Facebook Developer Garage, Paris, 2008 October 9. (c) Ludovic Toinel (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Creative Class Job Interview? Go with Stuff White People Like!

E. Forrest Christian Coaching 2 Comments

A client asks the question:

What should I do to win an executive level interview?

So let’s look at how to manipulate the forms that are expected by today’s uninformed managers.

(I’d say “idiot” but there are too many lawsuits these days.)

I’ll assume that you’re a heterosexual American guy who wants a job as part of Richard Florida’s Creative Class. If you’ve read his books, you’ll know that the Creative class is a “meritocracy”, which means that no one knows how to judge anyone else’s performance. Therefore, perception and appearances are the number one thing that you’ll be judged on. [UPDATE: I’m not being sexist or anti-gay. I just don’t know how the rules work for them.]

How you manipulate your appearance and presentation of self will determine whether you’re seen as a Winner or someone who, sadly, is not cool.

(Another weird thing is that much of what I say doesn’t apply very well in Europe. Which either says a lot about Europe or a lot about America. I have no idea if these ideas apply to women for reasons that I can’t explain because, well, I don’t need to get sued.)

Almost everything in the Creative Class is about being cool. So you just have to look ridiculous. For example, a few days ago I popped into Oak Brook’s Apple store to get a new power adapter for my Macbook. As I waited for the next “genius” (who gave me a new one free because they apparently have some type of design flaw), I noticed this weird looking little man. At first I assumed that he was a mental patient. Then it struck me: he’s a metrosexual! He was dressed like someone in their 20s who was trying to be trendy. It would look sad on a 20-something: on someone who was old enough to have a 15 year old daughter and looked at least 55, it was just weird.

This is the appearance that you are expected to deliver.

Because there are no ways of showing that you have more competence than someone else in the Creative Class (since it’s all Creativity), the goal is to ape someone who has made it. That weird guy, it turns out, is a very successful ad exec. He’s made millions as part of the new Creative Class.

So get a trendy 20-something and go shopping. If you’re a heterosexual male in his 40s (and you are) grab a woman who is not your spouse or your sister or your mother or a gay male and have them “help” you develop a metrosexual look. Trust me: the Lands End isn’t going to hack it. If you feel comfortable with wearing their choices, keep looking. You should be entirely uncomfortable and feel that you look odd as all let out.

Then you need a much better haircut. Again, something trendy. And change your glasses to something less functional and more “artful”. Remember, the main key to the Creative Class is to fit in and rigidly adhere to the Code. For more descriptions, see what Stuff White People Like (now a book!).

(On a side note: the worst thing about you is your religious beliefs. Creative Class people are tolerant, open-minded and accepting of everything accept anything that smacks of Christianity. Even Christmas.)

This is all the same as it has always been: dress like the idiots who are interviewing you. The trick here, because of who you are, is to WOW them with appearances and trickery because if they get a whiff of your real capacity they’ll sack you in an instant.

You may think that I’m saying this tongue in cheek: I’m not. The reality of the Creative Class work is that you have to look cool. You need to go to the gym, lose a lot of weight and start acting like that people who go to that crazy city church where everyone talks about Art but no one who does it can attend.

This isn’t as easy as it sounds. White People are extremely sensitive to changes in fashion Anything that becomes acceptable to non-White People (who can be, as I’ve pointed out, of any race whatsoever) will be immediately seen as a sign of your Evil-ity. So make sure that you go to a farmers’ market first.

Coming up later on this month: How to manipulate your speech to sound like someone they want to hire.

Image Credit: Facebook Developer Garage, Paris,
2008 October 9.
© Ludovic Toinel
(). Via flickr.

About the Author

Forrest Christian

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E. Forrest Christian is a consultant, coach, author, trainer and speaker at The Manasclerk Company who helps managers and experts find insight and solutions to what seem like insolvable problems. Cited for his "unique ability and insight" by his clients, Forrest has worked with people from almost every background, from artists to programmers to executives to global consultants. Forrest lives and works plain view of North Carolina's Mount Baker.  [contact]

Comments 2

  1. I recall reading this strategy for creative types: “work your quirk”. And if you don’t have any natural quirks, fake them or amplify any small ones.

    I feel so embarrassed when I see the middle-aged metrosexuals trying (unsuccessfully) to look trendy that I can’t make my eyes look at them.

    And speaking of mental patients, 25 long dark years ago I was a film extra who belonged to Actra. I liked to say I was a “villager” in the movies. I made a fortune while it lasted. One time I was asked to shave my head for 6 months to play various punk parts. One such part was juvenile delinquent working in a fish processing plant. My fellow delinquents and me spent most of our time looking menacing and fingering our knives in the background while the cameras rolled. Good times!

    I found I had to dress very, very dramatically, to pull off the shaved head outside of working hours in those days. Even to go to the corner store. Otherwise people thought I was a mental patient. When I was swimming one afternoon in a public pool I overheard some mothers say that about me!

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