Monday, August 7, 2017

When it's my time

Less than a week onto my job as a mailroom clerk at Needham Harper & Steers (aka Needless Hardons & Tears) I was handed two hundred dollars from petty cash and told to run down to the local BevMo.

Or whatever the liquor warehouse was called those days.

Maybe it was Liquor Warehouse.

I was asked to bring back a bevy of booze for an office party -- the kind of office party you just don't see anymore. A Retirement Party.

I purchased the obligatory cases of Bud Light (our client) and several more cases of Bartles & James Strawberry Wine Coolers. And brought the change to my penny pinching boss. But before I handed him the receipt I quickly spread out the beer and wine coolers in ice buckets all around the party room, which made counting inventory impossible. Which also cleverly disguised the remaining case of Bud Light that stayed in the trunk of my car.

Turns out the first advertising retirement party I went to, was also the last.
There are no more retirement parties in advertising.
Because people in advertising don't retire.

They either "move on."

Leave "to explore other opportunities."

Or my favorite,  they are shown the door because "the agency has been rightsized to better fit the needs of our clients." (And the CEO is buying a vacation home in Tortuga)

The departure ceremony, if there even is one, is nothing more than a visit to an HR cubicle to collect a miserably underfunded severance check. And a perfunctory Exit Interview that isn't worth the paper it's never printed on.

Do I have data or statistics or any research whatsoever to back up these claims? Of course, I do not. I don't have time for that I'm a freelance copywriter chasing down any assignment that moves.

"We need someone to help us rewrite our Firedrill Safety Guidebook. Stairwells, elevators, neon vests, that kind of thing. Can you do that?"

"I'm your guy."

Take my anecdote for what it's worth.

But next time you walk into an ad agency take a good look around. Past the beanbag furniture. Past the surfboards, razors or hover boards. Past the multiple Long Tables of Mediocrity™.

All the accoutrements of today's advertising culture with none of the remnants of yesterday's advertising culture. No stacks of CA Annuals. No shelves of One Show Books. And no one past the age of 44.

But please don't mistake this post as a gripe.
It's not.

The fact is I enjoy my working relationship with ad agencies now more than ever. And when it comes time to hang up my cleats, maybe in twenty years or so, I'll throw my own retirement party. With 110% proof whiskey, flame-throwers, strippers from Uzbekistan, rented boxing kangaroos, life size pinatas of every client/planner/CEO who ever fucked me over and plenty of Bartles & James Wine Coolers.


My favorite.

1 comment:

Patrick Scullin said...

My favorite is when people are dismissed and it's reported as "philosophical differences."

I guess one party believed in existential paychecks, and management did not.

Excellent column, Rich. Have one of those Bud Lights you swiped.