Monday, May 14, 2018

Blood Sweat & Toils

The good news is: It's busy again.
The bad news is: It's busy again.

Don't get me wrong. This is not me complaining. Not in the least. I couldn't be more thrilled that, after a spotty spring spell, the phone has started ringing again. Even better, the work is coming from newer, unexpected sources. And by that I mean it's coming directly from the clients. Three direct projects in the past two months.

Sorry, big holding companies, but you guys blew it. I'm not saying what everybody doesn't already know. But the sweatshop hours, the long tables of mediocrity, and the bottom line mentality that each and every marketing problem must be solved in 24 hours has put your business model in a deep, deep hole.

And by the way, I'm not sure the solution is, "Hey, let's hire another ECD."

As a result big companies are turning to people like me. People who get the brief. Who understand the business challenge. Who bring years of experience to the table. Who know a 30 script should be no longer than 3/4 of a page in length. Who get digital because a.) it's not rocket science and b.) even if it were rocket science we'd at least know how to spell it.

For realz.

In short, we're happy to take the money. That is if we can get to it. This is where things get difficult.

You see the challenge with working directly with clients means working indirectly with their third party Accounts Payable folks. And they all seem to have one.

It begins with a mound of paperwork that would put a US passport application to shame.

I once filled out a 56 page document that defied the heartiest of staplers and required one of those big black nipple pinching devices. They wanted everything from my address, my social security number, my proof of residency and even the transcript form my junior year in college, when I embarrassingly failed Calculus 595, Rotational Differential Equations in 3 Dimensional Space. 

I was prepared to hand over my 23andme results and provide a blood sample. It was that exhaustive.

That's just the first hurdle.
In fact, it's the easy one.

When the work is done there's the not insignificant task of figuring out the invoicing. And again, because each client is different, each has their own unique process. And when I say process, of course I mean they don't have one.

There are forms.
There are pdf's.
And then there is the online timesheet template which appears to have been designed in Eastern Europe by some dimwitted Serbs who dropped out of Coding school so they could join a militia, drink beer and kick some ass.

But let me reiterate, I am not complaining.

This is the cost of doing business in 2018. And I am more than willing to pay it. Particularly if it means I don't have to endure another dressing down by a 27 year old Assistant Planner and former chapter president of the USC Kappa Kappa Gamma house,

"I like the spot, I'm just not sure it captures the essence of the original pan pizza."

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