You know all those people who sit in meetings but contribute nothing? My friend John Trahar has a great term to describe them. He calls ’em “Blinkers.”
Because that’s all these people do — blink.
The junior account executive? She’s busy taking notes. The creatives, they’re busy showin’ work. The planner, busy offering insights. And then there’s that … that guy. Just sitting there.
Damn, I want that job. I wonder how the interview for his job went? How did he pitch himself?
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AGENCY RECRUITER: Well, Jim, what do you think you can contribute to our agency?
BLINKER: Good question, Bill, and the answer is “Nothing.” Not a single thing actually. See, what I do is … I blink. That’s ALL I do. I go to meetings, I sit off to the side, and I blink. Well, that and take up space in the meeting room. I think you could describe my contribution to any meeting as providing “one less place to sit.” I am simply there … existing. And while at first glance this “existing” I do may seem very Zen, I assure you I am not on a higher plane of any kind whatsoever. I’m just there in the meeting, filling out a suit, and providing a neck for a tie to go around. You may think what I’m trying to say is “I’m a good listener,” but to be honest, most of the time my mind is just drifting – I’m thinkin’ about baseball, or lunch, those M&Ms over there, it all depends really. See, I’ve been coasting on my invisibility for years. I sat in the back of every college class and even today, in a world full of important issues, I manage to be neither for nor against anything. I’m one of those people who turns up on every survey with a “DON’T KNOW” – even to questions like, “Isn’t war bad?” Have you heard the phrase “fly on the wall”? Well, think of me as a fly on one of your chairs. A big fat fly, just sitting in one of your meetings, taking it all in but adding nothing. From the look on your face, I see that perhaps the fly imagery is a bit distasteful so instead think of me as an inert substance like, say, ashes from a crematorium. No, no, another bad example. Think of me as a purely inert substance, like the glycerin they use as a base in shampoo formulas. I’m a “bulking agent.” I add bulk to your agency overhead. I take up space in meeting rooms. But in return, I provide no opinion, no flavor, no extra ingredients, no added value of any kind whatsoever.
So, when can I start?