SIDENOTE: I make promotional videos of Christmas Trees. This is my job.
My extremely attractive co-worker - let's call her Natalie - looks across the desk at me.
"Nick," she says, "what exactly are you doing?"
"Well Natalie, I'm watching the latest edit of my most recent video on the duchess spruce christmas tree and preparing to record a voiceover for it. This, you see, is my job".
"Yes Nick," she replies patiently, "but why are you doing this?"
"Well you see, Natalie, these videos need to go online so that people can see what our trees are like and choose to buy them this Christmas. For this to happen someone has to create the videos and, as I believe I have already mentioned, that job is mine."
"Yes Nick," she replies again, "but why are you doing this and not working for the BBC or the Times or any of those other big, reputable news organisations. Weren't you at one point aiming to be a journalist?"
"And broadcaster. Well, either really."
"Journalist and/or broadcaster then. Why aren't you doing that?"
"Well you see Natalie, as it turns out it's very hard to get a job in this area. All of these big, reputable organisations want someone with experience."
"Ah, and that's a problem for you, isn't it?"
"Because you don't have any."
"Alright then". Natalie goes back to her work and I continue looking at christmas trees. A moment later she looks up again.
"Nick," she says, "why don't you get some experience?"
"Because Natalie," I reply, "It's very hard to get any experience when all the places that you could gain experience from already require you to have some experience."
"Ah, I see. So it's a bit like Catch 22."
"No, it has nothing to do with World War II."
"But Nick," she persists "can't you do some free work experience on a local level, or for any of the millions of online publications that exist?"
"Well of course I could, Natalie, and I have on occasion been known to write articles for other people, or indeed create my own website to showcase my written work, but unfortunately the time it takes to write these sorts of things is considerable and much more financially beneficial when spent filming Christmas Trees, believe it or not."
"It just seems to me that if you want to actually get anywhere and do what you've been wanting to do for so long, you should be doing all you can to make it a reality."
"Well I also make some stupid sketches sometimes. It's not the best, but at least I can use them to show off my filming and editing skills".
"Yes but Nick someone with your impressive array of abilities as well as your natural charisma, intelligence and wit should really be utilising these skills professionally. Not just for yourself, but for the rest of us who want to be witness to everything you could become."
It may be clear to you now that Natalie is not, in fact, a real person and I actually work alone.
"Natalie, that would be lovely and, much as I dearly love working with you, I would be lying if I said I didn't want to be working on bigger and better things. But with the economy the way it is with the unemployment rate rising to over 21% amongst my age group, and me aiming to break in to one of the most competitive job areas there is, do I really have a hope?"
"Nick, just take a look at yourself. You're wearing the same T-shirt you've worn to work on three other days this week. You haven't shaved for nearly two weeks. You haven't had a haircut since last January. You're still wearing the wristband from Leeds Festival 2008. Your desk is covered with empty water bottles and sandwich wrappers.
"OK, OK, I see what you're trying to do. But aren't you twisting things around a bit? Maybe I'm like that because I'm already working here and I don't have to look smart or live in a hygienic environment."
"But Nick you don't want any of that either. Look a little way down through this blog."
"Oh, you mean my unfinished story?"
"No, that's stupid, never go near that again. Leave it to rot. Look at where you made your new years resolutions."
"Look at the person you wanted to be. You wanted to move out and live on your own."
"I will when I get a job."
"You wanted to write something proper."
"I'm working on some stuff."
"You wanted to re-invent yourself as Don Draper."
"OK, well I drink whisky out of a glass with ice now, not straight from the bottle. That's one step closer right?"
"Well...I did grow my hair back! That was on there! And I can sort of play a few more guitar chords. And I got over my unhealthy obsession with...oh..."
"The top point - priority number one - was to find a proper job that you actually wanted to do."
"Well maybe I was being naive then. Maybe I didn't realise that I was taking on an impossible task. There are hundreds of people out there just like me, who are in the exact same situation."
"Exactly Nick. Just think about those other 16-24 year olds that make up that 21%. How many of them do you think are in the same condition? How many do you think wear band T-shirts every day and focus on trivialities instead of what was really important? Now I may be just a humble literary device representing your own nagging sense of self-worth, but maybe if you smartened up, focused yourself on what you really wanted to do, actually did some proper work towards it, applied for some voluntary placements, got to know people within the business, and stopped spending your lunch hour writing down hypothetical conversations with your imaginary co-worker who's resemblance to Natalie Portman isn't as subtly implied as you think, you might actually demonstrate some worth and make something of yourself."
I look straight at her. She's right. I can't argue with her. Mostly because the points she made have just come from my own head.
"You're right Natalie. Wow, if only everyone had this kind of flu induced, self-referential, celebrity-based epiphany about their own professional life. We could probably come up with the kind of radical, imaginative solutions needed to get us through this dark financial point in the country's history."
I look around the office, but Natalie's gone. I'm alone again with the christmas trees. I guess she had other people to help...