Maybe xanga isn’t so hungry this morning…

Yesterday I had new stuff from both my big clients and a deadline approaching from my middle-sized client and some communications from my small clients, so I was working happily all day long.

This has for some years been the beginning of Back to School madness for me, and this year I merely wrote about it, and am not actually participating, so that’s cool.

I also submitted a new post to the SEO blog. They posted my first one, so I sent this one in with only about half the trepidation involved in sending the first one. I’ll let you know what happens.

I have meetings with a couple of clients this week, and am also preparing to send out lures to a couple of other local businesses who would, I think, benefit from my assistance. The idea here is that when my contract with my biggest client is over, I should have some small clients to move into his place.

When I was walking the dog last night after my lengthy work day, I was castigating myself for not having been very impressive in our phone meeting. I have a fantasy in which he extends my contract, you see, and what are the chances if I say things like, “Nothing very exciting is going on”? I should be saying things like, “I’ve had a thirty percent response rate, which is as you know better than the industry average, and that does include the most recent requests, which shouldn’t be counted, so yes, I’m doing marvelous things for you here.”

I had been busy writing about conversion funnels right up to his call, so my mind wasn’t on Impressing the Client. I probably still have a couple more chances.

There were also a number of emails about the church music. I haven’t actually had a chance to think about the church music for Sunday, but it reminded me of one of the things I had wanted to say yesterday. A clinician said once that church musicians don’t pay attention in the service, because we are always thinking about what is coming up next, and there is certainly some truth to that. You can’t get too caught up in the prayers if you’re the ones singing the “amen.”

But I do always listen to the sermon. The anthem is over by then anyway. And the pastor on Sunday was talking about the parable in which a whole bunch of men are hired, at different times of the day, and paid the same amount. The guys who started working at 6:00 a.m. are cheesed off that the guys who started working at 5:00 p.m. get the same amount that they do. They think they should have more, even though they didn’t get less than they expected. They just resented the fellows who got more, and decided that it wasn’t fair.

The pastor said this was about envy. It was, he said, a good recipe for a miserable life, comparing yourself with others.

I had just read How to Be a Complete and Utter Failure, in which the author writes about how failures think that success is like a cake: if other people get some, then there is less to go around. In order to avoid being a complete and utter failure, you have to give up that idea.

I don’t think that I have that idea, actually. I really like to help people reach their goals, and am always happy to see other people succeed. But I do think that the store as an entity had that idea. And some of my clients currently have that idea. The Dominate the Competition idea. And that’s in print. In the privacy of their minds and conversations it is more like Smash the Competition. With vorpal blades or something.

And of course I spend a large proportion of my time playing the computer game that is The Dark Art, exulting over my clients’ clambering up the search engines.

Can there be happy, gamelike competition? Is it completely different from the resentful “You got my cake!” of the private competition so many of us have with others, in which their good fortune robs us of something?

In fact, I think a lot of the cake attitude is directed toward people who aren’t in competition with us at all. The satisfaction many people felt when Martha Stewart went to jail, the schadenfreude you hear over Britney Spears’s mental illness, the eye-rolling when someone else’s kid gets yet another award or something — these things don’t affect us at all. But the responses to them are about “Rats! They got more of the cake, so there will be even less for me” or “Yay! They aren’t getting any of the cake now, so there will be more for me!”

As I say, I am not in that cake competition. But I am not at all sure that there is a big gap between that and the business attitudes that make competitors into orcs to be vanquished.