Apparently I was misinformed. We are not in a recessionary economy any longer. Silly me. I missed the memo! So, let us bid farewell to our aphorisms (calling a spade a spade) and instead activate our euphemisms (calling a spade a utensil). Thus, might I say that we are in a Post-Modernist Recessionary Economy?
Slapped silly into awareness, just yesterday the World Wide Web informed me of the good news: 18 months in duration, the longest recession in US history has been over for more than a year! Yes, it seems I’ve been laboring under a misapprehension for many months. But at least I’m in good company.
According to that same article:
It may be over, but you won’t be hearing any cheers from the millions of Americans who are struggling to find a job. Or are worried about the ones they have. Or have lost their homes. Or are behind on the mortgage.
As for the job seekers and dream tweakers among us, we must dig deeper, wax wiser, and perhaps follow a few old school rules for a new school of economic thought. It is time for a rousing return to nepotism. You remember nepotism – favoritism based on a familial relationship.
Is Nepotism simply a euphemism for 21st century networking?
Modernism, Post-Modernism (a rose by any other name?)
Indulge me for a minute – do you mind?
If Modernism derives from a “deviation from the ancient or the classic,” it generally refers to a slew of divergent 20th century styles and hypotheses concerning art, architecture, and literature.* They were indeed a departure from the accepted norms of the day, beginning in the late 19th century and continuing through the 1960s – hey day of Happenings and Pop Art. You know – Warhol, Rauschenberg, and others.
However, with the 1970s – (the sorry legacy of polyester?) – we are tossed into a murkier bucket that historians call Post-Modernism, a reaction to Modernism. Personally, I consider Post-Modernism a movement that combines equal doses of quality, rigor, creativity and bullshit, with the latter couched in conceptual double-talk carried on with confidence. In light (or shadow?) of that premise – I hereby proclaim that we are indeed in the throes of a Post-Modernist depressionary recessionary swamp.
Now now, not to worry
Is everything deemed Post-Modernist muck and mire?
Of course not. Returning to examples in fine art, the 70s, 80s, and 90s offer extraordinary talent (and output)** which is, of course, in the eye of the beholder. But as I said, it is a rejection of what came before (while incorporating it), a philosophical approach that is infuriatingly textual and contextual – and an otherwise confusing period that offers up bath water and the baby. Yes, a mixed metaphor – but who knows which to throw out?
In the Post-Modernist employment-go-round, do no rules apply? Or is it that any rules you’d like are fair game?
Aren’t they really the same thing?
Furthermore, if Post-Modernist art rejects purist Modernist forms and instead melds art, popular culture, and the media – isn’t deeming the contemporary economy a Post-Modernist Recession almost classic? Or is that cynicism on my part? Or skepticism? Aren’t they both the hallmark of a healthy dose of Post-Everything?
Whatever we call our current economic climate – a recession, a recovery – isn’t it irrelevant if millions are still out of work, losing homes, unable to pay for health care, and generally speaking – scared shitless?
Now, back to nepotism – dare I say it is and always has been a reliable method of passing employment opportunities to blood relations? Oh, and a mechanism for handing off empires and dynasties, too. I won’t go so far as to say that zero skills are required, but it is (reasonably) assumed that one will learn on the job.
In modern, post-modern, or contemporary times – given the choice between many qualified candidates, aren’t you more likely to offer the job to someone you know? Of course. We all are. And we can justify it – less need to worry about reference checks or the candidate’s integrity. Or, you know someone who knows someone who knows the person in question.
Ah – time for an applicable aphorism?
It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know.
And so we wade into the territory of networking – the “friend model” of social networking, as a matter of fact. Aren’t we all helped by more than professional events, but via sites like LinkedIn, or our fave for all uber-cyber-(un)mentionables – Facebook?
Tired toes in wily waters
Given that (it seems) the recession is now over – would you dare to quit your job? Would you head out in search of greener pastures?
Happily, recent weeks have landed me nibbles, bites and the occasional catch – the result of a perpetual process of lead generation, income innovation, and sleep-deprived entrepreneurial machination. Once again, I’ve gone through a cycle of proposals and bids, not to mention one (irritating) experience of chase-him-down-for-the-check-and-hope-it’s-good. There has even been a surprisingly sudden (and satisfying) project – out of the blue – just last week.
Yes, I have my eye on the goal, my pokers in the fire, my tiny toes in various candidate pools, and a recent reminder of basic lessons.
Last month a friend passed along an application, I followed through, and possessing every qualification I jumped through the requisite hoops and even with connections – got nowhere. In a flash, the job was filled.
Nepotism. A friend or family member of the hiring manager was likely waiting in the wings; posting the vacancy was a formality.
Is this new? Of course not. Is it even bad? Certainly not. Legal? Yes. Presumably, the happy hopeful was also amply qualified. It is what it is – and that is among my favorite truisms.
So how do you get a job in a post-modernist recessionary economy?
Clearly, all is fair in love, war and job searching. As I have next to no family whatsoever, I find myself in a professional (Post-Modernist?) pickle, and I am left searching for aphorisms (terse truths) and euphemisms (to soften the blow). All negative truisms need not apply.
My (current) conclusion is that I must marry again (oh dear, that would require dating) – and do so into a large professional family with plenty of fingers in the proverbial pies of commerce or the arts. Surely a cousin-in-law will need a consultant, a writer, or a consultant-writer with a fine eye for the visual, and two willing “ayes” to never-say-die.
Another option? Adoption! Monsieur Louboutin may have ignored my plea, but might I offer myself as an orphan seeking shelter – preferably, not Post-Modernist?
Warhol image reproduced with permission of Barsaart.com.