Years ago, before the thankless task of education seduced me with it’s promise of endless holidays and thrice weekly strikes, I used to work in industry. In IT in fact. For a big, rancid corporation. People would ask, ‘what do you do for a living?’ and I would say, ‘I work in IT,’ in a hushed tone that didn’t invite further questioning. And even though I would be aloof and would harness my thespian essence to look as though further interrogation might bring on a minor cerebral bleed, they would selfishly press on: ‘Ooh, IT? What does that mean? What do you actually do?’ I would freeze in horror, wondering how I could - in all my lefty glory - say, ‘I manipulate software environments in order to save the reptilian Rupert Murdoch millions of pounds.’ Nor could I tell them that I spent a lot of time hiding in the loo with a pocket sized book or articles printed off the internet, probably entitled, How did it come to this?
There were several things that I detested about my job. Firstly, the role itself, which was more boring than Songs of Praise: The Movie. Secondly, the fact that my commute demanded that I wake up at 5.30am and then have to pootle through the veritable piss-hole that is Greenford in a Nissan Micra. Just awful. Thirdly - and while I loved a few of my colleagues - I had to attend meetings which involved a ridiculous amount of Twat Speak.
If you’re wondering, the corporate world is riddled with such a discourse - a strange, mysterious language based on a blend of pretension and cuntiness that will most likely give you rectal itching. It is the linguistic weapon of choice in corporate meetings. I would feel ridiculously out of place as I would cross out the word ‘agenda’ on the piece of paper that sat before me and scrawl: ‘bollocks that we will boringly chew over before coming to no clear conclusion.’ And that’s what I would do in order to contribute as little as possible to these tedious charades: look busy. I would write endlessly, as though I was taking meticulous notes when really I would be indulging one of my most enduring hobbies - making lists. Food shopping; things that I need to do but never will (such as checking my oil and my tyre pressure - like, yawno!) When I was all listed out, I would decorate my pad with stars or practice alternative signatures, like I did when I was fourteen. Ahem.
This would all be done as a distraction to the plethora of Twat Speak, where we would no longer send an email, but FIRE THEM OFF as though they’re an incendiary North Korean device or a particularly ambitious marital aid. If this wasn’t terrifying enough, we wouldn’t be tipped off or given any advance warning about a communicative firework was heading our way. Oh no, we would be given a HEADS UP, where we would be instructed to not REINVENT THE WHEEL, but to THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX. Meanwhile I would furiously scribe a note to my increasingly desperate self that would read, ‘what is wrong with the phrases, think laterally or, please don’t be so fucking obvious, thicko.’ We would not work collaboratively. Nor would we BRAINSTORM. Instead, we would drench our pathetic selves with IDEA SHOWERS. We wouldn’t be ambitious. Why would we be when we could simply employ BLUE SKY THINKING, like any self respecting wanker might? Problems were off the menu. They were now CHALLENGES - even though rebranding them in a more unicorn-friendly way wouldn’t actually change the huge fuck-off calamity heading our way. But fear not! What we needed to do would be to look for things that we could sort out immediately to stop us getting the sack, becoming destitute and having to move to Greenford. This was referred to as a QUICK WIN or picking LOW HANGING FRUIT, which reminded me to add bananas and apples to my food list, even though I would simply place them in a bowl in the kitchen and steal the odd glance at them until they rotted and required binning. Or GARBOLOGISING. Whatever.
In the corporate world, we couldn’t just look at some information, analyse it and then say, ‘Hey dude, looks like we’re fucked. Shall we go to the pub?’ Oh no. We had to do a DEEP DIVE before DRILLING DOWN into the data (often pronounced ‘dayda’) before coming the same inevitable conclusion. And when we were given a list of actions that would take several light years to complete, the boss was unlikely to ask if we could cope with the workload. Instead, he would stand there, looking like a tragic scrotum in drag before asking if we HAD THE BANDWIDTH. As I would flee the often pungent office, gripping my collection of lists and trying not to stab self in the eye with my pen, said boss would encourage me to HIT THE GROUND RUNNING when all I really wanted to do is hit the bottle. Which I always did. Hurrah!