Spain is different. Everybody knows that. Starting with the habits of increasing food ingestion from a minute breakfast to a sumptuous dinner, continuing with the compulsive purchase of stock housing or the urgent necessity of getting a permanent job at any cost.
This essay has to do with the last of those assumptions. And with its implications in everyday life. Because who doesn’t want to have a post forever? Things have gone so wrong in the recent past in Spain, with the crisis and its over-elongated shadow, that top desires have changed from a lottery prize to a public job in the administration.
But there’s no easy way to work slavery. With a proportion of at least one post for twenty candidates, if not more, it is a path that a person knows when to start, but not when will be over.
A candidate is a difficult person. Even in his heyday, his mood will turn gloomer and darker than usual, his time for social life will be nonexistent, and his expectatives will go round the examination. No matter how much time one spends on studying, it is always insufficient, especially if there’s a family –parents, wife, children. For them, who understand but do not the situation, the feat is even harder. People who love you want to have good times with you, but you’re not in the mood. And contradictory feelings arouse. The candidate feels guilty because he can’t attend his personal and his professional life, and an aura of pessimism pervades everything.
One life is not enough to face the test. The challenger just wants the competitive examination to be over, to rest, to be the owner of his destiny, even if we are just talking about a couple of hours a week devoted to a long-forgotten minor occupation. And everything turns to be difficult. He doesn’t undestand the lack of comprehension of the others, who obviously are playing in another league. The relatives and friends demand their part of attention and care, and time is very limited, up to the point that, should the candidate have three lives to spend on exam preparation, he would take the three of them in studying and preparing.
But the real tragedy is not here. We have been taught that to a supreme effort a worthy reward must come, but this doesn’t normally occur with competitive exams. If you have, say 700 people for 40 posts, it doesn’t matter how good you are or if you deserve it. Fate doesn’t understand about divine justice and that stuff. The only thing that matters is to be one of the top forty in the examination. It has nothing to do with doing your work well or being the best, it is only about proving that you can do the best test attending to the established strange rules, those that normally have no relationshipship with the post you are applying to. Neither try to understand the assessment criteria or the professional capacity of the examination board: they always know less than you and probably less than the majority of your rivals. Nobody said it was easy, but it wasn’t fair, either.
If you or somebody in your family is undergoing this situation, good luck. You truly need it. Just to pass the exam successfully and to avoid conflict, divorce, distance, madness, remorse of those moments that will be lost forever. Maybe the expectations were, like those of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations’ Pip Pirrip, too great for somebody like you. But do not let yourself be disappointed by this pessimistic narrator. Maybe you are good enough and “it cannot be done” literature only manages to encourage you to try harder. Impossible is nothing, says Nike. It’s just quite difficult.