the tamago report

Eggs benedictated

Month: March, 2012

The Question of Lost Potential

by MDY

All around me, people my age are chasing their dreams. Some want to be top-notch lawyers or surgeons, commanding the respect and awe from society which they feel they either deserve or need to make a dent upon this world. Others strive for the pinnacles of thought, to be the academes and intellectuals who will someday forge humanity’s path towards greater enlightenment. Still others eschew the “boring” strictures of the professions: they are the would-be entrepreneurs, the self-declared change agents and doers who are destined for greatness. And then there’s the vast but silent majority whose dream is to simply know what they should be dreaming of.

I too am following a dream, but it is one which few of my peers understand.

My dream does not suit my skin. It does not suit who I “am”, at least according to those who think they know me. How many incredulous gazes have grazed my cheek, how many exclamations of surprise – most polite, some less so – when they realise I’m not joking? For those people, I have aimed too low. They don’t usually say it, but they think it: “he is wasting his life away, with that dream of his.” They’re polite about it but their eyes speak what they know to be true: I am a case of lost potential.

I have myriad advantages available to me. This is not boastfulness, nor pride, just a statement of fact. Fact too is the statement that I have earned few of these advantages. They have been granted to me through no merit of my own, whether it be the circumstances of my birth or the decisions made by others on my behalf. The nature of these gifts is not lost on me. I have done my best to use them wisely, and hope that I can continue doing so. And once, not so long ago, I too strove for greatness, to imprint my name upon the cosmos like all other young people seek to do. But that dream has changed a little since then.

I don’t pretend to know more than any other. I don’t pretend my dream is better than someone else’s goal or ambition or hope. But I see the cost of those dreams every day, in the lives of so many of my peers cursed with good fortune. Sleepless nights and gaunt eyes, worn out from too many hours on that essay or revision. Meals skipped, tempers frayed and families rent apart in pursuit of “career advancement”, “making it big” or any number of other stock phrases which crumble when you peer too hard at them. Fluttering anxieties and that omnipresent cloak of what others call stress but I call the “hunted-feeling” because it’s that sense that if you stop running you’ll be mauled by the snarling spectre of mediocrity snapping at your heels and discarded on the roadside to bleed away and die. I see it in the people whom I love and I am afraid.

In the Iliad, Achilles chooses a short but violent life of eternal fame rather than suffer peaceful but forgotten longevity. But he does so in full knowledge of the consequences, weighing up his life and choosing what he feels is best for him and him alone. There is no “right choice” in the Achillean dilemma. And for that reason, it deserves all the deliberation which one can afford.

My dream is to live a quiet, humble life which makes do with what I’ve got. No more, no less. And I will be happiest if my final thoughts are not “I changed the world” or “I was the best”, but “I think I did okay”.

To all my peers: follow your dreams. May they take you many places, be they near or be they far. But remember that we love you not for what you do, but who you are.

Sexy Cover Letter Template

by MDY

Dear Prospective Overlord,

I saw your ad for “Sexily-Clad Minions” on the University of New South Wales’ job board and believe my experience puts me in good stead to more than fulfil the role’s requirements. I’m a professional freelance minion who most recently worked at Virgin Galactic as a space-faring hired gun for Richard Branson, a role which acclimatised me to conducting everything from boardroom negotiations to fuel procurement in skimpy women’s underwear. Some of my most notable achievements included:

  • Winning a Chinese rocket-propellant contract worth $6m for the price of a lap dance, meaning Virgin Galactic’s fuel expenditure will be $0 for the next 3 years
  • Developing and implementing Virgin Galactic’s cross-media marketing and PR strategy, resulting in a 20% sales volume increase in 6 months
  • Pillow fights with Dickie B

In doing so, I’ve honed my organisational and interpersonal skills to meet any challenge – whether it be animal, vegetable, or financial – which my overlords can slough into my enthusiastically-gaping arms. As you’ve stated in your ad, “total and utter subservience” is always a must within such roles, and I’ve been regularly commended by employers and clients alike for my ability to discard any shred of human dignity in service of their business KPIs, revenue growth strategies, and domestic housekeeping duties. To demonstrate that I do indeed “got it and flaunt it“, I’ve attached a photo taken during my stint as a skirt-wearing ninja minion for Shinobi Valley Executive Services (high-resolution copies available on request). I’ve also attached a copy of my full CV which details my time across the hospitality, travel, and professional assassination services industries, and can provide references if required.

If you have any other questions about my career background or criminal record, don’t hesitate to contact me on this email or my mobile at your convenience. I look forward to hearing from you, and thanks for your time.

Warm regards,

John Doe

PS: I won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.

(Ed: Change underlined fields to reflect the position you’re applying for, and don’t blame me if you forget to do so before you apply)

Do these three things and you’ll write faster

by MDY

It’s been a busy week for everybody (self included) and one of the things which would help all of us (self included) is to be able to write faster. A lot of people have often said to me “I envy how fast you can write – you manage to do in an hour what I could only do in three!” Could be the truth, could be hyperbolic flattery. But the trick to fast writing, as with all things, is how you approach it. These are three things which help me pick up the pace:

1. Have a plan.

Ask yourself these questions: Who am I writing for? How do I want myself to sound: formal, conversational, persuasive, explanatory? And most importantly, what do I want to say? Then write these things down. Or store them in your head if you have to. All writing should have a clear goal, and the answers to these three simple questions will provide it. Then sketch the structure of whatever you want to write (I usually do this by imagining what each paragraph, stanza or other “sub-entity” of text will be about). Write it down. There, you’re done. Now all you have to do is fill it in.

2. Gather your resources first.

I used to start writing, then fossick around for the information I needed like a thief in your underwear drawer. Not fun, often awkward, usually soil your hands in the process. Collate all your resources first and have them well-organised, whether they be academic journals or news clippings or photographs or SMS histories. And you will need resources – even if they are solely in your mind – for no writing exists in a vacuum. By doing so, you won’t have to break your flow when you get to the actual writing. As any guy knows, breaking the flow is really, really not fun. So try to avoid it.

3. Isolate.

Sometimes I need to write things really fast. Like 1000 words in an hour fast. Yes, I judge people who complain/boast about pulling all-nighters on academic assignments. Turn around 3000 words in two hours, and then we’ll talk.

Anyway. When I need to write really fast, I use pen and paper. Why? No distractions. Nothing but me and what I need to turn my colossally-untidy skein of thoughts into a well-structured entity which exists in the world. It’s faster for me to type out handwritten copy than it is to compose direct to PC (added benefit: it forces you to proof your work. More on that next week). So pen and paper. Or if you insist on electronics, rip out your network cable and turn off your WiFi. And 3G. The only sort of media you need now are the antisocial kind.

4. WRITE.

Just keep writing. Doesn’t matter if it’s trite, unformed, or complete mental vomit complete with surds and hexadecimal codes. Write until you reach the end, because you can come back and edit later. If you feel like you can’t write any more, remember Daft Punk’s wise words: “one more time”. So keep writing. Did I say three points? Oops.

In brief: celebration toniiiight celebration don’t wait too laaaaate mmmmMMMmmmm we gonna stop ahhh