Monday, April 6, 2015

"Siegel, you've got to go."

"We're ordering food, do you want some?"

I do want food.

But I don't want to eat it here with you slobs. I don't want to watch you assemble a 259 page deck. And I definitely don't want to be here when a higher level boss gets the pdf at home and starts barking changes just as Jimmy Fallon signs off the air later tonight.

I want to go home. I want to change out of these "business" clothes, lift some weights, jump on the elliptical I have in my garage, and then set my fat ass in front of the TV where I can slaughter the contestants at Jeopardy, drink beer and pretend to listen to my wife.

That's what I want.

And if you, Mr. or Mrs. Agency Big Wig had any inkling about creative management or even took Psych 101 in college, you'd insist I unplug my laptop and head for the door.

Years ago, I heard an anecdote about a legendary freelance writer whose name I will not mention because it's a little embarassing to place the word legendary next to the word copywriter.

Louis Zamperini was a legend. Some schmuck who writes an Oreo tweet during a Super Bowl is not a legend.

This anonymous writer famously told a hardballing recruiter, "If you can't afford my day rate, you can't afford me." I love that. He also said, "Don't expect any new ideas after 4 PM."

He wasn't being rude.
Or short.
He was being honest.

Maybe it's a writer thing, but we are at our best in the morning. If I'm brain deep in a challenge I will often wake up with half-formed ideas already in my head. If it's a manifesto type thing, or long copy or even headlines, I've got 500 or so words strung out in my cerebellum before I've stepped out of the shower.

By the time the hipsters in their skinny jeans and Pharrell hats come strolling in, I'm already mapping out a second campaign.

I'm not being immodest, but I'm 44 now and I know what works best for me.

And I know what works best for you, Mr. or Mrs. Potential Employer.

You're paying me a handsome day rate.
Or as I often put it:

Rich Siegel
Three writers for the price of two.™

You're not paying me to manage. Or sit through meetings. Or navigate office politics. You're paying me to come up with ideas and write. Extending my normal day into a tortuous night of flip flopping, strategic changes, and deck assembling is robbing me of my routine. A routine that allows me to unwind, recharge and refresh.

In other words you can squeeze me for all I'm worth today, but tomorrow I'll be as worthless as a Zune.

It's all about efficiency and cost-to-work ratios.

The smart employer will come looking for me at 5:30 PM and tell me to hit the high road.

The really smart employer will already be in my face at 3:59 PM.


george tannenbaum said...

I'm with you.

MIchael Barti said...

I've so been there. Great rant.