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Just CAN'T get a job...

Before my passed my CFA level 1 I had no experience and only a university diploma. I was interviewed for an equity analyst for a small boutique Toronto firm. I didn’t get the job

Later I got hired in FX sales. Got some experience. Hated it. Left.

Right now, I’ve passed CFA level 1, gained financial services experience, and doing the CSC. Today I was interviewed for an intern equity analyst position with a boutique Toronto firm. I didn’t get it.

What is it about this ****ing position? The reply I get from the employer is “we found someone with skills more aligned with what the company needs” but they never tell you what ****ing skills. I’m so mad right now, like how the **** do I get a job. And each job requires experience, how the **** am I suppossed to get experience if I can’t get the ****ing job. And it’s like why interview me and then tell me I don’t have the right skills, how about not wasting my time.

I am steamed. And worried. If I can’t get the job that pays $0 how am I supposed to get the job that pays $40 000

You remind me of me two years ago… Its a hard market out there in general and I think Canada’s particularily tough since it seems to be a pretty saturated market. When I was job hunting like a mofo 2 years ago and considering moving back to Canada, I couldn’t even get interviews and I was applying everywhere, Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, etc..

It really is annoying though isn’t it; everybody wants some experience but how do you get it?

companies these days have realized they can find people with more experience then needed, and still successfully lowball them during hiring.

slowly and slowly, the best way to “break in” is through on-campus recruiting, unless you have solid experience to show or know someone well enough they get you in.

Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and greatest weakness.

krazykanuck wrote:

You remind me of me two years ago… Its a hard market out there in general and I think Canada’s particularily tough since it seems to be a pretty saturated market. When I was job hunting like a mofo 2 years ago and considering moving back to Canada, I couldn’t even get interviews and I was applying everywhere, Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, etc..

It really is annoying though isn’t it; everybody wants some experience but how do you get it?

What did you do Krazykanuck?

itera wrote:

companies these days have realized they can find people with more experience then needed, and still successfully lowball them during hiring.

slowly and slowly, the best way to “break in” is through on-campus recruiting, unless you have solid experience to show or know someone well enough they get you in.

Yeah, you’re right. In my mind intern positions are for people with absolutely no experience. And the people applying for them has so much experience, and the employer is like “wow, you got all this analyst experience, knowledge, and talent!? **** yeah, I’ll pay $0 an hour!” and then people like me, with other skills and other experience are left out.

ryanmackk wrote:

What did you do Krazykanuck?

I took a job in big 4 audit since it was the first offer I got and they’re always hiring. Hated the job, but I was able to leverage that experience into a better position with a bit over a year of experience. I knew I wanted out on day 1, so you need a plan to do what I did. I wanted to get out before I got branded with the “accountant” brush.

For that first job, the key is simply to get it. Also I think in hindsight you might realize it would have been better to stay in that FX sales job until you got a new job, assuming it was paid. Don’t let go of your current branch until you have a new branch to swing onto.

ryanmackk wrote:

…What is it about this ****ing position? The reply I get from the employer is “we found someone with skills more aligned with what the company needs” but they never tell you what ****ing skills. I’m so mad right now, like how the **** do I get a job. And each job requires experience, how the **** am I suppossed to get experience if I can’t get the ****ing job. And it’s like why interview me and then tell me I don’t have the right skills, how about not wasting my time.

Hopefully you didn’t use language like that in the interview.

I can understand your frustration, but please don’t use it here.

You want a quote?  Haven’t I written enough already???

You broke the first rule of career life - Never leave your current job without a new one lined up.  We cut two of our top candidates from our recent hiring process specifically because they left their jobs like that.  Very good, qualified candidates that would have been an excellent fit, but if you hightail as soon as you you get bored with that company, what’s to say you won’t do the same with us?

woodywoodford wrote:

You broke the first rule of career life - Never leave your current job without a new one lined up.  We cut two of our top candidates from our recent hiring process specifically because they left their jobs like that.  Very good, qualified candidates that would have been an excellent fit, but if you hightail as soon as you you get bored with that company, what’s to say you won’t do the same with us?

Yep this is good advice. I will use it for the next time. Amateur mistake on my part. It was just 8 hours of nothing but cold calling. With ridiculous quotas and if I didn’t have a phone in my hand I was questioned like “why aren’t you calling”, “why aren’t you working” and so on. But good advice non the less

bchad wrote:

ryanmackk wrote:

…What is it about this ****ing position? The reply I get from the employer is “we found someone with skills more aligned with what the company needs” but they never tell you what ****ing skills. I’m so mad right now, like how the **** do I get a job. And each job requires experience, how the **** am I suppossed to get experience if I can’t get the ****ing job. And it’s like why interview me and then tell me I don’t have the right skills, how about not wasting my time.

Hopefully you didn’t use language like that in the interview.

I can understand your frustration, but please don’t use it here.

Lol, come on. That is funny. Offended by language?

krazykanuck wrote:

ryanmackk wrote:

What did you do Krazykanuck?

I took a job in big 4 audit since it was the first offer I got and they’re always hiring. Hated the job, but I was able to leverage that experience into a better position with a bit over a year of experience. I knew I wanted out on day 1, so you need a plan to do what I did. I wanted to get out before I got branded with the “accountant” brush.

For that first job, the key is simply to get it. Also I think in hindsight you might realize it would have been better to stay in that FX sales job until you got a new job, assuming it was paid. Don’t let go of your current branch until you have a new branch to swing onto.

You moved to the US though, yeah? Did you get a job first then move, or did you go out on a limb and skip town to find a job in the US later?

ryanmackk wrote:

bchad wrote:

ryanmackk wrote:

…What is it about this ****ing position? The reply I get from the employer is “we found someone with skills more aligned with what the company needs” but they never tell you what ****ing skills. I’m so mad right now, like how the **** do I get a job. And each job requires experience, how the **** am I suppossed to get experience if I can’t get the ****ing job. And it’s like why interview me and then tell me I don’t have the right skills, how about not wasting my time.

Hopefully you didn’t use language like that in the interview.

I can understand your frustration, but please don’t use it here.

Lol, come on. That is funny. Offended by language?

I’m not offended, I just wouldn’t hire someone who talks trash in a professional environment. 

And if you keep writing full-out profanities here you will be banned.  So stop.

You want a quote?  Haven’t I written enough already???

You think I used profanities during my interview?

Also, you think my employers will be browsing this or any forum scouting for who I am really thinking “hmm I know his real life name…. but I wonder which of these thousands of people is his internet alias”

^ the real tragedy in being banned, is that you won’t have a shot at that killer dopp kit.

Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and greatest weakness.

bchad wrote:
Hopefully you didn’t use language like that in the interview.

I can understand your frustration, but please don’t use it here.

Let him vent a little bit…geeze.  We’re all adults and doubt anyone is offended by a rant of this nature.  

ryanmackk wrote:

You moved to the US though, yeah? Did you get a job first then move, or did you go out on a limb and skip town to find a job in the US later?

I was already in the US since I went to university here… I considered going back to Canada thinking the job market might be better, but didn’t find it any more attractive. Not to mention I don’t really like snow or high taxes so those were 2 more reasons to stay here. Getting a work visa definitely isn’t easy though, even if you are only from Canada.

wangta01 wrote:

bchad wrote:
Hopefully you didn’t use language like that in the interview.

I can understand your frustration, but please don’t use it here.

Let him vent a little bit…geeze.  We’re all adults and doubt anyone is offended by a rant of this nature.  

Firstly, I asked nicely, above.  I even said “Please.”

Secondly, I’m just asking people to cover up a few frkin vowels.  Is that such a burden in this f-d up world?

It really is a sippery slope.  All of a sudden, people start asking well, “so and so said f*ck; why can’t I say f*ck.”  And then we have to go through and parse everyone’s meaning and figure out if it was “offensive enough” or not to warrant a comment, when it’s commonly understood that profanities are not for public fora.

And this isn’t even the Water Cooler section, where - though fully spelled profanities are still not welcome - at least it’s understood to be a more lax environment.

People really want to be professionals in this industry? Then start friggin acting like professionals.

You want a quote?  Haven’t I written enough already???

Totally agree with you bchad…

Probably @ ryanmackk is not conscious that in this forum most (if not all)  people prefer more professional and civil language than the ones full with profanities. Hope this forum too does not stoops to that level where every page is scattered with profanities - your concern is very much valid.

“And it’s like why interview me and then tell me I don’t have the right skills, how about not wasting my time.”

Please remember they need ‘anyone’ with right qualities not necessarily you (of which qualification and experience are two main criterias only, refined communication skill and civility may be others) but for you at that moment that is the ‘only’ job you need (as you have consciously applied for it!)..

So, have the patience and courage to face the interview and prove your suitability , the skills they requiree in most cases are evident with little homework before you go for it (probably presuming they are likely to select you in any case!) - many do so on this forum itself enquiring what is required for such and such job etc.  Actually you are not showing your anger at the interviewers but only showing your frustration with yourself - since you are not able to do what you think is easy to do presuming Level 1 and the experience you have is invaluable for the company.

Just ‘to get a job’ do think in a cool manner and analyse what you need to highlight to prove you are still ‘good’ for the job they want to be done and either you already have the skills they require or if any deficiency you are confident to learn it sooner than later on the job. Go with an open mind and skillfully open them upto say what skills they require - one or two instances will equip with the right answers to vouch for those skills. No use using foul language or getting angry …. it ultimately depreciates you only and situation worsens. Best of luck next time.

bchad wrote:

Firstly, I asked nicely, above.  I even said “Please.”

Secondly, I’m just asking people to cover up a few frkin vowels.  Is that such a burden in this f-d up world?

It really is a sippery slope.  All of a sudden, people start asking well, “so and so said f*ck; why can’t I say f*ck.”  And then we have to go through and parse everyone’s meaning and figure out if it was “offensive enough” or not to warrant a comment, when it’s commonly understood that profanities are not for public fora.

And this isn’t even the Water Cooler section, where - though fully spelled profanities are still not welcome - at least it’s understood to be a more lax environment.

People really want to be professionals in this industry? Then start friggin acting like professionals.

LOL.  Agree to disagree.  

I didn’t mean to ruffle any feathers. I guess I’m used to guys letitng off steam every once in awhile - be it on the basketball court, at a bar after work while downing a couple beers, etc.  Using profanities in the work place, in the words of the CFA, “reflects poorly on you and your profession”, but this is not the work place so I give some leeway. And I don’t understand what the difference between straight up cursing and using the soft ball term “f-d up”  Same thing man!  :P  Anyways, I get your point - perhaps we just come from different backgrounds.  

bchad wrote:

wangta01 wrote:

bchad wrote:
Hopefully you didn’t use language like that in the interview.

I can understand your frustration, but please don’t use it here.

Let him vent a little bit…geeze.  We’re all adults and doubt anyone is offended by a rant of this nature.  

Firstly, I asked nicely, above.  I even said “Please.”

Secondly, I’m just asking people to cover up a few frkin vowels.  Is that such a burden in this f-d up world?

It really is a sippery slope.  All of a sudden, people start asking well, “so and so said f*ck; why can’t I say f*ck.”  And then we have to go through and parse everyone’s meaning and figure out if it was “offensive enough” or not to warrant a comment, when it’s commonly understood that profanities are not for public fora.

And this isn’t even the Water Cooler section, where - though fully spelled profanities are still not welcome - at least it’s understood to be a more lax environment.

People really want to be professionals in this industry? Then start friggin acting like professionals.

I agree with this - God knows I’ve got a truckers mouth myself, but it just doesn’t fit with the culture on AF.  Sounds funny saying that about a web forum, but 90% of us are professionals on here.  Let’s not turn it into WSO.

2 things:

1.)  (I live in Texas, a right-to-work state.  As such, our laws may be different from others.)  An employer will NEVER tell you why they didn’t hire you.  Maybe they didn’t like the color of your eyes.  Maybe they didn’t like your personality.  Maybe they thought you wouldn’t be a good cultural “fit”.  Maybe there was somebody who was legitimately more qualified.  The fact is–you’ll never know.  And they will never tell you, because that will only end badly for them.  The closest you’ll get is, “We felt like there were other candidates that more appropriately fit the needs of the position.” 

2.)  I believe that language is like clothing.  Sometimes a suit is appropriate, and sometimes Speedos are appropriate.  You need to learn to recognize what is appropriate and when.  Personally, I feel like people on this forum take some liberties with their language that are NOT appropriate for the time/place, but that’s just me.  The boardmembers see it differently.  But nonetheless, there are approximately 820,000 words in the English language.  Approximately 20 of them are offensive.  Can we not use the other 819,980?  Is your vocabulary really that small, that it’s difficult to find another word to use?  

82 > 87
Simple math.

Greenman72 wrote:

Sometimes a suit is appropriate, and sometimes Speedos are appropriate.  You need to learn to recognize what is appropriate and when.  

Wrong, Speedo is never appropriate (on a man).

you basically need to come from a target school pedigree/work at prestigious firm in the US/have a really good connection.

- AF hivemind

The Dow is at 15300+.

I don’t think employers need any more hires… I mean, they’re doing this well, why add onto the payroll and squeeze margins?

Only after the current workforce dies or retires significantly will they start hiring. At that point, you will be about 55 years old, if not dead already.

So not much one can do in the New World Order.

It’s a lost generation.  It’s sad the see the amount of qualified people unemployed or almost as bad, the amount of ambitious people that don’t get promoted because no one is expanding or retiring.

Inducted into the AF Hall of Fame, class of ‘17

^yes, for the generation you are speaking of , another unfortunate aspect is that the life (be it career or marriage or even general growth) has become highly competitive, in fact to the extent that it is cut-throat competiton where rules are neither straight nor above board in many cases. It (the competitve situation) being beyond their control, the impact is it makes many of them negative thinking (even in positive situations), impatient and self-doubting - affecting their confidence level as well as outlook towards others in a negative manner. Those who succeed have no complaints, those who can not - protests and criticise the sytem or process ( in worse cases go out witha gun in hand and shoots those innocent ones who have nothing to do with their plight!).

To add to their woes oppertunists individuals and organisation (from recruitment agents to highly placed professional organisations) have come up with many ideas / courses/ offers which promises overcoming this competition with some programmes or schemes( leading to some alphabets at the end of your name) which is supposed to equip one better to face the competition. Number of these programmes and courses are multiplying every day and helpless (and desperate , semi-informed or ignorant or even gullible )  individuals, though already qualified,  in the hope of improving their lot are falling pray to such attractions after going thro the beatifully presented websites or printed brochures and reading the feedback of some former students (may be only 5-10 out of thousands they claim to have beniffited from these offerings!).   In most cases these promises are vague at the least and totally false at the worst. So, increased frustration is ingrained in such efforts, whether it is passing CFA level 1 or aquiring some lesser known alphabets (which are often raised in this forum too). Who is responsible for this situation is the moot question.

  .

Expand a bit on marriage becoming highly competitive.  Are you saying it’s harder to find someone today?  If so, I disagree.  People are just more picky and comfortable in their single lifestyle.

Inducted into the AF Hall of Fame, class of ‘17

Some people are making millions though.  That makes it all better, doesn’t it?

You want a quote?  Haven’t I written enough already???

former trader wrote:

It’s a lost generation.  It’s sad the see the amount of qualified people unemployed or almost as bad, the amount of ambitious people that don’t get promoted because no one is expanding or retiring.

Just to kind of expand on this, I think we’re going to see continued gaps between haves and have nots in society with income growth and the good jobs sticking with the people who are already there. Upward socio-economic mobility is getting more difficult with the increased costs of university, burdensome debt, lack of good paying jobs, and limited upward career mobility. Figuring out how to successfully navigate that is going to be crucial for obtaining a secure career and future.

Although I’m an econ and finance guy, sometimes I like to get in touch with my social side. At my age tons of people are getting engaged and married and I think that household formations will continue to increase what I’ve already said because people tend to get with people who are like them, so people with good careers will probably marry similar types, and people who have sh*tty jobs aren’t likely to attract and retain a spouse with a solid future that could help raise them and their eventual family up the social ladder.

@former trader said, “Expand a bit on marriage becoming highly competitive.  Are you saying it’s harder to find someone today?  If so, I disagree.  People are just more picky and comfortable in their single lifestyle.

First let me expand on your first part. Increase in ‘competition’ whether in marketing or selling a product (successfully being able to achieve the sales target)  or marketing talent  for job or specific task (leading to a fruitful and mutually satisfying  job or contract for a reasonably assured period) or in this case succeeding in finding a life partner (by converting a relationship into a successful  marriage) simply means two things. First, a lesser freedom of choice or flexibility due to more compromise and adjustments needed to meet (or knock off) the competition  and , secondly, decrease in the ‘guarantee’ element of permanence and/or  durability and retention of  the achieved results /status.  For the first two elements i.e. marketing /selling and job these are obvious, the debilitating impact of markedly high competition may have lead to on one hand, as bchad points out,  “some people making millions” (how much of it is by  what means, ethical or otherwise, is a different question altogether as increased competitiveness makes more people meeting the challenge of seemingly unfair competition by cutting corners - more often than not leading to more and more ‘bubble bursts’ and scandals of mega magnitude and enormous job-losses) on the other hand has played havoc with simple and dignified aspirations of many deserving individuals who are disadvantaged purely because of the pressure of high competition which is often unreasonable or inconsistent with the gains (due to whatever reasons it may be from recession to use of ever changing latest technology to outsourcing for cheap labour and more profit or even as a result of wrong policies of any country’s governance). The fact remains it helps a few but  hinders (by delaying to totally obstructing)  a reasonable chance of success to many more (the OP is a typical example of that!).

Similar is the impact on  the institution of ‘marriage’ – what started as a means of leaving together till ‘death part us’ to a simple contract of convenience with  business like dealing with pre-defined terms of contract. This reflects both the signs of increased stiff ‘competition’ stated above, i.e.  a lesser freedom of choice or flexibility and decrease in the ‘guarantee’ element of permanence and/or  durability and retention of  the achieved status. The increasing number of single mothers ( as the case of ’single fathers’ is not so much felt in developed and developing societies due to social and economic reasons – though it is no less identifiable) and breaking marriages accompanied by ‘lesser’ duration of married status (see any study on divorces in the current period in any country) are all indications of the impact of undue  increase in competitiveness to “remain happily married”. @Krazy kanuck has rightly highlighted the same by pointing out that the increased  competition  even in the ‘marriage market’ has put the less competitive ones reducing their ability to “attract and retain a spouse with a solid future that could help raise them and their eventual family up the social ladder” even if they are otherwise equally competent or able to do so in a lesser competitive environment (which must have been the case till a few years back). It is not a mere question of increase in the number of ‘household formation’ but more of a question of social stability (stable family systems leads to growth of the nation as the family is the basic unit of growth of a nation), long-term values (increasing permanence of relationship and mutual trust only cultivate values in the next generation) and sustainable culture (when every one is more bothered about fulfilling the ‘minimum’ parameters of the marriage contract like a business deal rather than human relationship for social cause – culture of the group  is the first casualty). All these aspects made me feel I should mention career and marriage as affected aspects of ‘life’ when we talk of increasingly cut-throat competition of today.

Now your question , “Are you saying it’s harder to find someone today?” The answer is yes and no, depending on who is looking for the ‘somone’. Above @Krazy kanuck has rightly highlighted the same by pointing out that the increased  competition  even in the ‘marriage market’ has put the less competitive ones reducing their ability to “attract and retain a spouse with a solid future that could help raise them and their eventual family up the social ladder” even if they are otherwise equally competent or able to do so in a lesser competitive environment (which must have been the case till a few years back). Moreover, it may not be harder for someone   (gay or straight does not matter) to find ‘someone’ who is somewhat the type of human being one is looking for as a partner for some time or even as a ‘live in’ partner but when it comes to looking for someone with whom you wish to spend the life with reasonable happiness and dignity it is certainly more difficult due to limiting choice ‘within your strata’ as it is more or less defined by the degree of competitiveness in the society you are part of.  

“If so, I disagree.  People are just more picky and comfortable in their single lifestyle” – what is their to disagree! As long as one is comfortable in single life he has not entered the competition so for him there is no competition and hence for him the social (market) conditions  becomes irrelevant. If you are not in the job market and would prefer to do nothing or do own venture it does not matter how competitive is the job market (though in the later case success of your venture will directly depend on  the competitiveness of the market of your service /product.)

Yes, people have become just more picky. But why? To stay in the competition (believe it or not one’s family and partner has more +ve or –ve influence on one’s competitiveness even in job market much more than before – think about it or ask some one who simply could not accept attractive propositions just because of partner’s or family limitations, you will realise) and the fear of losing out makes them more cautious and hence more picky.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

There were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face, on the throne of England; there were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a fair face, on the throne of France. In both countries it was clearer than crystal to the lords of the State preserves of loaves and fishes, that things in general were settled for ever.

It was the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five. Spiritual revelations were conceded to England at that favoured period, as at this. Mrs. Southcott had recently attained her five-and-twentieth blessed birthday, of whom a prophetic private in the Life Guards had heralded the sublime appearance by announcing that arrangements were made for the swallowing up of London and Westminster. Even the Cock-lane ghost had been laid only a round dozen of years, after rapping out its messages, as the spirits of this very year last past (supernaturally deficient in originality) rapped out theirs. Mere messages in the earthly order of events had lately come to the English Crown and People, from a congress of British subjects in America: which, strange to relate, have proved more important to the human race than any communications yet received through any of the chickens of the Cock-lane brood.

France, less favoured on the whole as to matters spiritual than her sister of the shield and trident, rolled with exceeding smoothness down hill, making paper money and spending it. Under the guidance of her Christian pastors, she entertained herself, besides, with such humane achievements as sentencing a youth to have his hands cut off, his tongue torn out with pincers, and his body burned alive, because he had not kneeled down in the rain to do honour to a dirty procession of monks which passed within his view, at a distance of some fifty or sixty yards. It is likely enough that, rooted in the woods of France and Norway, there were growing trees, when that sufferer was put to death, already marked by the Woodman, Fate, to come down and be sawn into boards, to make a certain movable framework with a sack and a knife in it, terrible in history. It is likely enough that in the rough outhouses of some tillers of the heavy lands adjacent to Paris, there were sheltered from the weather that very day, rude carts, bespattered with rustic mire, snuffed about by pigs, and roosted in by poultry, which the Farmer, Death, had already set apart to be his tumbrils of the Revolution. But that Woodman and that Farmer, though they work unceasingly, work silently and no one heard them as they went about with muffled tread: the rather, forasmuch as to entertain any suspicion that they were awake, was to be atheistical and traitorous.

In England, there was scarcely an amount of order and protection to justify much national boasting. Daring burglaries by armed men, and highway robberies, took place in the capital itself every night; families were publicly cautioned not to go out of town without removing their furniture to upholsterers’ warehouses for security; the highwayman in the dark was a City tradesman in the light, and, being recognised and challenged by his fellow-tradesman whom he stopped in his character of “the Captain,” gallantly shot him through the head and rode away; the mail was waylaid by seven robbers, and the guard shot three dead, and then got shot dead himself by the other four, “in consequence of the failure of his ammunition:” after which the mail was robbed in peace; that magnificent potentate, the Lord Mayor of London, was made to stand and deliver on Turnham Green, by one highwayman, who despoiled the illustrious creature in sight of all his retinue; prisoners in London gaols fought battles with their turkeys, and the majesty of the law fired blunderbusses in among them, loaded with rounds of shot and ball; thieves snipped off diamond crosses from the necks of noble lords at Court drawing-rooms; musketeers went into St. Giles’s, to search for contraband goods, and the mob fired on the musketeers, and the musketeers fir on the mob, and nobody thought any of these occurrences much out of the common way. In the midst of them, the hangman, ever busy and ever worse than useless, was in constant requisition; now, stringing up long rows of miscellaneous criminals; now, hanging a housebreaker on Saturday who had been taken on Tuesday; now, burning people in the hand at Newgate by the dozen, and now burning pamphlets at the door of Westminster Hall; to-day, taking the life of an atrocious murderer, and to-morrow of a wretched pilferer who had robbed a farmer’s boy of sixpence.

All these things, and a thousand like them, came to pass in and close upon the dear old year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five. Environed by them, while the Woodman and the Farmer worked unheeded, those two of the large jaws, and those other two of the plain and the fair faces, trod with stir enough, and carried their divine rights with a high hand. Thus did the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five conduct their Greatnesses, and myriads of small creatures- the creatures of this chronicle among the rest- along the roads that lay before them.

IT WAS the Dover road that lay, on a Friday night late in November, before the first of the persons with whom this history has business. The Dover road lay, as to him, beyond the Dover mail, as it lumbered up Shooter’s Hill. He walked up hill in the mire by the side of the mail, as the rest of the passengers did; not because they had the least relish for walking exercise, under the circumstances, but because the hill, and the harness, and the mud, and the mail, were all so heavy, that the horses had three times already come to a stop, besides once drawing the coach across the road, with the mutinous intent of taking it back to Blackheath. Reins and whip and coachman and guard, however, in combination, had read that article of war which forbade a purpose otherwise strongly in favour of the argument, that some brute animals are endued with Reason; and the team had capitulated and returned to their duty.

With drooping heads and tremulous tails, they mashed their way through the thick mud, floundering and stumbling between whiles, as if they were falling to pieces at the larger joints. As often as the driver rested them and brought them to a stand, with a wary “Wo-ho! so-ho-then!” the near leader violently shook his head and everything upon it- like an unusually emphatic horse, denying that the coach could be got up the hill. Whenever the leader made this rattle, the passenger started, as a nervous passenger might, and was disturbed in mind.

There was a steaming mist in all the hollows, and it had roamed in its forlornness up the hill, like an evil spirit, seeking rest and finding none. A clammy and intensely cold mist, it made its slow way through the air in ripples that visibly followed and overspread one another, as the waves of an unwholesome sea might do. It was dense enough to shut out everything from the light of the coach-lamps but these its own workings, and a few yards of road; and the reek of the labouring horses steamed into it, as if they had made it all.

Two other passengers, besides the one, were plodding up the hill by the side of the mail. All three were wrapped to the cheekbones and over the cars, and wore jack-boots. Not one of the three could have said, from anything he saw, what either of the other two was like; and each was hidden under almost as many wrappers from the eyes of the mind, as from the eyes of the body, of his two companions. In those days, travellers were very shy of being confidential on a short notice, for anybody on the road might be a robber or in league with robbers. As to the latter, when every posting-house and ale-house could produce somebody in “the Captain’s” pay, ranging from the landlord to the lowest stable nondescript, it was the likeliest thing upon the cards. So the guard of the Dover mail thought to himself, that Friday night in November, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, lumbering up Shooter’s Hill, as he stood on his own particular perch behind the mail, beating his feet, and keeping an eye and a hand on the arm-chest before him, where a loaded blunderbuss lay at the top of six or eight loaded horse-pistols, deposited on a substratum of cutlass.

The Dover mail was in its usual genial position that the guard suspected the passengers, the passengers suspected one another and the guard, they all suspected everybody else, and the coachman was sure of nothing but the horses; as to which cattle he could with a clear conscience have taken his oath on the two Testaments that they were not fit for the journey.

“Wo-ho!” said the coachman. “So, then! One more pull and you’re at the top and be damned to you, for I have had trouble enough to get you to it!- Joe!”

“Halloa!” the guard replied.

“What o’clock do you make it, Joe?”

“Ten minutes, good, past eleven.”

“My blood!” ejaculated the vexed coachman.

http://www.literature.org/authors/dickens-charles/two-cities/book-01/chapter-02.html

Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and greatest weakness.

Hah, I see what you did there