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“It’s nearly impossible for those of us who despise the Straight World to avoid it. Many of us spend 8 hours a day there just to survive. The Straight World doesn’t take kindly to aberrance. That’s why some of us would rather not reveal ourselves. We move like shadows through the Straight World, keeping our secrets. We don’t need smoke to make ourselves disappear.”
-Pissed Jeans promo copy
Found a Job
So as soon as I graduated from college, with a useless B.A. in a Non-Field and no practical skills besides a palpable disdain for everything conformist, I went home to lock up and get drunk. From there I spun recklessly into a world of hedonism and instantaneous, Dionysian gratification that lasted for months. After all, who needs to become a productive member of society when you have impeccable credit and an empty Mastercard?
My own impending doom became clear to me one late November night when, halfway into a case of cheap, rust-belt-garbage beer and a gram-chud of scraped resin, I decided that I didn’t want to play San Andreas on the PS2. I just didn’t have the patience to sit through the load screen and put all the effort into, (1) breaking into the Vegas airport, (2) hijacking a plane, (3) flying over the vacant desert, and (4) crashing nine-elevenically into a San Francisco skyscraper.
This classy video game ritual had always brought unlimited glory before, serving as a dependable method for circumventing my body’s natural reward system. Unfortunately, the grim realization had finally set in that I’d developed a tolerance to simulated, “too-soon” atrocities, and that I’d dug myself way too far into irresponsible debt. I could fill two full issues of Le Beast with cover-to-cover content in one fell swoop, said my hasty calculations that night, and I still wouldn’t have made enough in commission to keep the Collections Agents at bay.
“I need to get a fucking job,” I thought to myself, with all of the morose connotations that this statement implies.
The next day I found myself sitting in the office of a local temp agency.
My Placement Agent was asking: “So what skills can you contribute to a potential employer?”
“Uhhh…” I struggled, simultaneously aware of the stilted retardation of the question and of my own pathetic impracticality in stilted situations. “Creativity?”
The PA didn’t even move her pen, and didn’t even look up at me. After a terse thirty-second silence, she leveled, “Tell you what…”
Straight World Glossalgia
Leadership Skills: The new gold standard for a vapid, no-actual-skill-having, impressionable workforce, “Leadership Skills” is now a critical component of a “Success-oriented” resume. Leadership Skills are a commodity that one can acquire from career development seminars held in Campus Union Buildings and hotels near airports. Their increasing trendiness obfuscates their truly intangible, abstract nature. C’mon. Remember how the Nazis instituted social pecking orders that allowed even the most antisocial miscreants to be effective organizers? Tell me: what are Leadership Skills?
Competency Interview: Dehumanizing companies—and the hiring managers whose bodies’ they’ve taken control of—want to make sure that you will fully bend to the state of Empty Vessel, ready to have the company’s agenda replace your own (lack thereof). While an interviewer in the past might have concerned himself with questions about your education and experience, today’s interviewer wants to know if you “fit in with the company’s culture.” I’ll cut to the chase: If it’s promotions, cars, and vacation houses you want, then you do.
Team Building Exercises: Getting everyone from the Accounts Department to transport an egg across your company’s conference room using toothpicks and a piece of hose doesn’t “facilitate group productivity.” It gets everyone out of their desolate cubicles for a few minutes and temporarily boosts morale. In effect, team building exercises merely replace the function of the typical Ass-Grabbing, Racist-Joke-Telling Chauvinist from the olden days of white-male-dominated workplaces: They provide some good-natured fun in between the paperwork.
Multiculturalism: Q: What do presidential campaigns have in common with fancy corporate office buildings? A: They are littered with clichéd images in which people of varying ages, ethnicities and sexes are united under one grand scheme. Q: What do presidential campaigns and major corporations have in common? A: They are both manipulative social forces that conceal their own true agendas by appealing on their surface to mass audiences. At its twisted root, the Multiculturalism movement in corporate culture implies that all races can reach their full potential by cooperating to… I don’t know… ensure efficient Project Management strategies with actionable assessment protocol. But after work, the white employees will still try to find faster routes back to the suburbs, and women will still be cashing smaller paychecks, right?
The Hardest Test I’ve Ever Taken
Sometime during the mechanical exchange in which my Placement Agent offered me a guaranteed position doing menial tasks for a major transnational corporation at ten bucks an hour, she casually slipped in mention of a drug test. There I was, not ten hours removed from my last foray into the illustrious world of Weedy Green Drugs, and about to embark on the most grueling body-regulating regimen of my life.
The standard pre-employment drug screen is an EMIT test that can scan for trace amounts of THC in the urine, sometimes followed by the more rigorous (and expensive) GC/MS test to eliminate false positives. If you drink enough water on the day of your test, color your urine with B vitamins, simulate the natural chemical composition of piss with creatinine supplements, eat four aspirin, toss a ton of niacin-containing herbal detox tea into the dumpster that was once your biological system a few hours before the test, and be sure to avoid giving the beginning and end of your dirty potty stream, you will probably be good to go. Should they decide to employ a GC/MS test? You’re screwed. Hair follicle? Don’t even show up.
Both the EMIT and the GC/MS are fucked up, though, because they are skewed against the typical marijuana fiend. Without adequate tampering (see above), even an EMIT test can detect weed that was taken into your system up to fifteen weeks prior. On the other hand, traces of real, hard drugs, like heroin and cocaine, are gone in under a week. Companies that institute drug-screening policies are in essence saying, “Hey, we want a workforce that could have been doing smack and yayo last weekend, but not one that toked on Greenie Weed Drugs three months ago.”
Remarkably, I passed the test and landed a demeaning job, or at least the company “overlooked” my THC-saturated piss. I do happen to know a handful of other Dope-Smoking, Straight-World-Embarking peers who miraculously passed their respective companies’ drug screens. And therein lies a message of hope for my doomed generation’s pot-addled ways. Perhaps the “organization” is finally aware that a ganjed-up workforce isn’t necessarily a bad one; that the lessons of the ‘80s corporate culture have finally been sublimated. A weed addict has likely bastardized his capricious drives, replacing them with detached complacency, whereas a corporate douchebag’s oversexed ego will displace his lacks just as easily into destructive greed as into productivity.
So there you go. You want to sell your soul for a 401k and a Dental Plan, doing tedious tasks that they simply don’t have a cheap enough robot to do? You can still have a blast in the Real World anyway. Just remember to drink tons of water and crush up some B-12 and creatine into a Gatorade the day of the exam. Just in case that ‘80s corporate culture isn’t as sublimated as I thought.
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