Everyone is an Entrepreneur

I’ve been unemployed 6 1/2 months now.  I am a petroleum geologist in Calgary, Alberta.  Just about the worst place in the world to be any kind of geologist.  Brent pricing is hovering above $45  but damn, that makes 90% of oil pools in Alberta uneconomic to drill or produce right now.  Which means, me and most of my friends get to keep wearing jeans every day and figure out how to cheaply replace our broken appliances.

Unemployment has interesting stages of evolution, much like grief:

  1. Denial and Isolation:  Shit I Can’t Believe I just Got Laid Off.
  2. Anger:  Those Fuckers.
  3. Bargaining:  If Only I Had Never Worn Those Mustard Yellow Pants To Work.
  4. Depression:  I Suck.  No One Will Ever Hire Me Again.
  5. Acceptance: Well, It Happens.  Time to Focus On My Job Search.

Everyone hits acceptance at different times but there is a #6 & #7 for the unemployed.

6. Networking:  Notice Me, Notice Me, Notice Me, Notice Me, Notice Me, Notice Me

This essentially becomes a mind numbing task after the 78th coffee date.  How many times can you possibly explain why you were laid off versus the bitch giving the boss blow jobs?  Except you don’t say that because then you come off as being bitter.  Instead, you are super duper happy with all this extra time off to worry about broken appliances and to refocus on your strengths like binge watching The Walking Dead.  And it starts feeling slutty always maneuvering to get the other person to buy you a coffee.  You even try to scam a lunch now and then by pausing awkwardly when the waitress asks if you both want one bill or two.

7. Everyone is an Entrepreneur:  There Are No Jobs In My Profession.  Oh Shit.

This is the what we like to call the climax.  The protagonist has exhausted all options and in a fit of drunken hope, decides that all those heart to hearts with her pals means she has an unfulfilled calling as a life coach!   She abandons her soul crushing career as a corporate engineer and starts life anew with a new website, a full calendar of speaking engagements and a self stylized BRAND that incorporates her love of mauve, hot yoga, and an organic pomegranate cream that she uses religiously.

#7 looks great on the movie screen but in the real world it means everyone changes their current career status to CEO of their newly incorporated business on LinkedIn.  And then  they go network some more with their newly conceptualized BRAND and wait and wait and wait for something great to happen.  I’m always shocked to discover how much thought went into BRANDing themselves and how poorly conceived their business models are.  No one seemingly wants to actually make anything.  They want to be facilitators, motivators and other ‘ors’ that essentially make them overpaid middlemen.  I wish them luck.

I’m looking for a job as a geologist.  I’m good at it, I love it and the world needs oil.  This means I have to stay calm and wait.  And maybe work at Safeway as a clerk to make money until the oil prices turn around.  But I have no delusions about where my worth lies.  I find oil and I make money for shareholders.  I find oil that keeps us awash in plastics and fuels the machines.  I find the oil that provides government revenue  for schools and hospitals.  The world keeps turning and I will keep turning with it.



Forget Mensa

Did you ever meet someone who was book smart but didn’t have a lick of common sense sandwiched between their ears?  Yep.  I have too.  Book smart is great for esoteric study of nematodes, particle physics, and dead languages but I would hazard a guess that those same people would perish on a concrete meridian on a Las Vegas roadway not by foolishly choosing to stop their car to investigate a)a worm, b)an anomalous 2-way gate opening to another universe or c) some eye catching graffiti but because they failed to learn to never mix up exotic orders of hard liquor shots.  Stick with your fave or else you will black out, trip on the meridian while crossing the street and die choking on your own vomit.

Common sense is really useful.  It keeps you from doing stupid stuff.  And if you choose to do stupid stuff anyway, common sense at least offers you an indemnity against naivete; better off to start the night with a condom in your pocket than to blame your parents or Mr. Premature Ejaculator for your unplanned pregnancy.   It is also a great aid for smelling bullshit.  You mean, if I buy thousands of dollars of all these products for sample inventory so I can sell the same products to all my family and friends for a 2% commission, I may actually break even in two years?  Wow, sign me up!!!!!

I think it’s great Mensa wants to sort out the chaff from the wheat.  You can join other high IQ people and feel really great about how smart you are.   I’ve never taken their admission test but I imagine meetings where instead of names, everyone has their IQ written on a sticky tag on their sweaters.  Everyone wears sweaters because who goes to a Mensa meeting wearing a T-shirt?  Unless the T-shirt says something incredibly witty and then the sweater people are left secretly cursing themselves for the banality of their attire.  I suspect there could a deep chasm within the organization along the divides of the sweater people versus the T-shirt people.  Maybe the conversations are not intellectually stimulating  at all but instead filled with vitriol for the opposing fashion camp.   Maybe their exam should have had a multiple choice question that required the options a)cotton b)cotton-blend c)nylon d)wool e)polyester.  That would have cleared up the admissions process real fast.

I don’t think of myself as particularly smart but I think I’ve made a few critical observations the last few years that more accurately reflect on intelligence.  First, ask yourself, are you or anyone else you know dishwasher retarded?  Dishwasher retarded is sadly, a common problem.  Maybe you have had family or friends visiting and someone gamely offers to load the dishwasher.  Sure, what could go wrong?  Except it does.  The person is dishwasher retarded.  Everything is thrown in half haphazardly, omitting the organization required to fit more than four plates and a couple of bowls.  You wait for them to leave the kitchen so you can reorganize all the cups and serving dishes to be able to load 30 more dishes.  Who the hell puts glassware on the bottom rack?  Dishwasher retards, that’s who.

Do you live with anyone?  Do you hate replacing the toilet roll every day because they are too lazy to do it?  Have you paid thousands of dollars in legal fees to divorce or evict someone that couldn’t be bothered to reload the toilet paper?  I’m going to tell you something that will blow your mind: not all toilet paper is the same.  In fact, the toilet paper companies like ripping you off and ruining your marriage.  Never buy 1-ply.  People who grew up in 1-ply homes are the same people who wrap half the roll around their hand just to wipe pee.  1-ply guarantees urine or fecal wetness will soak through to your hand.  3-ply is the opposite problem.  You raise a generation of spoiled brats who become accustomed  to having their asses wiped with goose down.  It’s over the top and usually expensive when 2-ply works fine.  You can buy the Cadillac but the Ford Focus will still get you there.  But the world of 2-ply is a deceiving place.  A 12 pack of one brand is NOT the 12 pack of another brand.  Disregarding the width of a roll, because they even cut those corners, it all comes down to number of sheets.  I spend the most time in the toilet paper and paper towel isle.  I do rough mental math on number of rolls multiplied by number of sheets to give me the approximate sheets in the whole package.  I figure out the cost per unit.  Every grocery store will give you a cost per lb, cost per kg, cost per unit of almost everything in the entire store EXCEPT the paper isle.  You are on your own.  This is where you separate the chaff from the wheat.  Do the math: you will discover that sometimes buying 4 packages of  six rolls of the premium brand is cheaper than the bulk 24 package of generic.  Added plus:  the rolls of 2-ply with the most number of sheets are also the mostly densely packed meaning that roll of toilet paper has a fighting chance of lasting 3-5 days in a household of 4 people.  Insane right?  You save money and you save your sanity.

I’ll leave you with one last item.   This is for all the bakers out there: fucking whipping cream.  I’ve tried to avoid the f__ word in this blog but it is time to break it out.  Everyone who is ever cracked open a cook book knows that measurements for cream come in 1/2 cup, 1 cup or 2 cups.  The last few years we’ve seen companies maintain their competitive pricing by secretly downsizing the container and offering less product.  1 Litre has become 975 or 950 mL and so forth so that the decrease is imperceptible.  Except cream.  Cream is one of those essential cooking items used in precise measurements and it has always been sold in cartons of 250, 500 and 1000 mL.  Until now.  Recently, I bought a carton of 473mL of whipping cream.  Who sells whipping cream in non-divisible amounts?  It’s like selling pants with one leg at 32″ and the other leg at 34″.  It makes no sense.  Even if you’re one of those squint yer eye and guesstimate kind of cooks, 27 mL is a serious shortfall for recipes that desire the depth and creaminess of well, cream.  My solution:  buy more than you need and put whip cream on your coffee.  F__ em’.  Get fat and die of heart disease.  They just lost 10 years of cream purchases from me.  Or go vegan and stop using cream altogether but that seems like unnecessary suffering to me.  Either way, revenge is its own kind of brilliance.