There are several reasons I will never work in PR or marketing. First and foremost, I have not had a soul-ectomy. My soul is still intact and so I am obviously precluded from working in this field, favoured as it is by Satan’s most devious minions. Another reason is that I’m no good with names and so could never master the dark art of “schmoozing.”
You know those people who can walk around a room full of people they’ve met may once, shaking hands and calling everyone by name? That isn’t me. I need to talk to someone day after day for weeks until I remember their name. I’m far worse than average at this and this makes life as a contractor a little difficult. Usually I end up in new workplaces two or three times a year which means I have to learn a whole bunch of new names each time. And it’s horribly unfair – they only have to learn one new name (mine) while I have to learn all of theirs.
I spend a ridiculous amount of time walking around saying “Hey, how are you going?” without using a name then walking off in horror thinking “Oh god, they know my name, who the hell was that?” People usually end up thinking I’m very security conscious because I always suggest that everyone should wear prominently displayed name tags at all times. The building manager thinks “Fine idea, it will be easier to spot unauthorised people.” I think “at least I’ll have a slightly better chance of getting people’s names right.”
I know I’m not unique in suffering from this social disability. Some friends of mine had a band called The Sweets of Sin and they summed up the feeling of groping for a name you feel you should know very well in one of their songs, “What’s In A Name?”:
Like running underwater, stumbling in the darkness/
Fumbling from the bedroom to the bathroom in the night/
Like feeling for that mousetrap you placed behind the fridge/
Searching for those names only getting them half right.
This affliction is playing on my mind for two reasons at the moment. First, I’ve had to move desks for the fifth time this year in my current job. All the team surrounding me remain the same but there are always new people just over the cubicle wall. A disturbing number of them already know my name so I’m spending a lot of time nodding and smiling but refusing to actually speak. Second, this contract is almost over so I’ll be going somewhere new and starting the whole horrible process all over again.
Even the interview process sucks for me. Five minutes after being told someone’s name in an interview I’ve forgotten it. So I spend the whole interview trying to act friendly and personable while avoiding saying names in an attempt to avoid admitting I’ve already forgotten. Then, straight after the stress of an interview, the agency always wants to know how it went. That’s OK but they always end up asking “Who did you talk to?” I don’t fucking know, some people. You’re supposed to organise these things, don’t you know who I spoke to?
I’m sure I have a reputation as a total flake. Even with people who don’t know about this blog. I wish I had a drug habit I could blame it on.