subject line: just like coca-cola (*tm) April 16, 2016 by Hannah Brencher new orleans I just got home from a week-long work seminar with my class of 118 co-fellows. We’re nearing the end of our fellowship and looking to the future. The conference was meant to prepare us for this inevitable ending and new beginning in our work lives. One afternoon, we spent 2 hours discussing how to build our “personal brand.” It’s these types of things that make me want to crawl out of my skin. These things that reek of individualism and self-promotion, all in the name of being high achieving, career-oriented professionals. We are being taught how to sell ourselves, as if this is a skill to be acquired. Out of 118 brilliant, passionate people, I felt like the only one who disagreed with this notion….. But I wouldn’t know, because I didn’t say anything. It would not have been professional, or pragmatic to point out that this phenomenon of endless self-promotion and individual glorification could be corroding our society. That this ‘skill’ we’re supposed to ‘leverage’ may very well be causing, if not perpetuating, the ‘isms’ and ‘inequities’ we nominally seek to eliminate through our work. So I’m just left with a sour taste in my mouth because I live in a world of commodities and apparently I’m supposed to be one.