Ed Hunter: Keeping Up Appearances

I’ve been a bit ageist recently. I’m not normally a fan of stereotypes. But I make exceptions for comedy reasons.

I’ve had a go at Millennials. I’ve had a go at Baby Boomers. I’ve had a go at those in-between.

Haven’t got around to Gen Z yet. No point really. They’re all out on their drones, taking selfies with MDs or promoting their eco-friendly wheatgrass shots on their hugely successful YouTube channels.

But look… the important thing is, no matter what generation you belong to, no matter what star sign you are, or how much your aura aligns with someone else’s shakra… you’re all Recruiters.

Meaning you’re all the same. Every last one of you.

And because you’re all the same, you’ll all be cursed by the ongoing effects working in recruitment bestows on you. Mainly, your physique.

Now, before anyone wades in with a “me too” story, this isn’t going to be sexist. This is a universal commentary on the state of ‘rigs’ across any gender, any company and any location. Yes… even Hull.


Graduates

A matter of months before you met your current Graduate intake, they were necking Jäger Bombs until 4am on a Tuesday, experimenting with extra-curricular activities and solving the morning hangover by staying in bed until 3pm.

That’s how they were able to write “exemplary at problem solving” on their CVs.

Despite this cocktail of abuse, they’re still in great nick. They say they get hangovers but don’t even know they’re born. They have no idea a Burger King on a Monday isn’t normal and don’t even have the decency to sit in the kitchen where the fumes are diluted by the stench of disappointment emanating from older, fatter colleagues.

Graduate Recruiters are ALL smug little know-it-alls. They eat what they want and view left over kebab as the perfect tonic to ease the Thursday morning come down from their all-night sesh, making grime tracks with their weird mates with fledgling careers in ‘spitting bars’. I’m convinced the penchant for loafers in younger Consultants is due to them struggling with laces.

Most of them cherish the moment they’re first told to come in cleanly shaven as it means they’re actually growing noticeable facial hair. Due to the popularity of Stone Island jackets in London gangster films, their fresh new suits have still got the tags on the arms to represent which firm they belong to.

The only decent retort about a smug Grad’s great physique is the inevitable impending gluttony they’re staring down the barrel of.

Trouble is… they refuse to accept it. So just settle for being ‘that person’ and bring up your billing history. Everyone hates that person. But not as much as they hate Grads.


Consultants

Despite the ‘joie de vivre’ Grads show, on their first foray into ‘Thirsty Thursdays’… they can’t drink.

They think they can, but they can’t. It’s probably the only cute thing about them. Oh, they can get drunk. But that’s not the aim of the game any more.

This is real life.

Not the VR version of real life they’ve been doing for the last 3 years. Recruitment drinking involves more alcohol than the Foundation Level Boozing Course at Uni, but this time, the aim of the game’s: Keep up WITHOUT making a dick of yourself.

Even if a Grad finds themselves in the heady position of keeping up because “I was actually on the rugby team at Uni”… you’ve still got to be at your desk for 8am Sonny Jim. And if you were on the rugby team, the onset of mid-twenties lard is close my friend.

This is where their physique starts to falter. The cockiness of a Grad, morphs into the self-assuredness of a full-blown Recruiter.

The gym’s no longer top priority. Placements are. And celebrating placements. Hard. While still getting up early. Meaning the gym happens ‘tomorrow’. The magical realm where empty promises reside.

Spoiling themselves is the new vogue. Every. Single. Day. They’ve even upgraded to the best gym package available so they can feel great about wasting even more money.

“Does your gym have a squash court though?” 

“Oh, do you wanna play squash? Didn’t know you played?”

“Can’t this week, behind on the KPIs”

The ‘Recruiter’s’ physique becomes haggard. Wrinkles show for the first time. The onset of sizeable girth arrives. The ‘slight niggle’ in their left leg’s the perfect excuse not to exercise. Which turns into a ‘long term injury’. Confounding their story about a failed trial at Charlton Athletic.

You’ve graduated your Graduate years. Well done champ. But your bloated, ruddied figure’s turning you into a Boris Johnson lookalike. And you’ve even perfected his hearty guffaw to the shit jokes your even fatter Director tells.


Senior Consultants

The blasé attitude they had in their younger years has turned to regret.

They used to say “I’ve just got one of those figures that stays on the slim side.”

Now that seems sarcastic and there’s a slight chuckle from their audience as eyes slowly move down to the waist. The Senior Consultant knows full well they can’t eat junk food throughout the week.

So they don’t.

They stay true to their ‘regime’ Monday to Thursday, ready for the wheels to fall off big time Friday to Sunday. You can see the tears swell as they tuck into their Friday Burrito at their desks.

The nachos weren’t needed. It’s just tradition. The first tear tastes of pain. The second, regret. The third, joy. Pure unadulterated joy. The weekend’s here. And goddamnit this burrito tastes amazing. Doesn’t matter I’ve thrown away the best years of my life calling people who don’t want to speak to me.

Most of the Senior Consultant’s calories don’t come from food though. Their drinking’s matured. They relish a rouge. They cherish a chaser. And as the drinking becomes more cultured, so do the hangovers. They have levels. Waves. Surprises. They catch you off guard mid-morning.

The great posture a Senior Con once boasted becomes an accepted slump. Shoulders hunched. Paunch relaxed.

This is the beginning of the end.


Principal/Team Managers

Oh you want to be a Team Manager and maintain your physique? That’s sweet.

Abandon hope all who enter here.

The paunch is now a fully bought and paid for pot belly. The mild wrinkles have evolved into creases. Creases frantically ironed out every morning with no change. The morning routine where you stand sideways with dropped shoulders poking things that wobble. Where’s this wobble come from?

“I didn’t use to wobble?”

The Principal or Team Manager probably has kids. Their more time-thrifty partner once bought them a t-shirt they hated ’cause they thought it was nice. But they weren’t honest and now they hate everything they wear.

Fashion’s a word they relate to being ‘trendy’. A word that’s not been fashionable since the 90s. Along with the bootcut jeans they still wear on Friday dressdowns.

No one wears bootcut any more champ. But keep wearing them, and in twenty years you’ll be laughing all the way down the ‘George’ aisle in Asda, doing that funny walk you think your kids love.

They don’t FYI.


Directors

The shit has hit the fan. 

Ironically, this lot are the most likely to body shame anyone else in the business. Their ‘social commentaries’ border on workplace bullying, but they pay the salaries. So it gets labelled as ‘light hearted banter’.

Sharing the same BMI as a pack of Pork Scratchings, Recruitment Directors gave up hope long ago. The only positive elements of their balance is the one they see doing online banking. The male versions have lost all remnants of hair and the female versions get offered seats on buses. Not that they’d be seen dead on a bus.

The Recruitment Director will have a better chair than anyone in the business. Why? Because it carries a heavier load and needs to be reinforced. They’ve also ‘got it just right’ and it’s naturally molded to shape, due to over exposure to extreme heat.

The years of abuse have caught up with them. Their voices are harsh and leathery. And they’ll have glasses they only use when speaking to the Accountant on the phone. This’ll normally be done from a boardroom lest they invoke laughter from the resentful room they dominate.


This is what we all have to look forward to Ladies and Gentlemen.

The only respite will be the sweet release of death. You’ll finally get a decent night’s sleep, and feel truly fashionable as you set unrealistic body image standards, parading round the church as a sultry size zero.

Shame you won’t be there to see it.

Ed x