Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mock exclamations of joy - the past week at work


When everyone had arrived this morning Yvette (Head of the agency) stood in the middle of the general office and said she didn’t want anyone going home until all their work was finished for the day.

Most of the morning was spent in what I have come to think of as the intricate web of the mundane - chasing proofs for various deadlines. Intricate because there are so many stages to everything. Mundane because the process is so boring.

There was an odd occasion when the ad for our financial client appeared in a newspaper with the wrong phone number (John Wdwd, our contact, had written the copy, and the phone number he had put in was that of a rival finance company where he used to work). John Wdwd was mortified when he rang me up to stop the ad appearing in other publications. When I told Yvette she did a little dance of delight (she doesn’t like John Wdwd).

No Andrea today, and somehow a rumour circulated that she had left the agency (I couldn’t find out how this rumour started). Yvette was very grim over Andrea’s non-appearance, and began to line up someone to take her place (she wants to poach this person from her former agency). Not for the first time I thought how ruthless advertising could be.

We all worked late, but just before 6pm Terry, our ultimate MD, attempted some amateur electrical work and fused the lights in half the agency. Deadlines had to be met however, and we were working in the Operations Room in the half-light from the street (“Working in the dark is very symbolic of the way we do things” said admin assistant Eleanor). The elaborate and ornate Tiffany lamp from Terry’s office was brought down to cast light on our work.

The telephones also failed, just when a caller I had been avoiding finally managed to get through to me (she will never believe I did not simply cut her off).

I left at 7pm, having more or less cleared my desk, saying goodbye to everyone else working late.


Andrea appeared this morning and sat down at her desk as if nothing had happened.

Yvette treated her shamefully, stirring up a ferocious rush over processes that were not really important. At one point Andrea threw an armful of papers onto the floor in a rage. The two of them then went off to a client meeting.

Free of Yvette for the rest of the day, I could work at my own pace.

Income today was low, unlike the large amounts of money the agency has been making for the past couple of weeks.

I was pleased at the way media negotiations for our toy client have been going. It was a risk to do this ourselves rather than use a media buyer, but it will mean more profits. Duncan has been very helpful with this media buying, and at last there seems to be something he is good at.

Eleanor brought round chocolate crepes at lunchtime, but they were not the same as pancakes.

I was able to leave on time, carefully hiding any work-in-progress in case Yvette nosed around my desk when she came back.


A day off. Ash Wednesday. A solemn day.


Mock exclamations of joy from Andrea when she closed some job bags and was able to see the surface of her desk for the first time this week. But income has slumped, and news circulated that we had lost the Dewey presentation (would have brought in substantial amounts of money). I sat in the studio chatting to Neil (graphic designer) while Yvette and Andrea were out.

In the afternoon I borrowed Yvette’s car, a top of the range sports coupe, to visit our construction client. The vehicle is very low on the ground and the seat set so far back I felt I was almost lying down. Yvette had left her shoes (the ones she drives in) lying on the floor, which interrupted my use of the pedals.

It took ages to get out of London. I had never driven to the construction client on my own before, so I was pleased that I managed to get there without becoming lost. I was with the client barely thirty minutes – he rejected the designs Neil had done and asked for something new.

Back to the agency where preparations raged (not an exaggerated term) for the breakfast cereal presentation. Yvette had a mental block writing copy and asked for some suggestions. Although I was not part of the team working on this presentation I wrote a complete draft for the ads, and the copy was much better than Yvette’s efforts.

Duncan, who is nominally the agency’s copywriter, had made such a hash of things developing the presentation report that Yvette had thrown him off the team. He slouched about the offices, not having anything to do but not wanting to go home while everyone else was still working manically. Yvette complained in a nasty sarcastic tone about his work and I might have felt sorry for him were he not such a cocksure braggart.

Having “saved” the presentation I felt I could go home at 7pm, leaving everyone else still slaving away.

The educational charity I do voluntary work for was holding a reception for Sri Lankan students this evening, but at the last minute I felt too tired to go.


An extremely quiet day, with no ads coming in. Duncan was not in, and we wondered where he was (he was certainly not at the breakfast cereal account as he had been thrown off the presentation team). Most of the morning I spent in the studio with Neil, talking and swapping jokes.

Yvette and Andrea came back from the breakfast cereal presentation. Yvette was in an ecstatic mood, having been drawn to one side by the Finance Director and told she had got the account. To reward everyone she distributed red boxes of Lindor chocolates throughout the agency (news of this got out and staff came down from the PR division upstairs to help themselves).

So a happy end to the week.

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