July 3 2018

Men Without Women By: Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami’s are talented indeed, each of the seven stories here (five of which have been previously published, four in The New Yorker and one in Freeman’s, while the remaining two – “An Independent Organ” and “Men Without Women” – are original compositions for this collection) a gem in and of its own right, but strung together they’re a sparkling strand of precious stones, the light refracted from each equally brilliant but the tones varying subtly.

The collection’s central concern is loneliness. “You are a pastel-colored Persian carpet, and loneliness is a Bordeaux wine stain that won’t come out,” explains the narrator of the final story, speaking of the myriad “Men Without Women”, among whom he counts himself. These figures take on a different guise in each of the tales – a widowed actor, musing on his dead wife’s affairs; a student who couldn’t bring himself to go all the way with his girlfriend, pimping her out instead to his friend; a lovesick plastic surgeon who starves himself to death after reading a book about the Holocaust; a single man under some form of house arrest, sleeping with his housekeeper; a divorced man who begins life again as a lonely barkeep; Kafka’s Gregor Samsa, transformed from insect into man, finding his feet in an unfamiliar world and thrown off them again by sexual desire; and a man whose girlfriends keep committing suicide.

They’re more than simply men without women though, they recognise an impossible gulf between the sexes – “I don’t think we can ever understand all that a woman is thinking,” Kafuku the actor declares – and how this connects to absences in their own identity: the doctor who wants to “reduce himself to nothing”; the bar-owner who feels disconnected from reality, fearful that he “doesn’t exist”; the student who professes to be someone he isn’t by means of an acquired accent; Kafuku who pretended all was well with his marriage.

The prose clear and refined – not to mention seamlessly translated from the original Japanese by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen – the unassuming quietness of these stories doesn’t mean they don’t hit home with when they need to, whether it’s by means of a single arresting sentence, the shock of a completely unanticipated eventuality – an otherwise sensible, cultured man refusing to eat, for example – or the lingering sense of expectant incompleteness that accompanies Scheherazade, in which a woman entertains her paramour with a striking post-coital story of obsession and desire from her teenage days.

Slightly at odds with the realism of the other tales, Murakami’s take on Kafka’s The Metamorphosis should jar, but instead it’s a rather delightful foray into the surreal that perfectly complements the melancholic, haunting tones of the other works.

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July 3 2018

Age vs. experience: how do they factor into the job hunting experience?

Long-time no blog It’s been a while since I updated my blog. I took a break actually. Today I am going to write a blog on Job hunting. I’m writing this from my own experience. Is age a real factor for getting a job? Yes it is. Age and Experience is not directly related. Once you are above 35 your experience doesn’t matter. I’ve seen and experienced that once you cross 35 it’s difficult to get a job. Why this age discrimination? It means people who have crossed 35 should not work and sit at home. Job hunting is becoming difficult. If you go for an interview either you are over experienced or you have crossed the age or if you are working in the same co. for long then it means you have no qualities so you didn’t get a job. It’s quiet astonishing. Can’t make out where we are leading. It seems that our values as a society have changed over the last decade or so. Where experience and quality were once highly regarded, we now live in a time where periodic upgrades are the benchmark, constantly replacing the out-dated. Everyone might have gone through this bad phase. I’ve knocked several doors for job. But the feedback I received was that I am over aged & above all over-experienced. Really shocking. Even if I reduce my years of experience in the resume I cannot reduce my age. The reason behind rejecting an older person due to over experience is because they have to pay more packages to the person. So they inform that Post-interview feedback as “We don’t think you can keep up with the fast pace,” age may be creeping in as a factor. I’ve seen several job seekers from the over 40 set turned down for positions for that reason. I’ve seen that even consultants will take you for a ride. Even if you get a job you have to compromise to a very lower salary.

Pre-judgements are often made based on age. I feel that Age is just a Number – Your Experience is What Counts. Old age is not a total misery. Experience helps. One thing that I would like to point out is that I am a firm believer that experience matters. If you have spent more time on something and have been through more battles in that field, what you say would definitely have more credibility than others. In the human capital market, it is true that experience is measured in years. Experience matters a lot, but more years of experience only matters if they were all filled with hours of productivity and learning.

Age should be something secondary compared to experience, but unfortunately age discrimination often affects both young and older people when seeking employment. Younger people are often favoured over older people especially with education and career opportunities. There is huge conflict with older people and recruitment agencies whereby older people are at a disadvantage of becoming employed compared to how easily a younger person gets a job. As a result, older people are either unemployed or become stagnant in their jobs with no motivation to move forward in a company due to the perception that opportunities only exist for young adults.

Recruiters often give preference to the younger candidate because they are able to work more years for the company without having to retire which would save the company on a pay out. Older candidates are also seen as reluctant to work flexible hours. Companies should take into consideration how a candidate will benefit the company but not allow the candidate’s age to be the determining factor.

Recruiters should focus on the experience of a candidate and how it can benefit the company. This does not necessarily mean that the older person would be favoured because age does not determine experience. A young candidate may have more experience in a certain field than an older candidate or vice versa. A candidate’s potential should be measured by achievements from his or her experiences and not by age.

Everyone is unique regardless of age. We are shaped by our experiences and that determines our personality and capabilities. Our age is nothing but a number that indicates how many years we walked the planet. What really matters is how our experiences can benefit ourselves as well as others.

“Experience is a revelation in the light of which we renounce our errors of youth for those of Age”

Age discrimination exists – it’s illegal, and it’s regrettable. “Age discrimination is against the law. Sadly, employers miss out on many highly qualified candidates if they consider age as a factor in the hiring decision. Hiring managers never take age into account when considering a job applicant.”

I love my age. Old enough to know better. Young enough not to care. Experience enough to do it right.

Don’t Let Age Discrimination Win.

Use the grey-hair factor as a selling point.

Retire honourably let others rise.

Finally: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis

I am by no means an expert in this and I am keen to learn from your experience. Pls. Share your views and opinions. If you really enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!

About the writer:  Sandhya is a Reader, Writer, Extrovert, Loving, Caring, Affectionate, Talkative, Abundant level of humor, loyal, Highly-organized, dependable, adaptable, Excellent ability to solve problem, Active,Self-esteem, multitasking, Sensitive, Jovial, Humble, Short-Tempered, Broad minded and she enjoys listening Music, Spiritual growth and cooking. She can be contacted on Blog, Twitter and Linkedin.

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