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The Personal Brand

Have we hit peak narcissism?

A few years back a group of the lads in my motorcycle riding social set decided that a 2 day, mid-winter ride through the western slopes of NSW with an overnight stop at a country pub would be a good way to test our mettle, our camaraderie and our weather-proofs. Freezing temperatures and drenching downpours materialised as if to order.

Thanks to the wonders of modern motorcycle apparel, snotcicles aside we arrived at our first country fuel stop via wickedly chilly winds and driving rain relatively warmish and dryish. Then, mid-refuel, the unmistakable unmuffled cacophony of approaching Harley Davidsons could be heard from within the drifting fog and drizzle. Emerging from that icy, damp, wintry shroud was what was no doubt intended to be an intimidating sight of bad boy bikers. Sorely under-dressed in sodden leather vests, t-shirts, soggy jeans and wrap-around sunnies these clowns were all about image - hypothermia be damned. These rugged "individualists" were conforming to a group archetype whatever the personal discomfort. The effect though was not quite what they intended - derision was not the desired reaction.

Compliance to a contrived persona has costs. Discomfort being one, self respect being another.

Social media, the smart phone and celebrity culture has enabled and encouraged the narcissist - the poseurs, those who profess to have 762 Facetube friends, who see fame as an end in itself and not as a consequence of any sort of achievement, the selfie-addicts and the LinkedIn aggrandisers.

However, while these types can be readily ignored the cult of "Me" and the personal brand has spread to the workplace where it's not just tolerated it is being encouraged and exploited in the business world. It tipped me over the edge.

When a crusty old Boomer was tasked with "building your personal brand as part of your KPIs" then it was time to up-stumps. When Kool-Aid imbibing bag carriers' self-descriptions such as "charismatic people leader" earned more kudos than actually doing anything productive, when fake trumped facility then i had outlived my usefulness. It was time to move on from such self-indulgence and start a blog.

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