CE Chapter 2

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Chapter 2 July’s Memories

On that day last year, it was also this sweltering hot. Zhao Lingjun, who was exceptionally dressed up as if he was going to a blind date, left his campus in high spirits, and waved his hand to flag a taxi. If a stranger saw Zhao Lingjun, they would most likely assume that he was a high-rolling white-collar worker, going to a high profile blind date. But in fact, at the time Zhao Lingjun was only going to attend a large job fair.

Before this job fair, there had been countless other job fairs held in this city. However, Zhao Lingjun’s luck was not always very good. A few months ago, because Zhao Lingjun stole a peek at a beautiful young girl in the canteen, he did not pay attention to the broken step below his feet. Because of that, while holding onto his bowl filled with hot rice and sides, he performed an unparalleled imitation of the wind and fire wheel [1] at the stairs entering the dining hall.

At that moment Zhao Lingjun amazed everyone, because after rolling down from that ten to twenty step stairs, his face was surprisingly still glowing with vigour, without losing any of its original complexion.

Zhao Lingjun’s friend who was beside him at the time was thoroughly impressed by the scene that played out. During a split second when he was rolling down the steps, he threw the bowl of food in his hands at lightning speed. Then while still rolling, he used both of his hands to protect his face.

Although Zhao Lingjun’s face was protected, the consequences of performing his unparalleled imitation of the wind and fire wheel was a lame leg.

Finding that Zhao Lingjun had fractured his leg, his friend while sending him to the hospital asked, “Why did you cover your face so incessantly? You are neither a female, nor do you rely on your face for a living.”

“When I woke up this morning, I used some skin care products. If my face had been damaged, I would be very sorry towards both the skin care products and this face of mine.” Zhao Lingjun replied.

Actually, as a man, injuring one leg was not too big of an issue, as long as it was not that one in the middle. However because of this, Zhao Lingjun became Tieguai Li [2] and thus missed a good few months of job fairs.

Only when all the students filed out of the school one by one, did Zhao Lingjun find out who had not found a job, and it was only him.

That day’s job fair, was already the last major job fair for that year’s graduates. The graduates seeking for employment knew that they had to at least secure their jobs at least seven months before graduating. This year’s July graduates had long secured their jobs. Those who were like Zhao Lingjun, were already considered the slowest of the slow, the last of the last.

While sitting in the taxi, Zhao Lingjun gave off an extremely graceful feeling. He felt that a good career was right before his eyes. With millions of dollars to his name and beautiful women waving at him.

On the way to the job fair, the taxi driver chatted with Zhao Lingjun. “Bro, you should be going to participate in the job fair, right?” the taxi driver asked.

“How did you know?” Zhao Lingjun was very surprised, because he only told the driver the address and did not say that he was going to attend a job fair.

“A few years ago, I also went there for a job fair.” The taxi driver smiled and said, “Back then, I was the same as you. I was also in my prime, with high spirits, carrying lots of documents and information, wanting to pursue the value in life.

“Really?” Zhao Lingjun looked at the taxi driver in surprise, “Then why did you end up as a taxi driver?”

“Heh heh.” The taxi driver laughed and said, “There is no choice, nowadays the working world is very ruthless. The wages paid aren’t even enough to provide for myself. Therefore in the end, I chose to be a taxi driver.”

“Oh really?”

Zhao Lingjun sighed in his heart, and assumed that this was just a ruse to put him down. Nowadays, the number of university students increases on a yearly basis. Some universities didn’t expand their facilities, yet the number of students kept increasing every year. Many second rate university students had difficulty finding jobs, this guy in the end couldn’t find a job. Those who had no choice but to be a taxi driver were definitely those second rate university students. Luckily for me, HD University, School of Science and Engineering is a well known school throughout the nation.

Once he thought of this, he felt a little complacent. Unable to resist he asked one sentence. “Big bro, what university did you graduate from?”

“Oh me? FD University, School of Physics.” The taxi driver sighed, “It’s a pity that after so many years, what I had learnt is almost completely forgotten.”

“What?” Zhao Lingjun blinked a few times, and almost lost consciousness.

***

He must have been lying to me. After alighting from the taxi, he looked at the not too distant XX Exhibition Center, which was where the major job fair was being held at. Zhao Lingjun was still thinking about the taxi driver from before.

Zhao Lingjun felt that the driver had definitely been joking, because the field that the driver randomly said, was unexpectedly exactly the same thing Zhao Lingjun specialized in. Also, FD University was the nationwide’s second best university, if not the first. When compared to HD University, which Zhao Lingjun graduated from, it could only be regarded as a roadside weed.

This guy’s grades were most definitely very lousy, Zhao Lingjun walked while making a conjecture about the driver. When in school, this guy must have played games all day, fished for girls. His transcript was definitely horrible beyond all recognition, only then would he have had this kind of outcome.

Zhao Lingjun thought about his four years in university. To be honest, his grades in his field of study were nothing to be scoffed at, his 4th year was cleared easily, in his 2nd and 3rd years he obtained a scholarship. With this he felt that he could not be compared to those idle people, and his future was definitely bright.

Once he thought of how bright his future would be, Zhao Lingjun could not help but hum “We strode towards a new era.” and walked straight towards XX Exhibition Center.

At the exhibition center’s entrance, Zhao Lingjun was already dumbfounded.

It can’t be that China’s long implemented family planning policy wasn’t effective at all right? Looking at the swarm of densely packed people at the exhibition center’s entrance, Zhao Lingjun felt his enthusiasm wither.

After queuing for almost an hour, he bought a 5 yuan entrance ticket. After which he finally stepped into the hell-like XX Exhibition Center’s event hall.

Once he entered the hall, he did not have any freedom of movement and was unsteady due to the surging crowd. It turned out that the density of the crowd in the hall was even thicker than that outside. Zhao Lingjun wanted to cry but there were no tears. He helplessly went along with the flow of people while lost in thought.

In Zhao Lingjun’s imagination, the job fair would have innumerable good organizations just waiting for talents just like himself to serve. At the booths, there would definitely be a gentle and beautiful young lady, and a charismatic manager sitting patiently, waiting for me to deign myself to hand over my resume. That manager would then meticulously browse through it, smile excitedly, and tell me, “Good, you’re just the talented worker our company is looking for! From tomorrow onwards, you can start working at our company, your pay will be XXXX dollars. If your performance is good, there would also be a bonus every month.”

But after only spending one minute onsite, Zhao Lingjun understood that his thinking was much like when a child blew soap bubbles, looking up at the vibrant colours, but with just a light touch it would burst into oblivion.

Zhao Lingjun searched for half a day, and he still had not found many companies suited to his field of study. Even if there were a few companies looking to employ people of his specialization, the area in front was so filled with people, even a two pin plug could not be inserted in.

Right now, Zhao Lingjun seemed to finally understand why there were so many of his classmates that in the end did not choose a job that was affiliated to their specialization.

When still squeezing with the swarm of people until his face was flushed from the annoyance, Zhao Lingjun thought of the ancient story of a person bending his waist just for four kilograms of rice and felt very embarrassed. However while still alive, people had to eat. Being unemployed after graduation was evidently letting down both the people and the government for so many years of education. Therefore Zhao Lingjun resolved to continue persevering for a job even if he was squeezed to the last drop of energy.

After spending several hours, Zhao Lingjun had finally handed out three copies of his resume.

The first company was a public institution, when Zhao Lingjun was fighting with the crowd to hand over his resume, a sleepy young man did not even spare a glance and placed Zhao Lingjun’s resume on a mountain of other resumes. Then the young man shouted, “Next person.”

The second company was a foreign owned one, and relative to the first company’s recruiter, this person was more professional.

This booth’s recruiter used a speed of one second per page to flip through Zhao Lingjun’s resume, and interviewed him, “Student, has your English passed 6th grade? Are you fluent in any other languages? Can you use English to converse fluently with other people? You…”

Before this booth’s recruiter had finished talking, Zhao Lingjun was already embarrassed and wanted to escape.

The third company had great interest in Zhao Lingjun. After carefully looking at his resume, the recruiter was an old man with a head full of grey hair, seriously said to Zhao Lingjun, “I’ve already inspected your resume thoroughly, other than becoming a member of the Communist Party of China, your other conditions are very decent. Our company is very interested in you. Our company is owned by the state, the wages and benefits are already considered not bad. The base wage is 850 yuan, with food, lodging, and transport allowances, a dormitory room for 4 people, which even includes a toilet. If you think it is suitable, then sign the contract.”

When leaving the third company’s booth, it was already slightly past 3 pm in the afternoon, and the job fair would end in less than an hour.

Zhao Lingjun who had not eaten any food since morning, looked at the surging crowd in front of each of the booths and mournfully thought, “It cannot be that in the future, I will only be able to drive a taxi right?”


[1] Short story: He spun in the air. Long story: Refers to Nezha’s wind and fire wheels. Verbatim from wikipedia “In the mythological story Fengshen Yanyi, the Immortal Taiyi gave Nezha a wind-wheel and a fire-wheel. These were stood on whilst chanting incantations, to serve as a magic vehicle.” Click here to find out more about Wind and fire wheels. Click here to find out more about Nezha ↩
[2] Tieguai Li – Short story: Man on a crutch. Long story: A person in Chinese folklore who always walked with an iron crutch. Click here to find out more. ↩


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