The Haught guide to snake oil salesmen

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Remember those holographic wrist bands that claimed to improve balance and sporting performance by ‘‘aligning key energy symmetries’’? They still exist, but that (along with the About Us section of powerbalance.com) is just a gloriously absurd aside. The fact that they ever existed, full stop, is all that really matters.

As long as you understand that rubber bracelets imbedded with a small holographic image once took the sporting (and then wider) world by storm, you need never become depressed by your career stagnation again.

The worst mistake you can make as a citizen of the 21st century is to believe that the age in which it was possible to quit one’s anaesthetising job and take to the road selling a miracle tincture made of tree sap, rancid avocado juice and buffalo urine out of a horsedrawn caravan is long past.

Yes, the market for such a concoction has disappeared but the descendants of those who purchased bottles by the dozen are here today, and their descendants will be there tomorrow, all eager to throw money at the product of your charlatanry.

What this means is that there is no such thing as a dead-end job. There is merely a job so bad that it forces you to ram through your vocational cul-de-sac in a tank and come out the other end a happy, thoroughly fulfilled con artist, firing zesty placebos out of your entrepreneurial gun turret.

Never, ever tell yourself there’s no way out of a bad job pit. The holographic bracelet is proof that there’s a way out of everything.

Even reality.

An edited version of this article first appeared in the MyCareer section of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

You can read Benign to Five in those papers every Saturday, and if you miss it, you can look it up online in the BusinessDay section of The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times, WAToday and Brisbane Times. (I now wankishly call myself a “syndicated columnist” on my CV.)

 

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