“How’s working at McDonald’s going for you?”

Edgar McDonald's

[At a party.]

“So what do you do for a living, Johnson?”

“Uh… it’s Jonathan… I’m a… well, a writer.”

“A writer? You write books? Novels?”

“No, no, no. No. Definitely not.


“But I do write a little thing… a little columny thing… in the paper.”

“The local paper? Well that’s nice.”

“No. The Age. And The Sydney Morning Herald. And some other ones online.”

“Oh. What do you write about?”

“Well… I dunno… stuff.”

“Stuff? As in auction prices?”

“Auction pri-? What? No. Stuff like work, life in the corporate world, management buzzwords.”

“Give me an example of one of these columns of yours.”

“Well… um… for instance… I might talk about how difficult this conversation can be.”

“Which conversation?”

“The one we’re having now. The one that starts with ‘So what do you do, Jonathan?’ ”

“Sounds fascinating. And what did you do at uni to qualify you to be a columnist?”

“Well, I’m not really… I did Arts. A Bachelor of Arts.”

“Oh. A Bachelor of Arts? Oh! Wow! How’s working at McDonald’s going for you?”

“No. Remember. Five seconds ago, I told you I don’t work at McDonald’s.”

“You did. You did. That’s right. How long have you been doing this… column?”

“About four years.”

“Oh. OK. Wow. Every couple of months, or…?”

“No. Every week.”

Weekly? Don’t you run out of ideas?”

“Something usually pops up.”



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

You can read the column – Benign to Five – in those papers every Saturday, and if you miss it, you can look it up online in the Workplace 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.)

Read more Haught newspaper columns

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