I am a Goldfish.
Vampire sentences vanish in the grey of dawn’s light. All my Man Booker prize worthy sentences that manifest in the shower wash away with paraben free soap bubbles. I transcribe witty exchanges of dialogue onto business cards with a staccato pen. Hours later the words are illegible, nonsensical.
I roll phrases around my tongue like tic tacs, repeating them aloud over and over. Their worth is certain. But these ghostlike sentences are vaporous. They vanish into thin air leaving a frustrated aftertaste.
So that’s annoying, right?
Meanwhile it’s time for the annual directive from above. No, not God, she’s less communicative, head office. This lengthy emailed missive begins with an upbeat summary of the previous year. Double digit growth, a broadening independent base, solid gains and solid platforms.
I’m feeling anything but solid.
Budgets have been set and potential business identified on the world’s most complicated Excel spreadsheet. It’s the kind of spreadsheet that makes the synapses between my remaining brain cells implode. It cannot be printed out in a coherent form. There are so many headings, rows, columns and tabs that by the time I’m at the bottom, I’ve completely forgotten why I was there at all.
The National Sales Manager is mad for a spreadsheet. He is an Excel savant. As others turn to sudoku and cryptic crosswords, so he indulges in the mystical magic of numeric data forecasting and analysis.
This particular document does, however, appear to have been cobbled together from the Dead Sea Scrolls of previous contact lists. It’s possible some of them may still be in business. Wizened, wise and nostalgic for the days of the self winding Rolex Tudor Oyster.
I have been charged with reporting back on store level intelligence. A series of probing questions about our brands aimed at the managers.
I’ve been doing this a while now; levelling the odd casual question regarding display placement or best selling products to retail staff who, I can tell you, are only thinking about their next coffee break.
The new year manifesto includes a tacit suggestion that my failure to decimate and deliver this crucial information will result in the company’s ultimate downfall.
But no pressure.
So I’ve been on SEEK.com, you know, just checking things out and, I’m realising, once again, that my ad hoc approach to a career trajectory seems to be hampering the filtering system. I don’t fit into any boxes.
Where’s the category for experienced at life, able to spot a wanker at ten paces, appears smarter than actually is, able to string a reasonably coherent sentence together, loather of jargon, empathetic, can(not) leap tall buildings with a single bound?
Instead we have the sort of advertisements that read as follows:
Young start up seeks in-house writer to join the team. You are a radical, modern thinker with a wicked and off-beat sense of humour. You’ll thrive in our funky space with floor to floor slides and on-site gym. Utilise your exemplary Japanese language skills as you chat to our resident sushi chef. Create a bespoke office pod with our in house interior designer and master feng shui practioner. Join our Bollywood flash mob on the second friday of the month and then lounge at the kombucha bar for group chanting.
My first thought? OH&S. Slide.
Requisite qualities for every position is dynamism, passion, sense of fun and energy. So. Much. Energy.
I need a lie down.
I will also defer to Urban dictionary to help pimp my vocabulary for the one to two minute video bio I’ll need to load onto YouTube or Vimeo. Something casual recorded in a graffiti covered CBD lane way. I’ll be drinking a teeny cup of Kenyan Wamuguma and wearing a vintage cardigan. With some judicious filtering, I can pull this off.
It’s time to recruit a Millennial mentor. Someone to point out that pen and paper, much like the abacus, has been well and truly replaced. Some digitally savvy Gen Y prepared to talk me through my fear of Siri so I can finally dictate my belletristic prose.
My children just roll their eyes, so it will need to be someone else’s child.