When I was a child going to market involved five little pigs; or the kind of market where fresh fruit and veg overflows from market stalls in impossibly photogenic ways. Now going to market is about jobs. Times have changed.
Apparently I have to put myself up for sale. Firstly, I build my brand online. Get myself onto Twitter and LinkedIn and maybe get a blog going too (see what I’m doing here?). Tweet pithy, inspirational gobbets (more of that later), re-tweet other people’s insights and musings, upload interesting professional links to LinkedIn, connect with everyone and anyone. This way I look focused, motivated, ready.
When I’m not building my presence online I’m networking in person at events, dinner parties, cocktails, even at work. I’ve stopped seeing friends; now I see only contacts – what can I do for them and what will they do for me if I impress them with my expertise and professionalism? Business cards have come back in fashion. Through my social media presence employers will find me, check me out and eventually employ me. I’m amazed anyone has time to work.
Are these today’s equivalent of Alan Bennett’s ‘gobbets’, as Hector calls them, ‘handy little quotes that can be trotted out to make a point?’. The History Boys satirises the gaming involved in applying to Oxford but today’s social media gaming feels rather similar. My hackles rise and I understand why Rudge, towards the end of the play, states ‘If they like me and they want to take me they’ll take me because I’m dull and ordinary…’