Printed 11/11/10. The trouble with being a meed-yah professional is that nothing you do will ever sound that serious. Or at least, it won't for the ample percentage of us who aren't Jon Snow or Krishnan Guru-Murthy. Obviously, I hear you cry, writing for the Herald is about as serious a job as they come - but in my day job at the Channel 4 Food site, I am rarely likely to be quizzing a war criminal or clamping a crucial artery.
No one will accept "I have to work late, it's all kicking off on the Come Dine With Me Facbook page" as a legitimate cancellation excuse. Likewise, "I have to go to a cake tasting," or "the background on our twitter feed needs changing and no one can decide on a colour palette." The other day I arrived at the office to hear a colleague earnestly trying to explain the term 'facepalm' to a client down the phone. It's hardly the square mile.
But the upside of being whipped cream on the vocational landscape is that we can accurately and enjoyably use the mantra: no one will die." If these recipes don't get uploaded, no one will die*. If we misspell pestle and mortar, no one will die. If Jamie Oliver's face gets smooshed up by some erroneous photoshopping, no one will die.
Meanwhile my doctor friends, lawyer friends, even to a lesser extent depending on the level of knife crime or tricksy gymnastic equipment in their schools, teacher friends, can't really say that with confidence. I hadn't realised it until now, but 'would prefer to have icing sugar, not blood, on hands' may just have been my top job-seeking criteria.
Being a year out of uni, my pals and I are at a notable stage of what-have-you-done?ness. In order to earn top kudos at the one-year mark, you have to either: have travelled somewhere exotic to do something worthy (supported by multiple pictures of you hugging orphans), got an important job (or at least one that can be suitably dressed to sound important when confronted with the worthy traveller), or become significantly more attractive than you were when you graduated.
Lower points are awarded for moving home to save money (sensible but depressing) or contracting an exciting illness (worthy travellers often score an unfair double on this count). Harshly, post graduate studying endeavours don't really count, as those people have prolonged their time in the cosy bosom of education and must wait to be judged on their eventual transferral to the Real World - by which point, the theory is, they'll have got some colour back in their cheeks and learned not to bring Sainsbury's Basics table wine to dinner parties.
So while my meed-yah endeavours might not garner medals or get me a spread in an alumni magazine, I can take comfort in two things: someone might eat some marvellous cake one day because of me, and if not, at least no one will die.
*This is temporarily ignoring the recent mishap in a Swedish magazine where 'grams' was omitted from an ingredients listing, meaning the recipe contained a potentially fatal dosage of nutmeg.