Saturday July 16, 2022
Dreaming of Being Bad at My Job
I had a job at a hip tech company that I hadn’t been going to much. I’d been doing my own thing. Which was what exactly? Some kind of big writing project I’d never finished. There was dissipation associated with it.
The job was to come up with humorous tweets for the company Twitter account but I felt woefully unprepared for the role. Also not right: I hadn’t figured out the tone but mostly I wasn’t funny. I was sitting at a desk next to several other people, including the friend who had gotten me the job and another guy who felt way wittier, way sharper than me. Shouldn’t he have gotten the job? He didn’t seem covetous of it, though. He just kept making witty remarks.
I had older items on my desk and was sifting through them and reading them aloud to try to get through them. My friend reminded me that other people were working. “Oh, right,” I said, and read them silently. Later, on a TV set, there was some interview with Tom Cruise playing, and I tried to turn it off, or at least down, and my friend tried to help, but his help led to the volume suddenly rising, and we scrambled to mute it. Then I imagined people walking by and wondering, “Why does he always have Tom Cruise playing on mute in the background,” and we thought this so funny we couldn’t stop laughing. I tried to figure out how to parlay that kind of thing into the tweet thing but didn’t see a connection.
“What about interviews?” I said to my friend. “I could interview people at the company and get their stories.” “That’s not a bad idea,” he said, with a tone that implied otherwise. “You’re good at interviewing,” he said, with a tone that implied I wasn’t good at what I was doing.
In another location, some mucky-muck came up to me to explain about the dialogue of the movie scene they were working on. The company was branching out into movies and this was the first. Someone else stood nearby, anxious I wouldn’t saying anything wrong to the mucky-muck, who seemed to need my approval. Did he know who I was? My movie critic background? And did he know I didn’t matter at his company? Later, my sister—who also worked for the company—came by. Some people seemed confused by our familiarity, so I introduced her: “This is my mister—I mean, my sister.” A witty, company woman, dark-haired and pretty, teased me when reintroducing us to others. “She’s his sister … or his wife, they haven’t figure out which yet.” I began to point out that “mister” hardly implied “wife” but figured it wasn’t worth it. I figured ignoring it was the best path forward.