Tuesday, January 24, 2017

"There's my sunshine!"

Self portrait
I haven't been happy at work so far this year. I like and respect my client, and I don't feel I've been able to do my best for them because of the infrastructure at the agency. Our current account team is a pair of twentysomethings -- one very green, the second very ambitious -- and their boss has given them way more power than they can handle because he's busy on other things. It's made me sad.

My coworker, Kevin, has been giving me pep talks. "Keep it in perspective," he says. Just because I'm not doing as well as I think I can/should doesn't mean the client doesn't appreciate the work product. And the account team? "They'll cycle through," he said. Meaning they will get the jobs they really want, more glamorous assignments in cooler media, and I'll be able to thrive again.

With this as my mindset, today's conference call made a great deal to me. My longest-term client contact came on the line and I said, "Happy new year! We haven't talked in more than a month."

"There's my sunshine!" she said. "Where have you been? Where have they been keeping you?" She said she was going to search online for a photo of me so she could look at it while we talked.

The account exec sitting beside me was all wide eyed. "She likes you, Gal!"

She does, but it's not personal. My client and I are very different women. She's lived in the same small town all her life, has worked her way up through this same monolithic company over a quarter century, has two adult children who work at the same company, and spends a lot of her free time at Von Maur at the mall. But we're near the same age, which makes her more comfortable with me than with the millennials she usually deals with.

And I've taken the time to figure out what's important to her: It's her budgets. Some of her decisions illustrate the old adage, "Penney wise and pound foolish."

But you know what? She's the client. In advertising we like to think we are smart and cutting edge, but in reality, we're in a service industry. In the final analysis, I'm really no difference than a waitress standing at her table, my pen poised on a pad of Guest Checks. So today, as in every call, I managed to slip in, "You know I'm looking for ways to save you money."

She feels serviced, and in return, I feel appreciated. It works.

I wish every day could feel this good.

Are you disappointed in me, too?

From abc7chicago.com

More than 200,000* assembled in Grant Park for Saturday's Women's March Chicago. I was not one of them. I believe(d) that it's premature to protest Donald Trump on the first full day of his Presidency, before he had a chance to enact anything, and that such a display would further divide the country. You know, like when Mitch McConnell vowed to make Barack Obama a one-term President before #44 even put his hand on the Bible.

But I know women who went. Two here in Chicago, one in Michigan, two in DC and one in New York. (The woman in New York brought her year-old son, decked out in a onesie that says: "I'm a bad hombre, raised by a nasty woman.") I saw pictures of my church congregation participating.

And still I'm good with not going. I support these women and what they were marching for, but I insist on not being as bad as the Conservatives who vowed to block Barack Obama, no matter what, and gave us gridlock.

It seems, though, that I have disappointed people. Kathy and Nancy, particularly, were shocked (!) that I was not among the marchers.

It was a personal decision, one I'd arrived at after careful consideration. I still think it was right. For me.

The Trump Presidency has already exhausted me, and it hasn't been a week yet.

*Actually, I've heard 250,000. But I know how pissy the current administration is about crowd size, so I low-balled it.