to enter relevant employment. It uses humour to showcase the absurdity and irony of these situations whilst exploring the endless cycles and impossibility for opportunities that this system can create. It manages to be relevant, critical and meaningful whilst being entertaining, playful and decidedly supernatural. It raises awareness of a truly ghastly experience. 

Header Image Credit: Provided

Author

Mary Strickson

Mary Strickson Contributor

I love writing, blogging and reviewing on Voice and other online publications, covering a range of topics but I especially love the arts, activism, film and theatre. When I am not writing I work as an events photographer and artist/illustrator, as well as running workshops in schools and the community, mostly with young people. I'm also a huge history nerd, have a History BA, Art History MA and work in heritage. I love comics, superheroes and anything sci-fi.

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