Tuesday, August 15, 2006


I’ve been meaning to write more about work. It’s not that I think the horrid details of my pathetic career would interest anyone, but it is interesting how my jobs serve to illustrate much that is wrong with our culture and economy. I’ve experienced most of those headlines you see – dot com death spirals, mass layoffs, takeovers by international investor groups, et. al. – in my wanderings from company to company over the last few years and now I’m on the cutting edge of data mining and consumer profiling.

Yes, I’d like to tell you more about it, but not now. I’ve been going through another round of training this week and just thought I’d share this one small observation. The trainer constantly uses words like “brilliant” or “awesome” to describe the most mundane occurrences. If everyone manages to turn on their computer without spilling coffee on it he gushes that we are all “brilliant” and our skills “awesome.” On and on.

And I know this trend is widespread and has been going on for awhile. “Awesome,” for instance, has been overused for years.

I suspect this is all related to the culture of self-esteem we read so much about. Apparently many kids are brought up receiving sycophantic praise for any little thing they do so I imagine that’s the only way they know to communicate. I guess there’s little harm in it other than further debasement in the way we are able to describe our world. What more is there to say when being able to chew gum and walk at the same time inspires awe and is practiced by the brilliant?