20 Days of Chill 2020 - Spam

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Welcome back to 20 Days of Chill. Today's prompt is 


Everybody hates it, and even though there are programs that are supposed to filter out unwanted messages, it seems like every time you check your e-mail, there's a ton of clumsy attempts to sell a product, get in touch, extract money or just to get you to open an attachment or to click on a link that'll infect your computer.

I should know, I work in the business that gets to clean up contaminated notebooks.
Also, I'm in charge of our info@ inbox. Still I can't just hit shift / delete on a bunch of messages at a time, because every once in a while there is a legit e-mail.

As an HR person I've also handled recruiting@ accounts for different companies. Of course it's part of the job to screen tons of applications, and may I just say the following:

It's effing annoying to open two dozen pdf-files, each containing one scanned page of a recognition of attendance of some irrelevant course you completed 15 years ago. Nobody cares!!!

Attach a cover letter that tells me why I should proceed and even look at your CV. What interests you about our business, and what do you bring to the table that is of value for us? 

Here's how not to do it:


Find attached my resume.

John Doe

Here's also not how to do it, but in a different way, and this one touched me to the core. 

I worked for a job agency, and while I mostly took care of administrative people, my colleagues had many walk-ins, especially "unskilled" guys looking for construction work.

If I say unskilled, it is as opposed to having completed an apprenticeship, which is the regular way to learn any profession in Switzerland. For safety and liability reasons you can't let a guy who isn't certified operate the digger for example. 

If they had a decent appearance, we would give them a form to fill in and then conduct a speedy interview: this is what the jobs usually pay, are you OK with that, can you start tomorrow, you need to be at the site at 7am, how will you get there?

If they looked as if they had issues (smelling of alcohol, looking high on drugs or otherwise scruffy,) we'd tell them to make an appointment and bring a proper resume, fully expecting to never see them again.

One guy came back. 

I clearly remember him, even though this must have been at least 25 years ago (hence in a time before computers and spam e-mails), and I didn't even talk directly to him, it was my coworker who took care of him.

The guy's hand written "resume" was a ten page long essay detailing his life, from childhood until today. 

To say he had it rough would be an understatement. 

Biological Dad left, Mom struggled to get by, Stepdad treated him badly, teacher thought he was stupid, he had the wrong friends. So wrong that after dropping out of school and doing drugs, they decided it'd be a great idea to do an armed bank robbery and make some quick money, only that he got caught, while others managed to escape.

Photo by Larry Farr on Unsplash

In hindsight, he wrote, it was the best thing that could have happened to him. 

One of the wardens looked out for him, and for the first time, he had something like a Father figure to relate to. Interestingly the warden was the Dad of a girl whom I knew from school. Small world. 

Being in prison forced him to become clean and sober, and it gave his daily life some much needed structure and - for lack of a better word - purpose. He learned how to weld, and had his sentence been longer, he would even have become a certified welder, which would have helped him to find a job in the free world. 

Photo by boostinjay on Unsplash

My coworker gave him a chance and sent him to a job. He did great, we sent him to another job, which worked out as well. 

We were so happy. Here was a guy who turned his life around!

After a while we couldn't reach him anymore. Did he find a permanent job and managed to settle down? Was he sucked into pulling jobs and ended up behind bars again? We never found out what happened to him. 

My personal learning from meeting him was: I had it so well, and I thought this was just normal, which is true for a great majority of people in Switzerland, the land of cheese, chocolate, money and generous social benefits: 

Loving - yet sometimes annoying - parents, a home in a good neighborhood, decent schooling, nice friends, stable and healthy conditions to grow up in. 
Of course I pulled my own weight, I studied, I had summer jobs, I said no to smoking cigarettes and, well, other cigarettes. Except once, but that's a story for another day. 

In other words, I turned out well, and I realized how privileged this made me. 


My position at the agency gave me plenty of opportunity to help out people who didn't have the comfortable upbringing that I had. 

While I don't like to generalize, I have come to observe that all in all I found they lacked perseverance and a sense of reality.

If they were temping for three months straight and doing a good job, typically a company would offer them a permanent contract. Most didn't make it, though. 

It was too hard to get up in the morning, the boss gave them stupid work, the company had ridiculous rules and hours, they pay sucked, blablabla. 

What did they expect? From unemployed, unskilled help to big earner leading the high life without lifting a finger?

Have you heard of job openings like these..? Let me know in the comments below. 

Hope you'll be back for 4 more days of chill! In the meantime why don't you visit my fellow bloggers' posts over here.

Thursday, January 2: A new decade
Friday, January 3: Beautiful places
Monday, January 6: Is that chicken?
Tuesday, January 7: Show me the way
Wednesday, January 8: Naps
Thursday, January 9: Snow
Friday, January 10: Fri-Yay
Monday, January 13: Social Media
Tuesday, January 14: Cheddar
Wednesday, January 15: Dream on
Thursday, January 16: Popcorn
Friday, January 17: Snapshot
Monday, January 20: Last Meal
Tuesday, January 21: Battle of the Phones
Wednesday, January 22: Sign it in ink
Thursday, January 23: Spam
Friday, January 24: May I take your order?
Monday, January 27: A cocktail, if you will
Tuesday, January 28: Bring me to you
Wednesday, January 29: Oh, thank goodness!


  1. Well this post took a turn I didn't see coming! It's too bad you lost track of that guy, though. Would be interesting to see what happened. That's the one thing I truly love about technology -- it's a bit easier to see what somebody has been up to. Here's hoping he kept improving on life and became a great success!


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