Business Notworking

Third Tuesday Vancouver by Darren BarefootI went to a networking event last night. It was the type of thing people go to feel like their “connected” and relevant” in “the community.” They do this by talking about themselves, what they or their employer has been up to (and how they’ve been a part of it), and all the other rumors or “trends” they’ve read about lately in “industry publications” or blogs.

I’ve been to plenty of these. Hell, I used to help organize one. But I kicked the habit in favor of finding something to do with my time that maybe, just maybe, Jesus wouldn’t hold against me (come December 21st, 2012).

Since I just had my review at work, though, I figured it was time that I got back into the “groove of things.” I figured that it was a good way to show “just how much of an asset I was to the company/team/department.” In fact, I came up with it when I saw the review coming. But I digress

I showed up at this “event” with a friend of mine. He works in local politics, and I told him that it’d be worth his time because there’d be plenty of local “businessman” and bloggers he could network with.

We spent most of the time standing off to the side, talking between ourselves. He pointed out the “frizzy hair,” mocha-complexioned mulatto girl on the other side of the room. She was an old boss of mine who’d fired me two months into a gig two years ago.

I’d been working on a two-month “contract” at a locally-based multi-national. The “contract” was their way of saying “we’ll keep you on indefinitely so long as you don’t fuck or piss off anyone of influence.” I did both.

I had a sex & dating blog at the time, and I blogged about how during a meeting, I daydreamed about getting blow jobs from an assorted array of my female cohorts. Long story short, they found it.

They didn’t tell me, though, so I thought I got canned for being lazy. It wasn’t until months later when Frizzy confronted me over instant messenger that I found out what had happened. Apparently, she’d found her part in it amusing:

Then there’s the local editor, a strong-headed, intelligent woman with curls that you just want to grab, pull, and tug at. She wouldn’t suck cock because shse liked it or wanted to, but because it would be appropriate for the time and place. It would be what the situation called for: standard operating procedure, plain and simple. She’d be thorough and efficient, arguably pneumatic, and she wouldn’t look up to make eye-contact once. It’d be cold and impersonal, and when she was done, I’d be left feeling used and empty, in a gratifying way. I’d ask for more, and she’d just sneer. Then I’d say please and she’d snicker. Then I’d cry.

I wish I’d said hi to her before leaving. Any girl who can shrug off something like that is someone worth knowing once you get through your first divorce.

This is a Recession

I was up for review, today, at work. It was pretty anti-climactic. I’ve been building up to it for the last month, so I’ve had plenty of time to work up a series of indulgent dramatic outcomes in my head – none of which were all that likely to unfold.

Credit: phy5ics

In fact, the most likely outcome I’d dreamt up was getting fired, or laid off, or whatever other metaphor or euphemism you could think of when “losing your job” doesn’t suffice. It’s curious the influence that Aristotle had on us: fired, canned, laid off, terminated, let go… They all seem to entail some nuance that mean something to everyone else but the poor sucker on the butt-end of it all: no longer having anyway to pay bills, provide for the family… no longer having any security… no longer feeling secure.

I’ve been inopportunely unemployed more times than I can count (or am willing to try to). Whether it was my own doing or just some rotten, pig-faced luck, it always amounted to the same thing: not having the means to underwrite your newfound recklessness.

Recklessness comforts me. At least, that is, until the fall-out touches- down. Sometimes you can stretch it just a little bit longer, but whenever you do, the fall-out seems to double in half-life. It’s governed by the law of diminishing returns, really, but before touch-down does, all that freedom seems to be worth the trade-off, worth it to just fly in the face of biological imperatives, it’s tangible trade-offs, and Darwin. But I digress…

If I’d been canned, or “let go” as they say, I had a series of scathing summations to deliver, well rehearsed and scripted as all the world’s a stage. The only uncertainty was which one it would be. Would I tell them that it was okay, that Jesus would forgive them for their deceipt and various trespasses? Or just chuckle maniacally and walk out of the office without a word, leaving them to wonder what my next move would be: coming back tomorrow to go postal, airing their corporate dirt in very targeted and captive communities, or simply sharing snapshots of those skeletons in a very private and personal way with the roster of suppliers and clients I’d been made privy to.

But, no: it went fine, just fine. Well, not exactly. Overall, it was the poorest “performance review” I’d had to date. But there was nothing in it that was grounds for leaving me with no way to pay the bills, provide for family, or feeling secure.

Then again, this is a recession, and in a recession, anything less than “you are the single most valuable asset to this company, team, or department” is pretty much “Just go ahead, give us an excuse, I dare you.”