Job Love.

So, here it is.  4:39PM on Friday, January 16th.  I’m at my desk.  I’ve done all I can really do today.  This week.  For now.

“And what is it that you do, exactly?” you ask.  Ostensibly, I’m a copywriter.  So that means I’m tasked with providing the written words for any number of different advertising campaigns. Projects carried out by my employers, the highly-regarded Asher Agency.  From the script for the flu bug radio commercial or the miniature screenplay for those Indiana Tech television commercials.  The hashtags on that Subway print ad.  The direct mail piece you got from PHP Healthcare.  That’s me.  That’s what I do.

Of course, there’s more to it than that. Just as I discovered in my radio career, each member of a team does more than one thing. “Everyone fights.  No one quits.”   We all have our particular focus, but the overlap is considerable. Each member of the creative team chips in with and develops concepts, comes up with visual ideas and directions, creates via the great crowd-brain-hivemind here in the creative department.  I love that shit.  I truly do.

I love being part of a team.  That was one bright spot in my radio career: even when things got dodgy,  I knew my teammates (the other  members of our on-air staff) were there with me.  As with any team, when everyone pulls together and does the impossible? Well, like Captain Mal says:  that makes us mighty.

But there are other perks here in advertising land.  For example:  I’m sipping a Sierra Nevada Coffee Stout from a pint glass at my desk  During business hours.  Things have certainly changed since the ol’ Don Draper days.  Folks don’t keep bottles of scotch or rye at their desks (Okay, some do.  Seriously.  But we don’t flaunt it, don’t partake all damned day.  We save it for the Friday of a long week or for special occasions. Everyone here is a professional.  We act like it.  That’s what we rule.  The stakes are just too high nowadays, the demand for quality too great to be achieved by a bunch of drunks.)  It’s still nice to unwind at the end of a busy week.  Feels good, man.

As I sat here doing maintenance/cleaning house on my email inbox, I rediscovered the following exchange which sums things up so very nicely.  See, last week I wanted to tip my supervisors off to the fact that I would be missing the first hour of so of the workday this past Monday (the 12th) for a routine doctor’s appointment. I start by sending this to my bosses, Dan and Kelly.  They’re both brilliant guys.  Geniuses.  So goddam smart and creative. Anyway, here’s what I said:

 


From: Turner

To: Dan, Kelly

re: Doctor’s appointment

Hey, fellas.  I have a doctor’s appointment Monday morning early, so I’l likely miss the traffic meeting.  Just wanted you to be aware, and not freak out and think “He’s finally done it!  Run off to live the life of a hobo, riding the rails of this great nation.  Sleeping in box cars, eating soup right from the can.  Fare thee well, strange tattooed man!”

 
Or whatever.
 

 

My first response was from Kelly, who I imagined chuckling, his shoulders convulsing as he typed.  He said simply:
 

From: Kelly
To: Turner
CC: Dan
Re: doctor’s
 
LOVE IT!!!

 

Three exclamation marks.  THREE!  And then Dan chimed in:

From: Dan
To: Turner, Kelly
re: Doctor’s appointment
 
All the while listening to Box Car Willie’s Greatest Hits on a Sony Walkman he picked up at the Salvation Army using batteries stolen from the countertop wire rack display at a 7-11 near the train yard in Waterloo, Iowa.

 

See what he did?  He continued the story! That’s fun! He could’ve ignored it, or sent an “Approved” message.  He didn’t.  So I expanded…

From: Turner
To: Dan, Kelly
re: Doctor’s appointment
 
Not “technically” stolen.  I left an old silver dollar my pappy gave me, and the promise to return once I’ve made my fortune.

 
(But really, I‘ll be at the doctor’s.)
See, I wanted to underscore the fact that I would be at the doc’s.  Dan’s warm response:

From: Dan
To: Turner, Kelly
re: Doctor’s appointment
 
Perfect. Be well. Don’t let the Doc poke and prod too damn much.
 
Now, the thing is, those guys could’ve handled my note in a couple of different ways.  Their response could’ve been very matter-of-fact.  “Okay.  Let us know when you arrive at the office on Monday.”  Or even “make sure this time is covered under office coding procedure vis-a-vis your timesheet.”  They could’ve responded with a terse “OK.”  Or, they could’ve been complete dicks and fired back “In the future, clear any and ALL delays or time away with us ahead of time.”
None of that happened.  Instead, they treated me like a valued employee.  Someone whose continued happiness within the company framework was important to them.  It was amazing.  It was…new.  To me, anyway.
Don’t get me wrong:  I’ve had a bunch of great supervisors in my professional life.  Radio, pawn shop, parts department, ice rink…wherever I’ve found myself employed.  But the stakes are just…higher?  I don’t know.  It’s just weird.  In a good way.  My sister-in-law works for Google out in Mountainview, CA. In the past, she would tell me stories much like this and I’d scoff.  I thought that there was no way that a worthwhile company would play it so fast-and-loose with employees.
One of these two is a friggin' VP.  How about that?

One of these two is a friggin’ VP. How about that?

That’s before I worked for a company that “got” it.  Like Google does.  Like Blizzard and Microsoft and a dozen different advertising agencies do. And it struck me that the best companies, the ones with a pulse, the ones that know what the hell’s happening out there…they’re great for a reason.  And it ain’t the amount of money they bring in (although that certainly helps matters) or the number of people they employ.  Its because if you work for them, they want you to be happy. (My wife works for a software engineering company that has a ping-pong and corn hole room for de-stressing during the day.  It’s no surprise that they’re a company that’s growing exponentially, hiring and building.  They’re going to be massive.)  Ye gods, what a great concept.
May you all be so lucky to work for such an enterprise some day.  Cheers.
(By the way, I recently signed up for a Behance account, sort of like an online portfolio.  If you’re curious about some of the stuff I’ve been lucky enough to have a hand in, check it out at https://www.behance.net/turnerwatson)
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2 responses to “Job Love.

  1. Heidi changed jobs?
    Seriously, I am so, so happy that you’ve landed with people who clearly appreciate you, and sound like a terrific group, on top of it!

    Like

  2. Oh, look at me, I’m cool Turner talking about his super cool job while drinking his super cool drink next to his super cool computer while e-mailing his super cool boss. Damn it, when I can I be like super cool Turner.

    Like

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