I Was A Market Research Phone Jockey

As I was cleaning up a spare computer to give to a friend yesterday, I found a cache of old files that I thought I’d lost to a hard drive failure years ago.

A lot of those recovered files are individual daily entries in what these days I’d probably call a workday liveblog, but which at the time I referred to as just “the worklog”. I wrote it at my desk, on an aging Palm IIIc cradled in a small keyboard peripheral for easy typing, making little time-stamped sub-entries throughout the day. At home each evening, I’d sync the text files off my Palm and upload them on some (terrible) custom blog software I’d written for myself.

My job at the time was as a “phone technician” at the (now-defunct) local call-center for one of the big market research companies. I made out-going calls, mostly cold calls, to try and either conduct or arrange for a time to conduct market research surveys with a mix of consumers, small business people, and IT folks at larger businesses. I did not like that job very much at all.

I don’t know why I started writing the worklog. But I kept at it for months; I haven’t checked, but I’d estimate I wrote somewhere on the order of 100,000 words.

This is the first entry in the worklog, from June 2003, unedited. I had been at this job for about a year at this point.


7:20 am
I’m pretty tired of clarifying with people that I’m not selling anything. Pretty much every time I talk to a receptionist, I say hi, blah blah blah, and they say, but we already have a contract for our printers, and I say, no, when I said market research I meant MARKET FUCKING RESEARCH, and they say oh, hold on, I’ll transfer you.

7:28 am
It bothers me when part of the work I do involves trying to suppress my natural reaction to another person’s reasonable statement.
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If This Blog Entry Didn’t Exist…

If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.

- Voltaire, Épître à l’Auteur du Livre des Trois Imposteurs

If [John F. Kennedy] didn’t exist, it would be necessary to invent him, and then shoot him.

- Rob Sheffield, Vanity Fair

The following is a list of some of the people, groups, places, and varyingly abstract concepts that folks on the internet believe would need to be, in the case of their non-existence, invented, according to Google.

I searched only for cases that matched the (seemingly canonical) English translation that leads this post; there are more lax forms, e.g. “…we’d have to invent him”, that turn up many additional hits if you care to go looking, but I wanted to keep things simple and go for the (arbitrarily?) pure snowclone with this one.

It’s interesting that the intention of any given citation may vary: in some cases (especially with political figures) it seems mostly to be used as a jab at the named figure, or at those who depend on that named figure or group for fodder; with less political figures, it tends to be more of a neutral or even laudatory expression.

The list, in as-the-hits-arrived order:

The Twenty-First Century
Osama bin Laden
Civic Intelligence
The Internet
The founders
Stephen King
Old 97s
The Codex Seraphinianus
Mignon Fogarty
Evolutionary biologist Massimo Pigliucci
Donald Trump
This Potato Salad
The Stig
Tom Waits
Joe Lieberman
Ayn Rand
Al Qaeda
Rock Bottom
P.Z. Myers
This website
The PC Controversy
The Mafia
In-ear monitors
Manchester United
William “The Refrigerator” Perry
Hong Kong
Mobile telephony
The Roman Empire