I learned something about myself yesterday. My self esteem is hanging from a very thin thread.
On Friday a whole day's work went
down the tube with one click of my mouse. On Saturday I had a four and
a half hour drive home. These events did not affect my self esteem.
By Sunday I had to have forty "skeletons" written for a new product excursion. Twenty of them
had to be rewritten again [redundant and yet, not redundant] from
scratch, because of the file that vaporized on Friday. All so that other people
could review them Monday morning for even more people to review after that.
Hard to believe but "skeleton" is a marketing term. It means that
someone with an MBA and too much time on their hands came up with yet
another layer of crap to make my job as a creative person even more
I can't just invent products. I have to have "platforms" for them. And
the "skeletons" are like stick figures sitting around on the platforms
waiting for someone to put a body and clothes on them. This is classic
left brain thinking. Linear. Logical. Lame. A, then B, then C, then
I'm all right brain. I go from 1 to 10. There are no stops along the
way. I don't need them. Someone comes up with a fragment of
an idea for something, In a heartbeat I've already named it, packaged
it, figured out the target, strategy and done the creative. Okay, next.
But not when there's an MBA in the room. They have to earn their
money. And they do that by taking what I do in a few minutes and
turning it into a three day process. For a lot of money.
Its basically just covering your ass when millions of dollars are going to be spent. Even then they can fuck it up.
In fact, while I was working for the leftbrainers on Friday, one of
them came in and said -- you could probably skip this part
Once at a trial by fire seminar for "up and coming new people" held at an offsite location and hosted
by the multi-national ad agency I worked for, the participants were given an
assignment at 7:00 PM and expected to have the whole thing finished by
nine the next morning. An all nighter. One of two during the five day retreat. Assholes.
My team included a marketing person, a researchperson, a media
person, a writer [me] and an art director. In the olden days,
creatives drove the engine and marketing played catch up. For way
too long now marketing and research have been driving the engine and creatives have
After reading the brief, I knew exactly what the creative had to be.
That's the way it goes most of the time. Usually I have to wait for
marketing to figure out what I already know, have 12 meetings to
discuss it and then, FINALLY, I can start doing my part. No fair
starting before they're finished.
Meanwhile at the seminar, without proper marketing supervision, I'd worked out the campaign in my head and started to
talk to the art director about what we could do. This frightened the
marketing, media, and research mopes. I was outside the box. They were
worried that I would be OFF STRATEGY and screw everything up. I
assured them that creative people have the ability to think strategically and there
wouldn't be a problem. On the other hand, I also know that
creativity is not an option for most left brains.
I was right of course. About them and us. The art director and I
wrote and designed a
brilliant campaign. No, really. We were asked by the chairman of the
agency who was there for our presentation to send it to New York to
help save an account that was in deep do do. And I saw it on the air
about a year later. No we didn't get any credit. Interoffice teamwork
just means that the office with the account gets all the credit no
matter who participated. It's part of the NOT INVENTED HERE syndrome.
Magically, the bullshit, and it is ALL bullshit, that the
media, and research people on our team came up with -- the strategy,
all the reasons for the creative -- fit our work like a new condom.
Even though they didn't see the creative until the presentation.
They had no idea if what we did would go with what they did until we
presented it. Talk about tight sphincters. Haaaaaaaa. I
But this story is about yesterday, Sunday. And my self esteem, what's
left of it. Thanks to all those "skeletons" I had to
write. I only knew they had to be done Sunday. My own finish line was
end of the day -- around five. At 10:00 AM I get a phone call. Turns out they
thought noon was better. Okay, my fault. I should have
ASKED, not assumed.
But, too late. So I work seven straight hours, never moving. Sending
"skeletons" as fast as I write them. During the process, I try to reach
my contact but she wasn't answering her cell phone. I start to
think she's really angry. I email with apologies. I call her cell
again. I just know my long relationship with her company is over. I
won't get paid. They must hate me. By the end of the day, having
received no feed back, and, at the mercy of my mind, I was emotional
Finally at eight last night she calls to say her daughter took her
cell phone for the day while she was busy running a birthday party for a
friend, so she's just starting to read everyhing and it's looking good.
I'm not fired? You're not angry?
Sometimes I scare myself.