Your Portfolio, Or, The Book of Job – By @philgull

By Phil Gull


Your Portfolio, Or, The Book of Job


Your Portfolio is The Book of Job.

This makes it the second Book of Job. 

The first Book of Job would get anyone a job.

It is a short book, portfolio-length, about 30 pages. 

It is one of central pillars of European literature. 

Even if it was written in northern Arabia in around 550 BC. 

There is lots of stuff in the Old Testament which is derivative of Mesopotamian, Sumerian and Egyptian myth. But not the Book of Job. 

It is the voice that comes through. 

No one forgets the voice of Job.

This is probably for the best, for not many people read the Book of Job. This is because of something Al Ries and Jack Trout call ‘Positioning’. The Book of Job is located almost in the middle of your bible. It is a long way from the opening story-to-beat-all-stories, Genesis, and a long way from late-night headliner, Jesus Christ. It lies like a lost winning lottery ticket, hidden away halfway through sheaves of tax returns.

If you don’t have a bible, get one. Steve Hayden says it’s the best copy ever. 

And his copy is much better than mine and probably better than yours.

Nothing strikes deeper than the voice of Job.

What is the voice of Job? 

The voice of Job is a lament. The voice of Job is full of sorrow and doubt and helplessness. 

The voice of Job does not know what the voice of Job is.


“And Job spake, and said,

Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.

Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it.

Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it.”

“But Job answered and said,

Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together!

For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up.

For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me.”

“My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope.

O remember that my life is wind: mine eye shall no more see good.

The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no more: thine eyes are upon me, and I am not.

As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more.”

Then Job answered the Lord, and said,

“Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.

Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.”


Marc tells us to have a ‘voice’ in our portfolio. I am not sure exactly what his definition of ‘voice’ is, so perhaps I am being unkind here.  

As far I can tell, Marc’s definition of a voice is: a consistent perspective and ethos that runs through your portfolio.

I do not have a voice. Or if I do, I do not know what voice it is. 

Perhaps a voice can never be truly absent. A lack of voice, or a changing voice, is still a voice, in some strange way. 

Either way, the Book of Job has strengthened me this week. 

It has been my perspective outside advertising. 

It is good to read things that make David Abbott look like Diane Abbott. from time to time. 

It is good to read things that give a longer perspective than tomorrow, or a fortnight, or two years’ placement.

Because in 5000 AD, when your non-optimised voicebox is crushed beneath the titanium foot of your eugenically-created and robotically-enhanced owner, and your organs are cryogenically frozen to be sold in 15-year domestic bonds (4.875%) to Mark Zuckerberg’s great-great-grandson, The Book of Job will still be here. 

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