I promised a nasty work story, so I might as well oblige. Oooh, there are so many to choose from. I checked back. I said I would start at the end. (Always a fine place to begin.) When I was a mere innocent, I became Diane Rothschild's hero when I attacked the tedious job of entering every ad we ever produced in every awards show the day before the entries were due after the person who was supposed to do it had royally fucked up. I don't see how. It wasn't a difficult job to do, just boring as all bloody hell. She just hadn't done it. I can't see how uber-paperwork can be intimidating. It's just annoying. Well, all entries made it in for the too few awards we ended up receiving for the agency's ridiculous monetary investment. But that part (thank god) wasn't my problem. And Diane also found that I was clever. She was pleased as punch and as nice as nice could be.
Until, after three years of coupledom, Chip (the junior partner, the one without his name on the door) and I announced we were a THING. (I can hear my mother's friends now, "but are they serious? I can't add another invitation if they're not serious.") From that moment on, Diane loathed me. Hated my guts. Treated my like dirt. And I took it. And I tried to fix it. I still hadn't learned the lesson that crap like that isn't your problem, it's the other person's. Ohhhh...) Then Roy and Diane couldn't stand each other anymore, so they split the accounts between the two of them. Got tze danken, I worked for Roy. I liked working for Roy. Oh he could be an asshole all right. But there was always a reason for it, and he always got over whatever was bugging him quickly. I found him to be fair and to say that about a creative genius, that's pretty damned incredible. I frankly would have lived with much worse. But he was a pleasure to talk to, to watch in action. And he was hysterically funny. For those not in advertising reading this thing, he was the real deal. (I'm quite sure the smartest person I've ever met. By far.)
Then began the countdown to my Grace and Rothschild demise. My giganto account was Land Rover. That fucking company had hired yet another idiot marketing director. And this was one crazy motherfucker. And sick baby, he felt uncomfortable about my relationship with Chip and wanted me off the account. (But still working "behind the scenes." What's that all about?) Ouch. But there was an opening on Mobil. (I felt like a dog looking at Roy begging for a treat. Pathetic.) He wouldn't put me on fucking Mobil. (Oh Roy, you so blew it...well you blew it for me, and that wasn't relevant to you nor would it ever be. So never you mind. Once you learn your irrelevancy in this world, the easier life becomes. No joke. I'm all the happier for it.)
But I was back working with my nemesis. Sometime during that year, Chip and I married. (That was and still is a very good thing.) Now, even though Roy and Diane had been despising each other for months now, they still had lunch together every day and yacketed together all day long. Somewhere, in their foolish brains, they decided what Chip and I had DONE was a very bad thing. Roy got over this fairly quickly. Roy was very happy for us and he said so, to both of us. Diane said NOTHING. Nothing to Chip who she had worked with at DDB who she recommended for G and R? That's absurd. And that was that. And then many, many moons later, a gift arrives. From Roy and his wife Marcia. He acknowledged that he was sending this way too late (it really was), but Congratuations! They sent us the most gorgeous glass candlesticks. From Tiffany, naturellement. Thank you Roy and Marcia. They mean a lot to the both of us.
Never a word from my buddy Diane. I was back working on an old client, and I think I had the best year I'd ever had to date. It all clicked. I knew my shit. I was confident. Fran hath arrived. It was obvious. It was obvious to everyone. Even the client. (And I don't think my agency comrades- whom I love and adore and miss terribly- thought I was a slouch anyway...) I felt GOOD.
Come review time, my husband comes in my office and says to me, Diane and Roy have determined you have made no progress this year and therefore, you will not be getting any raise this year. I got all teary and said I was giving two weeks notice. I said, "Yo Chip, that's really a really nice thing to come in and tell me." And he says, "Would you rather Diane do it." Good point. I had absolutely nothing to say to her. She'd won. Yippee. When we dealt with work, we were cordial, otherwise nothing. Well that made sense, what could she possibly have to tell me?
Then we get the weird part. Aside from work issues, she's deliberately giving me the cold shoulder. Making sure that everyone sees her disgust as she walks by me then smiling jovially at whoever I'm standing with. It happens all over the fucking office. It happens in the elevator. What could she ever have been angry about???
I do go speak to Roy. I wanted him to know that I kicked major butt this year and that he should know. Bless that man! He said I can see that just by what you're saying now. "But what do you want me to do? She's my partner?" I didn't want him to a goddamned thing. I just wanted him to know. I felt real fine when I left his office.
A summer goes by, and G and R still haven't found a suitable person to work on Land Rover. would I like to do it on a freelance basis? My initial reaction is fuck them! Yeah, fuck that shit. Chip tells me, you idiot. You've won. Roy wants you back, and this will just eat Diane up. Fuck yeah I'll do it! eleven months of Land Rover fun with the client asking if I would stay.
Now that's an exit.
P.S. Since When is now getting its first edit. So far, it's holding up quite nicely. But we're early in the process. Was sent two successful book proposals. Good god! They're remarkable. As I put together mine, I'll just make believe I can write one as good as either of these.