Authenticity in Times of Austerity

Still musing on authenticity as I augment several conversations I’ve had with people over the last few weeks and add in random incidents. In times of austerity the market place is dominated by the demands of the buyer both in a personal and a professional sense. So many more people available for hire and fewer people hiring. How can one remain true to oneself when up against a set of undisclosed criteria?

A male friend phoned for a chat after yet another knock back on the ladies front; finding internet dating freaked him out he had decided to spend his free evenings learning a language. What more perfect way to get to know someone in a non-threatening environment; said friend is a little bit shy. Over the first few weeks he had struck you conversation with a fellow student; they’d been out for a coffee and to the cinema. It all seemed to be going swimmingly until she said she wasn’t into men! A little taken aback he braced himself for the next sentence being she preferred women which he said was fair enough. Thinking they could just be friends they went out for a walk one sunny afternoon when she regaled him with the men she’d been chatting to on line the night before! Apparently she’d didn’t stop once she’d got going!

Why wasn’t she just honest and say she wasn’t interested in him he asked. Well there’s a question which only she can answer but he has a point. He’s allowed to wallow in the self doubt that comes from such an experience but do I have any tips as to how to spot ‘psychos’(his word)? Frankly no I don’t sadly and it was ever thus unfortunately.

And then there are a number of conversations with friends and colleagues about the reasons we’ve been unsuccessful in pitches for work and or applications for jobs. All the feedback can be summarised in the phrase ‘the successful applicant/tenderer demonstrated something exceptional’. The definition of exceptional is never disclosed and when the successful entity is revealed it is even less evident! I have to say that hearing some stories the younger person does seem to be in a more advantageous position; one anecdote from a woman in her mid 40s had hints of ageism. Of course the individual concerned takes a personal perspective and could be reading more into the ‘no thank you’ letter than was ever intended by the author. Exactly how old is too old; when does experience lose its value? Falling into this age bracket I confess to finding the experience a tad alarming. Sadly the opinion of the beautician who does my facials and constantly tells me how good my skin is (considering I smoke and woof prescription drugs in abundant) doesn’t carry any weight on the work front! Although she is a surprisingly good judge of character.

 The acute irony of spending ones professional life supporting the development of other peoples potential is sometimes you find them competing against you! Whilst one is pleased ones clients respond so well to the coaching/mentoring a wry smile on these occasions is a challenge sometimes. But then there is always the possibility in their enhanced position they might still need a little bit of support (and now they have the income to fund it).

Another of these conversations took place at my house recently; the beer and pizza option where I listen and sympathise as the other person drinks beer and eats pizza. It’s a tried and tested formula; until the lights go out. Barry has experienced a number of power cuts recently although this was the first one whilst I was in the house. As my visitor arrives I am pondering on what to do; stay in and find candles or go out. The pizza was thankfully already cooked; in fact one of them is a little overcooked with more than a hint of a charcoal topping! But in candle light no-one needs to know I think and serve it anyway. Pizza in the dark has a certain ring about it a la murder in the dark.

The amusing side of the story is I don’t have candle sticks so in front of my visitor I saw the candles in half with a vegetable and melt the bottoms so they stand up in egg cups (actually sangria cups with matching jug). The evening took on the air of the confessional as candle light isn’t exactly the most illuminating! But it is flattering to the older skin especially when a recent spate of sleepwalking has left a bruise on ones jaw line – the side effects of one of the drugs albeit not one listing on the handy insert unless that’s what is meant by disturbed sleep patterns!

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