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Posts Tagged ‘Travesty of All Things Gay’

I was talking to Matey Planner, about how things were going at work.

Having spent the first half hour of what was meant to be a friendly and relaxed discussion over a coffee sounding off over the terrible experiences with Travesty of All Things Gay and various other wounds, we turned to things that I might be interested in pursuing. I mentioned my book, and how I wouldn’t mind some time off to do that (which he didn’t respond to with hollow laughter – so that’s a win…), but gave me the usual (and expected) “You Should Talk to Kind Boss about that” – as indeed, what else could he say?

But then, he asked me if I would be interested in “adopting” a region to focus on and help nurture the network’s Planning talent in. I felt that I couldn’t suggest “London”, and probably should steer clear of other highly developed markets (as saying that I’m fascinated by the challenges of bringing Planning rigour to the wild and untamed shores of North America rings false even to my ears), but then my mind went blank – or nearly, because all that my mind flashed to me was “Not India. Just Not India. Don’t Pretend That You’re Interested in India. You’re NOT.” And I’m not – specifically, I am not interested in landing at Mumbai airport and going through to Arrivals, as this is one of the experiences that I have done many times and is as near as feasible to the central circle of Dante’s Inferno that one could find on earth.

So: the upshot is that I am to become Grand Emperor of Planning for China – which is far better, but far from what I actually WANT to do (but given that what I actually WANT to do is go on expensive holidays with my family, and out with Wife, that’s not that surprising, I suppose). So, I am off to Shanghai next week, where I shall meet the throngs of people who are infinitely better qualified to be Chinese Tsar of Planning(not least because most of them are Chinese and have worked in the region for the last ten years), but do not have the immeasurable advantage of having been born in a tiny island on the other side of the world. This should lead to a harmonious and happy working relationship, with its exciting echoes of imperialism, colonialism and racism: I shall keep you updated.

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Oooh… what’s that taste in my mouth?

It’s sweet (indeed, it’s almost honeyed) – and there isn’t even a hint of a bitter aftertaste to it. It’s wholesome, and good and very sustaining. Yes: that’s right – it’s the taste of vindication.

Turns out that one of the regional directors for Very Big Client is less than impressed with the team that Travesty of All Things Gay has lined up to succeed me, and has now asked for me to come back on the business as a consultant. But the best news is the little soundbite he used to describe Travesty of All Things Gay and his coven: “They bring politics, not ideas.”

Oh frabjous day! Calloo Callay!

Anyway: the upshot is that this is going to be communicated direct to my boss (as I have advised that I cannot get involved with the brand again unless it’s sanctioned by someone rather higher up the food chain than Travesty of All Things Gay) by Client: so I have some hope that this juicy, tasty morsel will be repeated again, verbatim. And at last, the world will know…

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Oh happy day! Travesty of All Things Gay appears to have been hoist by his own petard!

The client from whose business Travesty removed me with such haste has contacted me and asked me out to lunch. According to Enthusiastic Account Guy, when informed by Travesty that I was off their business, the immediate response was: “What have you done to him?” – so there, at least, is good news. Also cheering was the fact that when told my successor’s name, Client’s response was “Never heard of her.” When reminded that he had, in fact worked with her previously, Client added (fairly – and to my ears, musically) “Obviously made a big impression…”

Anyway: the call is coming in to set a date – and while I can’t reveal the true extent of his horrible dealings to the Client (as opposed to H.R., with whom I had a humdinger of a meeting), I shall, at least, be able to put a few misconceptions straight…

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I have had the strangest week.

I have to confess to being torn between enormous disappointment and enormous relief: disappointment because I think I have been treated very shoddily by My Agency; relieved because I am now no longer working with Travesty Of All Things Gay.

It’s a truth that Client Services Directors are the most important people in an advertising agency: we pretend otherwise (revering the Creatives as “the people who make what we’re selling”, or the Planners as “the brains of the operation”) – but advertising is a business, and – as in any business – the money does the talking: and the Client Services People control the money.

Travesty Of All Things Gay has had me taken off the business that I was instrumental to winning – and his claim is that “I’m not going to deliver for the business” – a meaningless (and, cleverly, incontrovertible) claim for him to make, and entirely opposite to what the Clients have said to me. I expected this kind of conniving and underhand behaviour from one so back-sliding as he, but I have been very disappointed in Chairman’s handling of the whole affair: dealing with me (or not) through e-mails that tell me how incredibly valued I am, whilst simultaneously treating me in a manner that seems designed to prove that I am anything but. 

Ah well: I have resolved to leave the disappointment behind me, and focus on the positives, specifically the fact that I am no longer working with a manipulative, Machiavellian and untalented person. He may have an utterly ruthless determination to have things done his way at any cost, and no scruples, but these are not skills that I associate with the truly great practitioners of Client Services, such as Fearless Leader, Enthusiastic Account Guy, and Best Friend.

It’s a shame that this has happened: it’s tarnished my view of the agency at which I have been so happy, and has made me feel very aware that I am -essentially – powerless, however successful, diligent or honourable I may be.

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My return to work is imminent.

I have already had lachrymose e-mails from both Old Friend At Work and Woody Allen in Robert de Niro’s Body Creative Director on this subject – and the consensus is that we are not filled with joys at the impending return, nor are we simply going to go ahead and return to work as the Planners and Creative that people THOUGHT they knew.

WAiRdNBCD has advised me that he is going to transform himself from being “the most negative person that you know” (for so I dubbed him last year) and will embrace positivity. Naturally I am horrified at this eventuality – not just because I associate it with the sort of wheatgrass-drinking, self-help book-reading imbecile whom I loathe (normally because they are NEVER funny); but also because I am, in this, with Rilke (as on so many things) whose profession “If my devils leave me, then I fear my angels will leave me too” I endorse whole-heartedly.

OFAW is more sanguine about the need for change – and I am cheered by the fact that she reinvents herself about once every ten days, often around a new shade of lipstick. However, it is a fact that most of her reinventions occur when she has been away from the office for any length of time: so after holidays, she is always at her best, creating idyllic (and unsustainable) lifestyle tableaux in her head that she and her long-suffering husband then comprehensively fail to live up to:-

  1. “I’m cooking every meal from scratch.”
  2. “I’m giving up drinking.”
  3. “I’m always going to be perfectly groomed and have perfect nail polish and lipstick AT ALL TIMES.”
  4. “I’m going to talk like that girl out of All Saints.”
  5. “I’m going to have a capsule wardrobe.”
  6. “I’m going to be mysterious and enigmatic.”
  7. “I’m going to be the sort of person that people think might be Italian.”
  8. “I’m going to be really feminine.”
  9. “I’m going to be Kristin Scott Thomas meets Cameron Diaz.”
  10. “I’m just going to get my handbags REALLY ORGANISED.”

These are all genuine examples of past reinventions, not to mention all the ones that have been founded on the basis of a new handbag/skirt/fringe/way of doing her eyebrows – and I love her for it. I am VERY keen to know which combination of these will be put into play for this year.

My own efforts (rather than New Year’s Resolutions) are going to be rather simpler, and I put them up here in the promise that I will revisit them publicly one month after today, and assess my progress:-

  1. Try not to be DELIBERATELY antagonistic to Travesty Of All Things Gay.
  2. Rein in my fury at the people who work with me.
  3. Go to the meetings that I need to go to – not all the meetings that I get asked to go to…
  4. …and once there, be gracious about them.
  5. Don’t procrastinate.

We’ll see…

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