It’s my turn to blog.
Writing a blog post for me is akin to exercise. I know I should and the benefits of doing it, but I’d rather sit on the couch and watch Dexter with a glass of bourbon and a pint (really, a half gallon) of ice cream.
As a new kid on the block with the CD Mother-ship (a.k.a. The Creative Department), I recently made the exodus as Director of Marketing for a large retail brand, to the fast-paced, often imbibed world of the Ad Agency (aka Mad Men).
The journey brought new enlightenment.
“What we think, we become.” ~ Buddha
In August of last year I began looking for new opportunities that presented challenges and would produce a certain work environment that I knew existed but had eluded me to this point – one that embraced my pony-tailed-ness.
Enter the job process.
I do not like resumes and ham, I do not like them, Sam I am. The entire method of looking for jobs, applying, and sending in a resume chaps my backside. As a creative person, taking your thoughts and concepts, or as I like to say, MY SOUL, and condensing it into a double-spaced-Arial-portioned-cattle-call-sheet scrapes against my sensibilities.
So I sat there gazing at my computer screen in November of 2010, ill-humored over the current job market orthodoxy. Now, it could have been that late night feeding or some transcendental communication with celestial beings, but a thought began to permeate my head… “If every instinct you’ve ever had has been wrong, the opposite would have to be right” (Costanza 3:12 JSV-Jerry Seinfeld Version).
In Costanza We Trust
I realized my efforts to that point had produced nothing. I followed the plan precisely and nada. So, I sought out, “the opposite.”
To the Google! I searched for “Marketing Agencies” in my vicinity. As the SERPS rolled in I sifted through the list.
[My Criteria] I’d go to an agency’s website – spend a few minutes giving them the once-over and then determined if I WANTED to work there or not. I was looking for the vibe they were laying down. My search turned up ten agencies I wanted to contact. Going into stalker-mode I trolled their sites for email addresses of note – someone to contact and unleash the sparkle.
Stepping out of the norm, I wanted to just be myself. Say what was really on my mind and let the chips fall where they may.
Email subject line:
“Hello, how are you – Applesauce”
“Greetings, I wanted to inquire about any possible job opportunities you may have. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is George. I’m bald, unemployed and I live with my parents. Should any of that interest you, please contact me. Cheers, Jonathan”.
Ten emails were dispatched. Three agencies responded. The “crazy” thought that kept standing on it’s hind legs and barking at me to let outside, was this:
Be yourself. Really, be yourself and let them see who you are. If they still want to talk versus reporting you to the authorities, then that’s a place you may fit in and flourish. Of the three agencies that responded to my email, two of them have formed great working and even friendly relationships. We scheduled interviews over coffee and cookies. They were able to meet the wacky-email-dude and I them. What transpired was a mutual respect and connection between the parties that continues to speak and do business with each other. The third agency… The Creative Department. They took on a whole different meaning as we began to dance the forbidden dance of marketing-love. The same day I sent out my email, I heard back from the head Chief-tan of the agency. He chided, “Your email made it through the clutter. Send me samples of your work with proof you did them and not your mother.”
Emails were exchanged. Samples of work, with proof of non-mother authenticity sent. Witty banter abounding. I needed a cigarette.
So, around Thanksgiving we established a summit. Now this, mind you, wasn’t the Julliard-School-of-How-to-Find-a-Job course I was on. Raw. Fresh. Organic. An interview with the agency partners was established. Normally, interviews are to follow certain protocols. First, dress in your funeral best. Wear clothes that you won’t wear during the normal day-to-day work grind – should you get the job. Be nervous. Pretend to be nicer than you really are. Meet several strangers who don’t want to chat and are angered because you’ve taken them away from Facebook. Kill me, please.
Not today my friend. If I was to truly convert to my new philosophies and hippy-logic, I would have to go all in. With help from my in-home/CFO/She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed stylist, an ensemble of jeans, casual dress shirt, Shanghai Collar Blazer and my lucky Frye Harness boots was constructed. A nice, loose ponytail was composed and off I went for my date.
The Eagle Has Landed.
I arrived to my interview right on time (actually a few minutes before… obviously). Their headquarters reside in a antiquated, downtown brick building. One of those that look as if you could stand in the middle and touch both walls at the same time. As I was escorted through the building to the room of interrogation, I noticed a difference in what I typically feel before inquisitions. Having sought out this opportunity with my own flavor and panache, it allowed me to enter this vocation station with super-sized aplomb.
The meeting with the partners was superb. Dope, even. To their credit, they had wondered if I was truly a real person stemming from the email exchanges we’d had. Having felt such liberation in our prior discourses to be my hippy-self – throwing caution to the wind, I had stumbled upon my own celestial revelation. George Costanza would be beaming, or at least have a “pinkish-hue”. In interviews past, the compulsion to be hired, no accepted, was high. In this instance, because the frame work of my mojo was laid going in, the interview process was a dream. Next, I toured the building meeting the band of eclectic rebels.
Ginormous posters, and samples of their work were strewn about the office… and lots of shiny things (A.D.D’s playground)! I wasn’t sure if I was being introduced to the office because my interview was going that well or it was more for them to prove to everyone that I really did exist, “See, see! The crazy man from the emails really is real!” The interview closed. Hands were shook and I traveled home. I left feeling whole – that I’d been myself completely. Nothing was said or done that could be misunderstood. I knew who they were and they knew who I was. If I get invited back for dinner, then what I served up is what they were after. There is a great serenity that develops from knowing that. My god, this post is long. Summing up.
A few weeks passed and I received a phone call from the partners (right before their Christmas party was underway). An offer extended. An offer accepted. Tiny Tim would have a great holiday after all. Later that week the official offer letter arrived. It was witty and quirky and the mention of “house coffee” and “house beer” lept from the page as I read. Again, the serenity.
In 40 years of existential wandering you can learn much about yourself in these types of situations. Why is it so hard for us to be ourselves? If we conform to this or that standard are we being true to our core? At this juncture, I can say my Costanzian Theory worked… for me. Some may scoff, and others may agree. That’s fine. But in doing so you prove my point. We should align ourselves with like minded people. In doing so, you find a better, truer place to work. Or, in any respect, you’ll be more like me. I’m kinda awesome.