Last week a bunch of us were chatting about how searching and applying for jobs operates right now.

For me it helped to think about houses.

Some houses leave the front door wide open. 

Others keep it on the latch.

A few of the houses at the end of the street have fortified the door and installed some security systems.

And there are a couple of houses buried underground; bunker-mansions invisible to the eye.

The open front door presents a problem. There’s usually a hole in the floor as soon as you walk in. These holes go so deep it’s now becoming less worthwhile for humans to go down there and haul people out, so homeowners get computers to do it instead. 

If you’re lucky enough to be pulled from the hole, you may enter into slow and laborious back and forth in the hallway, after which you’ll be either be invited into the kitchen for an aperitif before being shown to your room, or tossed to the kerb.

If the door is on the latch you’ve got an extra half-second to notice the hole. Sometimes you notice, sometimes you don’t.

If the doors are fortified, alarmed, tagged – you either need the codes or some serious hacking or sales skills to get them to open.

And if the front door is hidden underground – you’re best off looking it up on a map first.

These days the front door is generally pretty pointless.

So what else?

There’s the side door. 

One of the tenants may let you in if you arrive with a friend or acquaintance they know and trust. Even then they’ll probably want to run a somewhat outdated check on your tenancy history before letting you stay over. And you may have to pay that acquaintance your first month’s rent.

Alternatively you can go around the back. 

Lodgers and tenants don’t have keys to the back door – only the leaseholder, building manager, and owners. And without matching varsity jackets or the deeds to a house in the next street, your chances of success just got cut in half.

But before you head next door or slink off to the grubby and dated apartment building on the next block with a broken boiler and a miser landlord, you could try something a little different.

Set up a firework display in the garden.

Paint a mural onto the garage door.

Show them how to get the car started on a winter’s morning.

Slip through the open kitchen skylight on a hot summer’s day.

Tunnel under the foundations.

Or go and build a treehouse of your own.

This particular real estate game is broken right now, but it’s changing.

If Jobs were Houses

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