The view from Juavenita’s office
Finally got a check the size of my head, kinda scared of carrying it around. Been so broke I almost got stuck in Crescat for lack of funds to exit the parking lot. Money asked for 80 Rupees, and whaddya know, I have exactly 80 Rs in my pocket. After I pay my debts, the Sunday Times ad should buy
me underage girls some wine and kottu. If I can land the WSJ design I’ll mebbe score some headphones and national dress (shirts). I can’t hold down a corporate job, but I guess this consulting thing works OK for a little whatever on the side. When I was a kid I used to wonder what the hell people did in those big office buildings. I always thought that work involved more heavy lifting. I have yet to hold down a post-graduation job, but this consulting thing has let me peek in the corporate door. I’m slowly starting to understand what they do.
As far as I can tell, the people in those big buildings simply spend all day reminding each other that they exist. The first people you see are making phone calls yelling at other people. Those other people, in turn, yell at other people, who yell at other people. Finally, the last person on the phone chain does some heavy lifting or makes something or gives someone else money. Those buildings however, are just full of words. Despite making a living from words, I’ve always thought they were kinda bullshit. I mean, not real. They are, however, the greatest business weapon I have ever seen.
One time I lost a grand on eBay. It was stupid and I don’t really want to get into details. I at least took the precaution of making sure the guy was in Montreal, so I could find him. I am a pansy with a bus pass, however, so I found all the other people this guy had bilked and we sorta organized. First we found a phone number and had like 20 people call the guy, then somebody found an address and these sketchy Ukranians drove up from Toronto to find the guy. So I’m sitting in the back of this Acura hatchback eating chicken nuggets and trying to find this dickhead’s house in Laval. He’s not there, but we find his grown daughter and just mention what happened. The Ukranians are kinda scary and I’m trying to be nice. But we never find the guy. To me it was a lost day. Pietr and Mischa hit the strip clubs and go home and I go to sleep as broke as ever.
Then I wake up in the morning and eBay calls me to stop fucking with him and asks if I want a money back. I’m like, yeah, me and the Ukranians need the money. I get a money order couriered to my door in 2 hours. Incidentally, everybody else got sold out but, um, yeah. And, at the end of the day, it was just words. We had no real legal or physical recourse, we just annoyed the shit out of the guy until he paid up.
I digress, but that’s what I see in business all the time. There are people like me who produce a physical product, but the most valuable employees are the ones who can simply make the phone calls and contacts that actually move the money and goods around. The communication doesn’t even have to have any content, it’s almost as if keeping the lines open is enough. I’d say that 5% of business is having content, while 95% is the simple fight against signal degradation. If there’s an event a good PR person will email you twice, call once the week before, and call once the night before. If the event is cool, that’s a bonus, but if I don’t get the phone calls I prolly won’t go. If I owe someone money or a TPS reports they just keep calling me and making my life miserable until I clear the funds or find the papers. That’s all it takes. Just words. As far as I can tell individual art of business communications is the Sisyphean challenge of getting everyone to shut the fuck up.
People will call me over and over about stuff like the size of their logo or the wording on that invoice. It initially confused me cause I was like, ‘do you really care?’ Maybe I’ve worked too many shitty jobs, but I could give a fuck about most of the places I’ve worked. Then I thought about, like, war and why most people fight. I’ve read that they fight not for country or cause but simply for their fellow soldiers. Then I realized that I do all this nitpicky shit just cause it makes life easier for ‘coworkers’ that I do care about. They, in turn, do it to help other co-workers and somewhere along the line the company gets its mission and vision accomplished. The individual employees don’t need to know or care, they just know that their friend in accounting is having a bad day unless you find that contract.
Contracts and legal documents are another thing, almost fetishistic in their devotion to words. All in all, however, the corporate scene gives me a greater appreciation for the value of human communication. I used to think that meetings and conferences and stuff were bullshit excuses for not working, but now I’m starting to appreciate them. Corporations are a big nervous system and people are the circulation that keep them going. The body does have hands that ‘do stuff’, but most of the energy seems to be directed at simply keeping the blood flowing.