Here's a bet. Walk into any sales department and ask how many of the salespeople would prefer to be in "marketing". Watch the hands go up. No surprise really - cold calling is gut-pureeing humiliation, whereas marketing is sort of vague and sexy. Everyone wants the job where you get to doodle on whiteboards rather than actually having to, you know, roll your sleeves up and flog stuff. Same goes for most jobs. The coveted job is the one where you brainstorm and strategise rather than, say, mop floors, install heaters or make industrial-sized batches of custard (actually, that last one could be rather fun).
Politicians exemplify this faux work phenomenon. A polly's idea of toil is sitting in a meeting drinking carafes of water and eating peppermints. They get so used to this, they forget there is any other kind of work. No wonder our productivity is so rubbish with this lot in charge. They forget that thinking is easy, doing is hard.
Former Labour party MP Georgina Beyer, after three terms in Parliament, is a perfect example. The unemployed politician says she might move to Australia because no one wants to give her a job. Reading more closely, it is clear that what she is after is not actually a job, per se (I am sure she could get a gig at Subway) but some jammy board appointments.
This is what is known as a "sinecure", the grace-and-favour position where no actual work is involved. "That I'm of no further use to my country is why I'm considering Australia, that my former parliamentary colleagues seem not to want to appoint me to anything," sniffed Beyer. Note my italics. So not only do politicians want to shimmy around cocktail parties being paid by the taxpayer, they also want to loll about afterwards getting paid for "skills and experience" picked up at said cocktail parties.
Officially, people are appointed to boards for their judgment, because it would be embarrassing to admit they are simply a distribution of patronage. But everyone except Ms Beyer seems to know this. Ms Beyer was chair of the Social Services select committee but is better known for moaning about how mean everyone was at the Beehive and, after leaving politics, walking out on a role in a play at the 11th hour because she "wasn't ready". She may have great skills and experience but she palpably has not got judgment, because she ignores one obvious fact. If even the former head of the World Trade Organisation, Mike Moore, is not considered by this Government to have anything to contribute to public bodies, her chances are slim to zero.
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Through the ages there have always been bores. But the democratisation of luxury means now everyone can be a bore on a scale like never before.
You must have met some of the following: wine bores (long finish, tannin, yawn), vintage car bores (hand-made, carburettor, yawn), photography bores (megapixels, composition, yawn) , hi-fi bores (tweeters, woofers, yawn), art bores (po-mo, Bienale, yawn), rug bores (Islamabad, Silk Road, yawn), foodie bores (heritage grains, El Bulli, yawn) and music bores (bootleg, Mahler, yawn). Everyone wants to be special and the less special they are, the more they hope their rare taste in luxury goods will set them apart from the crowd. What happens when everyone fancies themselves a connoisseur? We all bore ourselves to death, that's what.