imaginary outfit: continuing education

In an attempt to hone some marketable skills, I planned to take some continuing education classes this fall. When I went to register, every session was full. Honing marketable skills - it's all the rage these days.

Back at the beginning of the lost decade, a favorite professor handed me an article about developments in the corporate marketplace. It cited an internal memo from a Fortune 500 company blithely advising its employees to consider themselves free agents who needed to manage their individual careers with zero expectations of any reciprocal loyalty or help from the company. The authors of the paper spoke of this as a worrying trend.

They were on to something. Managing the industry of me is an ever-tenuous proposition. Reliable work is harder and harder to come by. No safety nets, no brass rings - it's a bewildering world to navigate, and it is swarming with desperate people.

My favorite daydreams these days involve secure, sedate office jobs, like Robert Redford's in Three Days of the Condor (pros: literary emphasis, motorbikes, Fair Isle sweaters; cons: attempted assassination) or Jack Lemmon's in The Apartment (pros: hats, typewriters, witty elevator banter; cons: libidinous coworkers). Everything looks better in the movies, but still. Steady jobs are appealing, even the pretend ones.


For the fall: jackets, ties and penny loafers. Also: Kaweco Sport fountain pens.