Whatever word you use for whatever it is you think we do… we’ve been called a lot of things before.
Poisoner, abortionist, false-speaker, traitor, charlatan.
At least two of our most celebrated professional ancestors have been spies for the Crown.
Magic’s waters are murky and its sea lanes unguarded.
So it strikes me that we have inadvertently been handed an advantage in finding the upside to this current apocalypse. In theory, our heads should already be in the game.
But are they?
As previously mentioned, the corporate sector -indeed almost the entire global workforce- is now completely feral. If any of you think that fairness and security can be returned to the employment marketplace by strikes or group action then may I humbly suggest you head over to Google News and type in “Greece”.
At least once a quarter these magical internets embark on an increasingly repetitive exploration of magical ethics. They are in fact so regular that if you skip checking your feeds for a couple of days and you miss it you can think to yourself “meh, I’ll catch it next time around. Might have something new to say then.”
The codes of conduct for deploying enchantment on behalf of clients are robust, sound and in near-universal acceptance. But what about your personal code of conduct?
As far as anyone can see, effort and reward have been permanently detached in any meaningful sense. Ask yourself this. Even in countries with universal health care, do you think what is on offer is getting better or worse? Do you think it is getting more or less expensive? Do you foresee a time when the cost of food will fall? What about fuel?
If you have kids, what are the medium-term implications of all this given we have all-but destroyed the state schooling system and tertiary education is in most cases an overpriced lie?
Are you on top of all this? (If so, please adopt me. I can tidy my own room and am mostly toilet-trained.)
The thing is… I’m not entirely convinced that this current apocalypse indicates a downward trend. Picture a needle on a seismograph, swinging wildly in an earthquake. We are getting higher highs and lower lows, spaced ever more closely together. In short, we are moving into an era of increasing chaos. Again, this should confer upon us a homeground advantage.
What fighting dirty looks like
To be clear, fighting dirty does not mean “being evil”. Fighting dirty is simply what the other guy calls it when you use the extraordinary to secure victory.
To fight dirty, in the words of the Sun Tzu, is “to become skilled in giving rise to the extraordinary”.
And this is what it looked like to me this last week in Hamburg.
I race from partner meetings that I just know are going to end up in court to genteel lunches by frozen canals paid for by everyone’s favourite search engine… a company that simultaneously needs us but is also building its own near-identical offering.
(Thank the gods the English taught me meaningless small talk because the Germans suck at it.)
The thing about start-ups is that every single one of them goes through the “champagne phase” when they first get investor money and then, after a few years, move into the “dystopic game show phase” where any variance to target results in summary execution of at least one intern.
The trouble with reporting in three currencies in 2012 is that by the end of the year I will probably be reporting in five currencies… one collapsing, one new, one resurrected, one in the toilet and… uhh… also US dollars. Even if I’m amazeballs at commercialising media (and I am) there is going to be a substantial target variance and only a limited number of interns to shoot.
So we are in proper Game of Thrones territory now and if you’re employed anywhere in the corporate sector then so are you. Who is your boss going to fire first? Herself or you? Does that mean you need to find a way to disintermediate her role?
Doing your job is “the ordinary”. “The extraordinary” is using your job to create better visibility for yourself, more training you can use as a differentiator, better industry contacts and a flawless internal reputation that reaches at least two rungs above your boss.
Accomplish this by any means necessary. Like the lady says, “there is no middle ground.”
Fighting dirty doesn’t just apply to your career. Fighting dirty applies to any aspect of your life where you are probably lying to yourself about how high the stakes really are.
Example. I suffer from episodic depression and also SAD. Didn’t get it this winter -probably because it’s been so warm and sunny- but if I did I would have asked one of my few remaining friends who are actually cool how I go about procuring a single dose of ketamine. (If you’ve never had SAD or depression then please don’t judge. It’s shitfucking horrible and ruins my life and the lives of those around me. I cannot afford to bring anything less than my A-Game to this apocalypse or people will lose their jobs. See above.)
Ketamine not an option? Then I would have hopped a train to one of the few remaining places in Europe where magic mushrooms are legal-ish for the same reason.
Cancer scare? High doses of THC have reversed lung cancer in mice. Mate tea has a compound that kills colon cancer cells. (My father is now drinking it as he had colon cancer this time last year.)
Anxiety-related insomnia? Have a caffeine nap. Exam to study for? Then you should be interleaving. (Sidebar: Interleaving hints toward one of the reasons why shoaling is so much more successful than individual sigil activation.)
Trying to overcome a psychological trauma or even just a rough day at work? Forget about it. Literally. Action interferes with cognition so cook yourself a really complicated dinner this evening. (More sigil relevance there.) Can’t afford a house? Build one for three grand. (And build me one. I fucking love it!)
Fighting dirty is anytime you say “F the haterz” because the stakes are too high to just rely on the ordinary to achieve your goals. And sometimes the high road is not the way to get there. Sometimes things need to get murky. Are you up for that?
Here’s the Sun Tzu again:
The plans of the wise necessarily include advantage and harm.
They include advantage. Thus one’s service can be trusted.
They include harm. Thus adversity can be undone.
The plans of the wise, eh? And are we not wizards?