A Guide to Non-Jobs – All you need to know about the 50 easiest roles of the 21st century by Antigone Gone and Ted Lite
Professions which get the full blow torch: Actor – Ambassador – Banker – Book Reviewer – Careers Advisory Officer – Caretaker – Case Manager – Comedian – Compliance Officer – Composer – Consultant – Curator – DJ – Driving Instructor – Film Producer – Funeral Director – Golf Course Greenkeeper – Hairdresser – Landlord – Librarian – Marketing Manager – Marriage Counsellor – Meteorologist – Model – Musical Adjudicator (classical and popular) – National Park Ranger – Newspaper Editor – Parent (mother and father) – Physical Education Teacher – Pimp – Politician – Print Journalist – Property Manager – Professional Orchestral Musician – Prostitute – Psychiatrist – Psychologist – Public Servant – Quality Control Manager – Rock Journalist – Salesperson – Security Guard – Soldier – Sports Administrator – Sports Commentator – Taxi Driver – Tour Guide – Train Driver – Tobacco Sales Rep – TV Camera Operator
Two samples: Consultant and Marketing Manager
A consultant shares innumerable similarities to a rent boy ... selling the same tired recommendations to a Consultant
hundred different people. Entering the room with sagging eyes and a wan smile he'll tell you how to adopt a new structure with a quarter less employees, outsource payroll, adopt best practice inventory, buy my mate's asset management software, headhunt don't promote, involve your stakeholders, bleh ba bleh ba bleh ... and 90% of this crap was used in their last job for your competitorâ€Ś In fact the biggest challenge of the job is to consistently change the old clientâ€™s corporate logo with yours throughout the final report and to make the tables and graphs look like they respond to the consultation process that occurred at your
firm. Consultation appears in the flowchart as an input and recommendations, are of course an output -- but the client is not, on any account, to suspect that there is in fact no correlation between the 'institutional audit' and what the consultant says actually needs to be done. Hence everyone gets interviewed conscientiously and everything is presented on glossy paper of unimpeachable quality.
Office life is a game of managing expectations - in the consultant's case under-promising and over-delivering is the chosen modus operandi so he downplays the input as "stakeholder feedback" or "attitudinal surveys" or "team member interviews" and then oversupplies graphic representations of performance measurement and gives such a broad range of implementable executive recommendations that the CEO is sure to be pleased. The consultant does have to tirelessly massage the CEO in turns with solicitude and reassurance that the reforms won't go too far but the dividend is his endorsement for the next job. When working for NGOs likes to put "commercial in confidence" all over the draft report, makes them feel a bit special, reinforces the
sensitivity of the information contained therein.
A consultant is also somewhat akin to a concentration camp guard...in the interviews loves to see the fear flashing across the worker's eyes...will I get axed or not?
It all begins at the group retreat. It's a function where people are made to engage in uncomfortable and embarrassing communication exercises with each other on the pretext of opening their mind (and who could disagree with that?) But the true purpose is to find the weakling, and if you can't find enough of them, then the "change resistant" or "reluctant team members" will do. Their personality test diagnosed them as "crusaders" or "sculptors" -- what more evidence does the group need to get rid of them? They spend the coffee breaks expressing insufficient messianic zeal about proceedings and instead deriding the facilitator or the flowchart in the last session which looked like someone vomited spaghetti. In receipt of these comments the consultant sighs relief, their work is all but done -- the prophesy is self-fulfilling --
he can present the negativity as proof positive to the CEO that the corporation is being held back by "a certain attitude set" that "we all saw evidence of at the retreat".
After the retreat, our consultant likes to shake the keys to his temporary office or whistle as he walks down the hall just to let the dissenters know he's around the place and that he's "still taking on board suggestions before the final report" (like an IRA hard man he's learnt how to say such things without blinking for over a minute).
Understands better than any other occupation the concept of ‘enthusiasm without context’. Marketing Manager (MM)
Greatest achievement is coming to work on Monday agog with cocaine energy and a billboard smile – beyond that there’s nothing much more to it really; MM considers it flamboyance but sadly there’s no hint of Fred Astaire
in any single gesture. MM does not have to invent the product to sell it and selling itself is outside the job description: so what does MM actually do? Clicks through infotainment feeds, "promotes awareness" and zaps through email. Is that a job? Even on our scale it is looking pretty tenuous. We forgot, however, that MM talks incessantly about "branding" and "the brand" and "brand awareness"; these subjects having become the holy sacrament -- MM could talk about "product perception" and "consumer recognition" but these words don't have the cache of searing a hog-tied steer with red hot metal. And as MM reminds people "it's a visual game".
As nothing is happening in the role of MM, inordinate attention is given to dress code, designed to intimidate and shame office colleagues, a sort of aesthetic bullying carried over from school days but now the weaklings get dusted up with professionalism and inane asides about not being able to present a product if you can't present yourself. Ah, now we get to the bottom of it: MM jealously guards the role of interfacing with clients. Likes to refer to the
client as an "account" to reinforce the commercial sensitivity of the role. Talks to the client about their "brand" to reinforce how seriously their individuality is being taken. Coming up with ideas, pitching ideas, putting them into production, deciding the media mix ... all these things, even if part of the work of MM, are conveniently parked with an underling and when this is the case we can be sure that MM can't stand it when the MD hears of the team's success from anyone but MM's cherished lips.
Purported intelligence is, of course, more important than intelligence itself in this line of work. Work is something left to FX geeks and interns slavishly tinkering in workshops in order to come up with something MM can sell as their own. Naturally, not having any intrinsic creativity keeps MM on the prowl and hungry, despite a big daily lunch, and continues to surf around forums on the pre-text of headhunting. reality MM is merely looking for fresh university
graduates prepared to give up their arsenal of ideas for probation pay.
Stealing, credit rustling, bearing false witness: these behaviours are instinctive. School yard memories of “Liar! Liar! Pants on fire” occasionally still crop up half an hour before lunch which MM grimly bears, gritting teeth, ignoring the taunts and sundry humiliations from the past, seeing in these twinges of conscience less of a direct reprimand and more of a battle to be won, an inaccurate perception to be countered. Truth be known, we are dealing with something more sinister than purported intelligence now, namely, someone with stolen wit and false verve, a sort of identity theft. Were you to watch one of MM's ads for the first time you would expect a person of cynical calibre and spontaneity; but having a Friday night tipple with MM fails to disclose anything like such qualities.
If we’re honest, MM does lunch best.
It allows for an
opportunity to advertise “busy-making” (motivated by a restlessness caused by the inner voices) and be some kind of product placement incarnate.
with someone or eavesdropping for ideas MM isn’t concerned with dialogue – far too risky as it could
lead to confrontation, mutual embarrassment and exposure of ignorance.
Instead, when engaged in verbal
jousting at shadows, MM is only concerned with the rhetorical gesture, stealthy interruptions, the affected losing interest in a topic. It is pretty perverse when evaluation of ones own performance serves as the point of departure for advertising concepts taken back to the office for work-shopping in the afternoon. This serves a notion akin to the Cinesound news "connectedness" of world events and keeps the centre of attention, if never critique, on MM.
De Bono is considered by MM passĂŠ and colleagues are thankful for small mercies in not having to go through the charade of 'cross-pollination' or atypical ideas with a gleam of truth about them or, heaven forbid, word plays and puns.
Of course MM has read Marshal McLuhan... but understands that his input is best employed not by interpreting abstraction but by recommending to the video editor that "the blonde's tits should appear in frame two not frame four" and that "it doesn't matter that it's a dog food commercial." On the final edit, MM
sits back in the chair in an air of selfcongratulation. This one will get MM yearnedafter recognition in the industry as a "Thinker". As he leaves the edit booth he says off-handedly to the beergut editor, "Marshall would know what I'm talking about" as if the two have shared a geist, and the editor, expressionless, just keeps sucking on his ciggy.