Don't graduate. Working sucks.
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I finally must admit this (after nearly two years here): I am an industry journalist. One degree in English. One degree in poetry. Yet, I am still writing beleaguered crap copy for The Man. From this insider experience, I can tell you two things.
ONE: Office Space is a documentary.
TWO: The Man does, indeed, exist. He is not fictional, is not an urban legend-not in the least. And, like St. Nick, he can be everywhere at once. I firmly believe he does, in fact, own every single business in America-perhaps the world. (I haven't really wrapped my mind around that yet.)
I thought for awhile he was Donald Trump, but I figured the real Man would have better hair and better taste in pussy.
What I hate most about being an industry journalist, though, isn't working for The Man. (He's easy enough to handle with a little flirting and some significant cleavage to flash.)
No, what I hate most of all are the damn conferences, and people commenting about all the places you've been like you're their personal little geography lesson. Yes, I've been to Montreal and Chicago and San Diego and Miami and New Orleans-technically. You want to know what all of those places looked like to me: inside of airplane, inside of airport, inside of stuffy cab, inside of expensive yet still slightly shabby hotel room, inside of convention center, inside of expensive yet still slightly shabby hotel room, inside of expensive yet still slight shabby hotel restaurant, inside of stuffy cab, inside of airport, inside of airplane.
When I get home I want two things: a bottle of Advil (to relieve the headache) and a stack of good porn (to relieve the tension).
And then, just as soon as you relax, a friend who has yet to find a real job-you know, ones without "intern" after your name-who still mooches your cereal and sleeps on your couch when his girlfriend kicks him out again and who has never, ever been forced to attend a fuckin' industry conference says (when he finds your ticket), "Wow. You get to travel, see all these cool cities. That must be sweet."
This is where I have an overwhelming urge stab him repeatedly with the fine-line ballpoint I was given as a gift by some idiotic vendor at the conference just as he swallows down the last dregs of my Lucky Charms.
"Oh yes, they are faboo, " I say, trying to find my jeans in the giant basket of dirty clothes. "The conference people always make sure that my three or four hour cramped plane ride is immediately followed by at least three hours of an opening session with speakers that run the gamut from just plain boring local politicians to an utterly ridiculous inspirational/professional speaker who either just climbed Mt. Everest in a blinding snowstorm, strapped backwards in a mechanically faulty wheelchair or recently wrote his third tome on how the business world can benefit from reading Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" and feels this is the perfect season to take time away from his college lectures to go on the conference circuit. Because, even though they didn't get Charlton Heston to part water, baby, I'm all for a lukewarm epic."
This is where he injects, "Yes, but you get to see the city."
And I just nod and walk away, for if I don't I will commit an act of violence that will make me a cell bitch for the block's Big Bertha. Of that, I have no doubt. And finally, my still living friends will get to break me out of jail "A-Team style" as they always promised they would when, as predicted, I eventually snap.
You know what I gladly see of any city? The airport bar. Because I'm averaging twelve to fifteen hours of travel, networking, exhibit visits, session attendance, bland product luncheons and personal interviews a day. After that, if I don't down a dozen gin and tonics and stumble onto a plane, I will have a complete mental breakdown and end up fetal on the exhibit floor mumbling jargon: B2B, B2C, end-user, turnkey, flagship, solutions provider.
When I got back from my last trip, my friend asked, "Hey, can you get me a job there?" (His girlfriend finally kicked him out for good.)
I thought to myself, "He's young. He knows not what he asks of me. Am I really that evil?"
Hell yeah, I am. Now he, too, toils-three rows over and two cubes down. He just came back from Vegas and didn't have either the time or the energy to see one single topless revue.
There is a nasty little office God after all.
Kathleen Davis deserves a break.