Saturday, January 31, 2009

An expensive tantrum - the past week at work


There is supposed to be a recession, but in the office things were as busy as ever (although I’m not entirely sure this is translating through to billings). When it becomes very busy there is no time to think about the recession. The cold freezing weather continues so that I wonder when will this ever end.

Denise joined us today as the new Admin Assistant (more new staff!). Denise is short, overweight, Scottish, aged twenty-two, wearing glasses, wearing thin clothes unsuitable for the cold weather. All the day I could hear Julie (also an Admin Assistant) trying to impress her.

Despite all the new staff there still seems too much work to do. I gave some work to Nigel (Assistant Account Executive joined last week) but he was very ponderous about it all. And I had to tell him to be more diplomatic when talking to the media.

In the afternoon I talked to Andrea about a new business pitch we are doing tomorrow. They have asked to see our best creative work, which is a problem as we havn’t got any. Eventually Andrea borrowed some examples from our (big) sister company upstairs.

Andrea was becoming panicky about the presentation tomorrow - I told her we should just go there and be ourselves.

Working until 7.30 I managed to write all the presentation copy.


The train was delayed this morning, and I was so late getting to the office that Andrea had already left for the pitch (this wasn’t really a problem – I was only going along to give her some support).

During the morning I talked to Nigel about media research, and became very bored at all his questions. For a media studies graduate he didn’t know much about the media (and the things he did know were not really practical). His mobile phone never stopped ringing and he spent a large part of the day arranging his social life.

Denise on the other hand never stopped working. Throughout the day she was turning out cabinets, reorganising files, getting various bits of office machinery to work.

Nigel suggested going to a pub at lunchtime, so we went to the Adam & Eve and sat in the back (although it was really too cold and I would have been happier in the main bar). He talked seriously about advertising although this is a subject I can seldom take seriously (especially analysing the creative merit of TV commercials). He was very pleased that he had “finally” got a job in an advertising agency – I didn’t disillusion him.

Towards the end of the day Andrea came back and asked Julie whether some small task had been done. It hadn’t. I heard Andrea issue a very mild (I thought) rebuke and then she walked into my office to discuss the morning’s presentation.

However, her rebuke created a storm of indignation in the general office and we could hear raised voices in the background. Denise and Julie then appeared in the doorway to my room, shouting at Andrea. Julie did her usual trick of threatening to leave. In response Andrea told her “you can’t keep threatening the agency in this way”. So Julie went back into the general office to get her things and then stormed off home. She must have gone upstairs first as Terry’s PA Patricia came down and went into a meeting with Andrea (Terry himself was away, which was unlucky for Julie).


And so we are in the middle of another agency staff crisis! On the whole I am glad Julie has gone as her behaviour was not good. Most of today I spent working upstairs writing campaign plans (which I enjoy and could do standing on my head).


Julie is certainly not coming back, nor is she working her notice (so it was an expensive tantrum for her).

In the morning I went to a German company for a client meeting (this is one of Terry’s PR clients who may put some advertising with us). Returning to the office I wrote a contact report of the meeting (this seemed a curiously old-fashioned thing to do). Nearing the end of the month the overall figures do not look very good (this information came from Chris who does the Accounts).

In the evening I went to a People To People meeting and met American Lindsey who is staying in London for three months.


Leaving Nigel in charge Andrea and I drove out of London to visit a potential client, but when we got there the person we were due to meet had gone out, so a wasted journey. On the way back Andrea said she was not happy with all the mistakes Nigel was making and didn’t intend to offer him a permanent post (he is still officially a temp). I asked (innocently) how much money she thought the agency would make this month, but she didn’t give me a straight answer.

Another client meeting in the afternoon – in Hounslow. Frantically I worked on the presentation copy for this meeting and it was done minutes before we left. When we got there the marketing manager was not really interested in advertising and told us we were unimaginative.

Back to the agency where I began the weary work of preparing for next week.

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