Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A seat at the table

2013 has been a very odd year.

Upon retuning from Europe way back in January, I was thrown headfirst into a billion dollar pitch that had me working for 9 consecutive weeks.

I went 67 days without a day off.
And was even paid for 57 of those days.

During the summer I was offered a long term gig with Apple. Not just with Apple, at Apple. The plan was to move into a nice hotel in Cupertino (an oxymoron, I might add) and toil in secret, deep within the belly of the beast.

But things didn't go exactly as planned.

Their idea of a creative work environment and my idea of a creative work environment were not compatible. I couldn't see myself working three hours at a communal work table, much less three months. Nor am I a big fan of constant video surveillance and CIA-like security measures.

I completely understand it and see how it works for Apple.
It just wasn't working for me.

So I did what I rarely do and self-aborted the gig. I emailed whatever progress I had made on the assignment to the Creative Director, who proceeded to chew me out for sending anything to him that wasn't encrypted.  I guess I hadn't got that far in the rule book yet.

But I can tell you this. Nothing I have ever written in my entire life, and I mean nothing, has ever been worthy of being encrypted.

On top of all that, my mother-in-law was ill and my daughter is in her last year of high school and getting ready to go away to college. The truth is, and I should have thought of all this before accepting the assignment, I wanted to spend more time in Culver City and no time in Cupertino.

I left.

Of course, the Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn't close one door without opening a window.

Even as I was driving south on the 101, my phone started ringing. New assignments came in from Costa Mesa, Detroit, NY and even Australia. The significant money I left on the table in Cupertino was quickly recouped. Not sure my reputation will heal as quickly.

Who knows what 2014 will bring.

But I did learn things have a way of working out. And if a job comes up this year where I am required to sit at a communal table, I will politely say, "thanks, but no thanks."

Your staff may be fine churning out the creativity while being poked, prodded and crammed together like keyboard clacking veal, but I am not.

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