Monday, October 28, 2013

Of whale ships and agencies.

The closest I ever got to working on a whaler, of roaming the south seas in search of spermaceti and baleen, was from the pages of Herman Melville in "Moby Dick."

He gave you the jealousies, the camaraderie, the mania, the tedium, the excitement. Melville also gave me an idea of how a business ought to be run.

On a whale ship, every man was apportioned a share of the oil collected. So Queequeg, who had hipster tattoos centuries before that benighted species roamed the earth, had, say, ten shares thanks to his prowess as a harpooner. Whereas Ishmael, a green landlubber had half a share.

This morning I am in before seven to get someone else's work done.

That is someone else was incapable so they called on me.

They will hock me when I try to expense my early-morning cab.

They won't pay me extra for the extra money I am securing for the agency.

They won't, when the time comes, bonus me, or business class me, or even send me a bottle of wine on my four-year anniversary here.

I have no share in the wealth.

I just labor for it.

Perhaps why agencies are growing as extinct as whale ships.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...


Isn't that business as usual when you work for one of the holding companies?

You have my sympathy up to the hipster tattoo slam. Your generation had long hair. Ours has tattoos. I can understand if you don't like them but that doesn't make them any less valid.

George Tannenbaum said...

The only difference between long hair and tattoos is indelible-ness.

Hannah said...

where there's a whale there's a way!