Office

When we were sixteen, my twin sister spent a summer working in the admissions office at a nearby college. I don’t remember what her job was, but I do remember that her boss spent all day playing solitaire on his computer. Every time my sister walked past his door, there he was, clicking away, trying to put those cards in order. He didn’t even attempt to hide it. My sister was shocked by this. He was the dean. He got up in the morning, showered, combed his hair, put on his business casual, drove to the office, and sat in his swivel chair playing solitaire from nine to five? She couldn’t believe it. I, however, was impressed.

 

Dear Lobbyist Bowles,

I recently read about the exciting new venture your organization is embarking on and am very interested in the Social Media position you are no doubt preparing to establish. Having just graduated from the number one party school in the entire southwest, I am eager for an opportunity to get my foot in the door and begin my life in the workforce. Making that happen with a well-established movement such as yours would be a bonus. (Everyone wants some job security these days, am I right?)

1. The Visionary Stage.

The idea is brilliant; so brilliant, in fact, that it is best described as a “vision.” No one has thought to combine these elements/metal components/animal JPEGs before. The world is laughably behind. This vision will overtake the critics and investors, necessitating that cash be shipped to you via truck freight.

 

2. The Gritty-Eyed Stage.

Month four: you’re still springing out of bed in the mornings, but it’s mainly because your back is knotted with stress. You landed that big commission in Australia, but now you’re working weird hours and none of your traditionally employed friends understands why when you laugh, it sounds like you’re crying. It’s thrilling to be able to earn money for your vision, except that the currency exchange rates are killing you a little more each month. Also, the word “month” in Australia translates to “60 days” in the U.S. The electric bill is an unfriendly color.

 

3. The Scotch Drinking Stage.

The Australians just got hit with a major flood. Despite their initial enthusiasm for your groundbreaking project, you’re now back in the ranks of the unemployed. Except you can’t collect unemployment because you haven’t been employed full-time for over six months by anyone aside from your own misguided ambition. On a whim, you picked up a minor commission from some English people a few weeks back “for a little extra cash.” Oh, ha! Your friends are short on sympathy. Not only are you a loser; you’re a loser in a time of the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression. Maybe you should have just made nice with that asshole at the old 80-hour a week job who drove you screaming from the building. No, you can’t go that far. Whatever happens, never trust anyone named Gavin.

 

4. The Royal Tenenbaum Stage.

Perhaps it’s time to turn to crime: after all, your fingertips are now polished smooth from exertion. For entertainment, you imagine likely organ solos at your funeral as you treat yourself to a cup of cooked rice. The English people don’t like how the project has worked out and have refused to pay your last bill. This, despite the hours you spent on Skype patiently explaining the nuances of your ingenuity. You’ve got some leads with a few Canadians and a guy who calls himself “MajorDomo51.” You’re going to die in the company of used cardboard containers. The only way people will remember you is with mockery, especially that dickweed Gavin.

 

5. The Jazz Bar Stage.

The darkest hour comes before checking your email. After discarding the grammatically pioneering messages from BestPenis, you discover an explosion of interest from half a dozen serious investors. Maybe it’s the genius of the new Google algorithm or the simplicity of critical mass, but this integrity-plagued existence of yours is starting to turn a profit. You haven’t kowtowed to anyone in over two years, and you’ve settled this evening’s bar tab with unleveraged cash. The feeling is so good that you start swapping anecdotes with the guy sitting next to you. After you explain that you’re your own boss, you see that look in his eyes. It’s the look of a man who has an idea; no, a VISION.