Alex Jackman: Week 4

In his fourth column, ALEX JACKMAN delves into the baffling world of career networking.

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I was excited yesterday to find a letter in my pigeonhole. It was from a company offering a careers event. This was odd and thrilling, and a little confusing.

After all, the only networking I’ve done was a fairly ineffective tour of London’s office foyers on Jailbreak. Just out of interest, the security guards at the Royal Exchange are impressively clinical, performing a quadruple studentectomy (see what I did there? Clinical!) in just 7 seconds, while Television Centre has the sourest receptionists. This was a sad awakening for a lifelong BBC fan. As a child I didn’t watch ITV because it was common, and to have my warm memories of Last Of The Summer Wine and Songs Of Praise tainted was too much to bear. I broke down and wept into my collection bucket.

Just like I said it happened

Er, anyway. How did the company find me? I assumed they must have seen my LinkedIn profile. If you haven’t tried LinkedIn, it’s basically Facebook targeted at the kind of businesspeople who try to have a thought-shower in a blue sky environment. BUT WHERE’S THE RAIN GOING TO COME FROM?

I felt compelled to get a profile because I need a job next year and I’m scared. Also I suffer from social network FOMO (as my supervisor wrote on my last essay, “UGH! Horrible way of putting it”) so I added everyone I know and all the jobs I’ve had. This did not help me feel better about my career, because now my part-time job selling cheese pops up on the screen next to: ”Success! You are now connected to Wanky Tom, Consulting Analyst Intern at Deloitte UK”.

I also posted my GCSE results and school life in detail, because I’ve heard “A* in R.E” and “school musical x 4” are the kind of things that set people apart at interview. It’s one of the many ways I’ve tried to be a special employable snowflake; on LinkedIn (who should be paying me for this) other people can “Endorse” the “Skills” you claim to have. Mine include “Sarcasm”, “Hugh Grant” and “Cheese”. Here’s how that’s working out:

It’s all about transferable skills


It is true to the spirit of business, in that it’s nepotistic. 5 of those endorsements are from my Dad, and 5 are from Mames JcAulay…who has just shown me how to edit the words! Great. I now have 6000 endorsments for “Earning His Employers Lots of Money”. Amusingly, the one we altered was “Editing”. You couldn’t make it up.

The thing is, I tell myself that I’m totally uninterested in an office job. Aged 15, I spent a week on work experience doing a good impression of office furniture. Although office furniture doesn’t  read internet jokes and snort with laughter in a roomful of intensely focused workers.
Obviously, I need a job for money for goods and services and nice stuff, so maybe it’s the idea of a career that I don’t like. A life spent working with no point other than to get more money, more stuff. But maybe there is no higher purpose to work and life.

To summarise, here’s surly Bulgarian footballer Dimitar Berbatov.

Thanks for reading. I have to go now, because that letter said the careers event starts at eight, and I’m late.