Thursday, November 21, 2019

Happy Birthday to Me, Part 3

At the office. Well, Wednesday was a first! My team actually celebrated me!

Let me explain: For the last four years, when Monsieur Account Executive was at the helm, we were siloed. We seldom met as a group to talk about our client's business. He encouraged account to limit their interactions with creative, and he wanted us creatives to stay in our lane: Headlines and pretty pictures, no reason for us to think about strategy or the big picture. Last year at this time was the nadir of the creative/account relationship here. We were, literally, at each other's throats all the time.

Well, things have sure changed! Monsieur slowly saw his power diminished, two of his three most devoted acolytes have left the team, and they have been replaced by new, young (and cheaper) account executives. I find myself spending lots of time with these just-out-of-school kids, training them. Part of me has been resentful, because this is Monsieur's job. Most of me has enjoyed it. I like building relationships. It makes the day go faster, and it makes the work better.

Yesterday, my new team spent the day celebrating my birthday! I came out of a meeting and found an Anthony Rizzo birthday brownie on my desk. It was made for me especially by our producer.

Then my art director treated me to lunch. I had my first Negroni. I recently read it was JBKO's favorite drink and I was eager to try it. Girlfriend knew what she was doing!

Then we got an invitation to a late afternoon meeting.  I kept coming up with reasons to cancel it. We could get it all accomplished faster in one-on-ones, couldn't we? Young Audrey kept insisting we had to meet as a team. She never insists on everything, so I finally let it go.

The late afternoon meeting was for me! There was a a giant chocolate cookie with trick candles.  A Snoopy card, chosen because it had a blue envelope and blue is my favorite color. A Dove bar (more chocolate). And this pin.

The new kids wrote the nicest things on the card -- thanking me for being so upbeat and positive and looking forward to working with me even more, etc., etc. Each note was personal. No one took the cop out of "Enjoy your day," which is what I always write on birthday cards for people I don't like.

I was touched.

Will it be a happy new year?

Wednesday's 10:30 meeting was a nothingburger. It was difficult for the woman who called it. She is my boss' boss, and has been told that, come 2020, she won't have a job. Our client has specifically asked her off the account.

Strangely enough, that might be good news for me. The client hasn't fired our agency, which is how it looked back in October. They expressed their displeasure with Madame Creative VP and have told us there will be far less work in 2020, but there will be work. They have isolated Madame Creative VP and her counterpart, Monsieur Account VP, as the problem. He's also out.

In theory, I'm upset with Madame and Monsieur. Their arrogance put us all at risk. On the other hand, looking at this mom of two, who is painfully thin from stress and admitted that "currently" hers is the only family income, I felt my anger evaporate. After the meeting, I gave her a hug.

I'm still not out of the woods. The client is pissed at our agency, and has hired someone else entirely to do the bulk of their work. They maintain that they will "keep" us for 2020, but our workload will be reduced significantly.

I am cautiously hopeful, since many of my assignments can be very boring. (I recently wrote a six-page brochure about the glory of investing in annuities.) The new agency wants the glamor stuff -- the TV, online and broadcast -- and likely don't have staff adept in dullsville, where I live professionally.

Of course, no one knows.

However, I know I'm OK until January. So I'm going to try not to think about it anymore.