The International Writers Magazine: Lifestyles; The Businessman
Like Me Take Your Money.
I canned eight
people and increased operational efficiency by .01%; here, have
a parking space.
R&D in T&A
When I was
six years old, I dreamt of becoming an advertising executive. Im
not joking. I actually would discuss with my family ideas for television
commercials and how well they would sell a product. And now, twenty
years later, I wake up every morning, put on a suit, and go into an
office. But today, I would give it all up to fight fires or save the
dolphins. As I take the long road to the middle, I start to ask myself,
where did I go wrong?
When people ask me what I do, I say businessman, which in
turn elicits a series of nods. Businessman is a vague term
that means absolutely nothing. Businessmen are essentially Neanderthals
in $3,000 suits. Without even swinging a club Ill take your cave
and that caribou pelt while Im at it.
But to be perfectly honest, I dont really know what I do. I used
to look at a man in a suit and think, boy, hes really made
something of himself. Now that I wear a suit, what have I made?
Well, I canned eight people and increased operational efficiency by
.01%; here, have a parking space.
I cant look at a building and say I helped build that, or you
see that Big Mac right there, I warmed that fucker up. Everyday I come
home and besides exploiting the less fortunate, all Ive accomplished
is a number. A number that I write in a memo every week and a number
that goes in my bank account every month. But I cant hold it;
its not a Big Mac or a pile of bricks. I wouldnt know what
to do with those things. You cant exploit bricks; but Im
sure Id find a way how.
I recently interviewed a fresh college graduate. I asked him why he
wanted a sales position in the company. "I want to work in a positive
environment where I can be rewarded for my hard work. Im not looking
for a job, but a career
blah, blah." I didnt call him
back. When I was asked the same question years back I said, "Because
I want to make a lot of money." I started work the following Monday.
If I hear one more textbook answer I think I might cry.
someone who will come to me and say, "I am willing to lie, cheat,
steal and climb over my colleagues in order to make money." That
is what I call a businessman. Youre hired.
To put it in perspective, I was recently speaking with a friend of mine
who is a member of the U.S. military. He said that in his line of work,
if you have a bad day, someone dies. In my office, if someone dies its
a good day; a management position has opened up.
I know a lot of ad executives and tech salesmen. But I dont know
one fireman, or one astronaut. My water cooler discussions are not about
scaling the side of a building with one hand and a fire-axe in the other
or pulling tuna nets off of Flipper. Instead I have suits pass me at
the water cooler saying things like, heh, theres Brian,
hes knows the score, or now that is a power tie. Boo
yeah! The rest of the day consists of conference calls and pointless
meetings about how there will be no Christmas bonus because Santa doesnt
love us. Occasionally we will all gather around someones computer
to look at his fantasy football picks or topless photos of some B-list
celebrity. Ive seen nipples before, Karl. Its fucking awesome.
Next I will receive an inter-office forward. After a week of seeing
the same animated Squirrels dancing to music, I made an office rule
that if you send me a forward, I will cut you. And that goes for the
Dilbert cartoons that are placed in my inbox. "How crazy! Its
just like us in the office!" No Karl, its just like you,
We are all coached to follow this mundane and predictable path. Being
interested in advertising markets at the age of six had basically mapped
out my life: Birth, Little League, puberty, college, job, death. At
least I know Im on track. Is there a way to side-step this land
mine? Its too late for me, Im fucked. But there is hope
for others. If you seek emptiness, shallow intentions, and a pointless
existence, by all means follow my lead. Success is not determined by
the suit you wear, but by how you feel when you come home at the end
of the day. If you accomplished something you are proud of, you have
found your calling. Then give me a call, I know how to increase your
© Brian Cooke Feb 2004
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