Friday, January 06, 2023

Saturday 9

It's Not Unusual

1) In this song, Tom Jones wants to know what's new in his girl's life. Here at Saturday 9, we're concentrating on the new year. What do you hope will be new and different in your life during 2023? I'd like to be healthier. I know I'm looking at a ton of time at the dentist, but if I reduce the hours spent with doctors I'll be a happy, grateful old gal.
2) He sings that he has flowers for his special girl. Are there fresh flowers in your home right now? Nope. I love flowers and wish I did, but I'm afraid the cats would take one look at them and say to themselves, "YAY! Salad bar!"
3) He also wants to spend hours with her. What is something you'd like to spend more time doing in 2023? Yoga. I just started last month and I'm not good at it at all, but it's already helped me with my aching back.

4) Before his music career took off, Tom Jones supported himself by selling vacuum cleaners. Could your home benefit from a once-over with a vacuum right now? Hell to the yes! My kitchen and bathroom floors could use a good scrubbing, as well.
5) Memorabilia from Tom's 1990 world tour was available eBay and the bids went up to $599 a jacket worn by the stage crew. Have you ever bought anything at an auction (online or otherwise)? I have bid on eBay auctions, though today it's more of a marketplace than an auction site.

6) Tom's adult grandson, Alex, represented Wales in rifle shooting in the Commonwealth Games. Is there a sport you'd like to try, or get better at, in 2023? Is yoga a sport?

7) In 1965, when this song was popular, Tom Jones made a new friend, Elvis Presley. Tom had a meeting at Paramount Studios to discuss recording a song for a movie soundtrack and Elvis was finishing a film. It was the beginning of a friendship that would continue for the rest of Elvis' life. Did you make any new friends in 2022? I don't know that she qualifies as a new friend, since I've known her for years through my movie group, but I began hanging out with Elaine in 2022. We even took a two-day road trip to together. I'm basically an introvert, so that was a big deal.

8) Also in 1965, The Sound of Music premiered and became one of the most successful movies of all time. Have you seen it? Yes! The first time I saw it was on a field trip with my Girl Scout troop when I was 7. We took a bus to one of the BIG theaters in the Loop, with a massive neon marquee outside. It was quite exciting.

9) Random question: Were you like those shoppers we saw on TV, in line at a retailer after the holidays to exchange a gift that wasn't quite right? I did return a gift, but it was well before Christmas.

PS If you have a WordPress blog, please know I can't comment on your post unless you've changed the settings.

He didn't know I was in my underwear the whole time

I didn't get any of the tasks done Thursday that I intended to. First, I slept in. Then I became fixated on Kevin McCarthy's multiple attempts to become Speaker of the House. Next thing I knew it was after noon and I was still in my pajamas! I was disgusted -- with my own bed hair and sloth as well as by the disfunction of the Republican party and headed into the bathroom for my shower. I'd just shed my nightshirt when I heard my phone. It was Jamie.

Jamie is a Senior Vice President at my last place of employment. He's very smart, very enthusiastic, very nerdy. We didn't always agree but we did always enjoy working together. When my client let the agency go, the agency kept Jamie. He's upper management, three rungs higher than I was on the corporate ladder. Far more valuable horseflesh. With my client's departure he's been concentrating on new business pitches. The agency is looking at a $10 million deficit for 2023, so acquisition is very important.

But I'm outta there. Why was he calling me? I simply had to know! Was it an accidental butt dial? I knew he was searching for a new job. We talked about it before I left in October. One prospective employer was located in the Merchandise Mart and I told him what a great old goddess that building is and what an easy commute he'd have. But that job fell through weeks ago. Through Facebook I knew Jamie, his wife and little girl had gone skiing and had a nice holiday season, but he wouldn't be calling me about that.

Amazingly, he wanted my advice.

Jamie has accepted a job on the client-side, as opposed to another advertising agency. It's a major bump in salary. Plus, this well-known company recruited him. Having a billion-dollar employer come to you has to be flattering. That's all good news, right?

When Jamie tendered his resignation to the agency where I used to work, they told him how much they wanted to keep him. They said how important he was. They promised to match or even better the salary he was just offered. He had become very emotional about the place where he's been working the last two and half years, and he wanted a "reality check" before he made his final decision, so he turned to me.

Really? Me?

We talked for more than two hours. I reminded him at the outset that I'm still bitter about the agency, how my client was treated, and that I was literally let go while in the Recovery Room. He said he understood that, but he wanted my opinion anyway.

So I gave it to him. From the side of my bed, while in my underwear.

1) Management wanted to see the offer letter from his prospective new employer. That's at the very least bush league, if not completely unethical. Why would he want to work with such people?

2) If on January 5 they're already $10,000,000 in the hole for 2023, there are going to be layoffs in the very near future. Does he want to be involved in deciding who stays and who goes? If they don't approach those numbers, there will likely be another round of layoffs later in the year. Isn't Jamie worried that his increased salary will mean a bigger target on his back?

3) NOW they are giving him an increase? He's been there more than two years and hasn't even had a performance review in that time. (My last performance review was before the pandemic.) The Chicago office is not that big. If human resource matters were a priority, reviews and raises could have been handled. Are they benignly incompetent or just cheap? 

4) We agree that they don't put clients first. Even when Jamie and I disagreed on the content we gave our client -- and we did disagree often -- we were always on the same page when it came to giving them our best efforts. Where he and I both clashed with management was when it (too often) seemed we were interested only in giving our clients what we wanted to give them, not what they asked for or what they needed. We both saw that the agency did things on the cheap, giving too much day-to-day responsibility to new employees just out of school or with little training. Why would he want to work with such people?

5) I reminded him how he felt in real time. How while on the one hand he was working weekends regularly and cancelling vacations, and on the other hand Corporate was kicking back his expense reports over things like a $150 bill for afterwork drinks. That $150 tab meant nothing to the multi-national corporation that owns the agency but it meant something to him. In the fall, after missing Memorial Day and 4th of July and Labor Day with his little girl, after submitting and resubmitting that expense report, he didn't feel valued. Why does he think 2023 will be any better?

6) This one I believe is universally true: Accepting a counter offer is like reconciling with an estranged ex. The relationship will never be as strong as it was before. You cheated. You slept with another lover. Now you're back. You're always going to be viewed with suspicion from here on out.

He agreed with me on all counts. He said he just needed to talk it through with someone who knew all the players. He thanked me.

Then it was my turn. I reminded him of a decision I made almost exactly a year ago that I still regret. At the time, I was worried that my constant battling with management was detrimental to my internal teammates so I let one go. I didn't argue and presented some creative I didn't really believe in. In retrospect, I feel like I let my client down by not fighting for what was right. We gave him something weaker than he deserved. BUT, Jamie reminded me, he accepted it. The client is not a child. He could have kicked it back to us. He didn't. I should "let it go."

Let it go.

That's what we both have to do. We worked for a great client, but in a toxic workplace. We have to quit trying to make it what we wanted to be and let it go.

Now why would she say that?

I cherish my Cousin Rosemary. I treasure how much she loves me, and I realize that she is one of the last two people left who held me as a baby. I'll never forget how, when I was an embattled adolescent, she was my champion within the family.

She also makes me crazy. About a decade older than I am, she has always viewed me as the junior partner in this relationship. It was OK when I was a teenager and she was in her mid-twenties, and her single-girl adult life in Stevensville, MI, seemed so full of possibilities. But now I'm in my mid-60s. I've built my own career, swum in a bigger pond. It doesn't help that her age and divorce have left her intolerance and her tongue sharper.

So it's with tremendous ambivalence that I accepted her invitation to visit her in Tampa next month. She offered to play hostess to me as we attend a Yankees spring training game so I can see my favorite most ballplayer, ANTHONY RIZZO (!) in person for the first time since the Cubs broke my heart by trading him. This gesture touched me because it's something solely for me. She couldn't care less about baseball. Plus, I have an airline credit from my cancelled trip to Key West, so it won't cost me anything to fly down there.

But did I mention she makes me crazy? Like just about nearly every American with a pulse, I have been moved by Damar Hamlin's cardiac arrest. While he was in a coma, I posted one of his tweets to Facebook feed.

Rose's comment? "Sad story. Terrible grammer." Now why would she say that? Also, she meant grammar, not grammer.

She wondered if I could stay with her another day (as it is I'm flying down Sunday and returning Wednesday). Now that I'm not working, I certainly could stay another day, but I know I'd kill her. I explained that both my cat Connie and I have dental work scheduled. This is true, though not accurate. Her response? "Imagine the money you'd save if you didn't have cats."

Now why would she say that? She knows how much I love my fur babies. In fact, she once gave me a pillow that says, "I saved my cats and my cats saved me." 

Again, I love Rose. I know Rose loves me. I love baseball. I LOVE ANTHONY RIZZO!

But part of me is dreading this trip.

I'll have to work at keeping my mind right those three days, to value our time together and her good intentions, and not let it get under my skin when she criticizes my wardrobe (she thinks my purses are too big), or how I spend my money, or my casual use of the word "fuck," or my diet, or ... or ... or ...

Pray for me!