Monday, November 24, 2008


Guff : Over-inflated information, bordering on superfluous or wholly irrelevant. (the Urban Dictionary)

My current job, is the same job I landed after I left the university. I have not worked for the private sector much - (beyond the odd waitressing stint and that time I worked for a retail store for a month before deciding I'd much rather be anal probed by large-handed aliens). I had plenty of experience, but really, not really.

So, going into my third year, I'm amazed at the learning curve I managed to scale. Its not so much how much I learned, but rather, the what I have learned. I had no idea what I was asking for as I was cleverly crafting my resume while throwing caution to the winds of private enterprise.

I think the most important lesson I learned is the fine art of crafting guff. That's what my colleague and I call it. Call it bullshit and people tend to ignore what you have written. Bite your tongue and presto bingo... its called clever marketing collateral, or integrated end-to-end technology and communication solutions. Connect two tin cans with a string and you have an integrated end-to-end technology and communication solution. It's an art, I've discovered. I have not really found the limit to guff, although I am very careful that there is some semblance of reality in there. I find it rather entertaining actually. This has also fed into my already cynical view of the world. And that needed very little assistance.

Good thing my job is not solely involved with guff. I get to do all the graphic design - which is my guff compensation. I've been writing proposals lately. Guff galore.

After working with a university for 10 years, I was somewhat shocked at what business writing tended to get away with. After the years and years of driving the importance and necessity of grounding ideas in theory and context, I found this strategy only weighed me down. Now unbound, I can produce unadulterated and unapologetic guff. If you offer someone common sense and real advice, the client feels gypped somehow. Hide the common sense among the guff, and they rave at the solution you offer. Now, more than ever, have I understood why the economy is in such a state. There is a very fine line between selling swampland in Florida and offering an integrated integrated end-to-end technology and communication solutions. Cynical, that's me. Its called a survival mechanism.

And this proposal thing. Working for a small business (which I do), is like being in a constant state of unemployment. You're always chasing down new jobs. Some jobs last a year or so, some a few weeks, others a few days. I also had no idea I would be an itinerant worker. Instead of picking apples, I pick the very vest guff words du jour. Strategic, Innovative, Solution, Proven, Driven....There is no room for words like sanguine or vexing... Proposals are superannuated resumes.

Private Enterprise Lesson #1: Everybody Guffs. Deal.


Hotboy said...

No one with any sense would ever employ me, so I may not find out too much about his guff! Hotboy

MC Etcher said...

Cool term, Guff.

Could we find a way to work in MacGuffin?

Reluctant Housewife said...

Guff. Yes it's a fine art.

PS: I have an award for you at my blog.