Hired, Fired, Fled tells the story of Charlie Raymond, a graduate working hard to find the perfect job. As simple as that may seen, for Raymond it proves to be a very trying task. His search takes fifteen years, wherein he tries fourteen different jobs and travels across the world in the process. Along the way: he works as a safari guide in Africa; he later becomes a journalist for a local newspaper; and he also serves soup as part of a catering staff on a film set. To his audience, Raymond offers a real insight into all his experiences, good and bad.
He is very upfront in all the struggles he has faced: the cycle of searching for a job, the interviews, the rejections, and even the dealings with colleagues and bosses. Every job description ends with a brief summary, showing how each experience is another lesson learnt.
Although Raymond writes with an accomplished sense of humour, one that produces several laugh-out-loud moments throughout, wisely profound statements also come into play. In particular, he rebuilds himself very well after he’s wrongly accused of sleeping with the boss’s wife and, unsurprisingly, gets fired. For Raymond, a person’s character is measured most when you have to pick yourself up; it is all a test of endurance.
A particularly admirable aspect of Raymond’s journey is the fact he is willing to take any job available, even though he has a university degree. Undeterred by prejudice, he dedication and focus towards any job proves how much he wants to find a profession he truly loves.
However, that doesn’t mean that his readers will always be sympathetic. To be frank, there are times when Raymond is a complete idiot. An example of this is when, despite all the warnings, he gets inebriated at a ski resort, fully aware that he has to drive very early the following morning. Another indiscretion involves an occasion where he simply does not want to get up to work, and so tells his boss that she can figure it out herself. These errors in judgment can lessen the reader’s admiration towards Raymond, although this realistic honesty is a reminder that he is human.
The ultimate question of ‘what should I be doing with my days on Earth?’ is pondered by both Raymond and the reader. This common theme that runs through the book is extremely recognizable for anyone looking for a job in the 21st century. While we tend to think that we’ll end up in a comfortable job because of our university degree, sometimes the reality is a bit different. It is definitely not the same as university life. Raymond realises that everyone, degree or not, is completely unprepared for the real world; “because real life demands a plethora of skills that schools and universities fail to provide” (49).
This is a book that can be enjoyed by anyone: whether you identify with Raymond as a young, jobless graduate; or because you wish to pick up something from the lessons he shares. At the end of the story, Raymond manages to reach his goal by becoming a film director in a pinstripe suit. The ultimate question as to whether he is happy now, however, remains unanswered.
Hired, Fired, Fled by Charlie Raymond (Saxon Nomad Media, 2016)
Photo credit: Charlie Raymond