Thursday, May 05, 2005

Office 2000

(This is in part an apology to Jay - I will always comment from now on - and in part good timing, because I've been meaning to write this one for a while now).

7 years and a lifetime ago, Jay and I worked together. It was our first writing gig and everything was new and exciting and filled with potential and we worked hard and we said "This is IT!" and the Asian money crisis struck and we had to move and take a 13% pay cut.

During that time, we met our fair share of characters who over the years, keep coming back through the giant revolving door that is our industry:

RF, who would come over to give us job briefs and dispense rude comments about female colleagues complete with index-finger-inserted-and-withdrawn-rhythmically-from-clenched-fist action. One day, he threw a chair at OZ. The company invited him to leave, he accepted. Two days later, OZ resigned.
Last seen: Yesterday, giving me job briefs and dispensing rude comments about female colleagues complete with index-finger-inserted-and-withdrawn-rhythmically-from-clenched-fist action.

OZ, dumb as a basket of rocks, and blessed a rack like it was from IKEA. Famous for wearing white tops two sizes too small and infuriating RF.
Last seen: Going wide from childbirth, dispensing job briefs and infuriating RF. Yes, we're all together again. I thought about moving, but I think they'd just find me again.

PW, a senior writer by experience and age, and a nasty piece of work. For some reason, my lasting impression of her is of her hauling her fat kid, trailing a maid in a shopping mall.
Last seen: Two years ago, hauling a fat kid trailing a....ah, so that's where I got it.

SB, sharp-of-tongue and dull-of-mind, but nonetheless reigned over us because our biggest client loved her and we, desperate for billings, loved the client. I remember telling Jay on our darker days she'd never get far being the universally despised kiss ass she was. And stupid.
Last seen: A year ago, launching her brand consultancy with 2 other ex-colleagues whom I won't even mention here. Press coverage, big bash, swanky office, the works.

FS, who produced commercials for us and whose father owned 50% stake in the company.
Last seen: Last week, on the road driving a brand new 3-series Beemer. FS now runs the company as General Manager.

MC, art director, resident brown-noser and mangler of the English language (he thinks 'maligning' is another word for masturbation, a belief Jay and I reinforced by teaching him how to use it in sentences).
Last seen: Promoted to senior brown-noser, with his name on several award-winning commercials.

It all seems cynical and ironic but it's not.
Some of us turned out alright.

MW, art-director, ambitious, focused, and out of all of us, we felt the one most likely to succeed. He resigned one day to go to China despite speaking no Mandarin. When the bosses heard, they told him to exit the building immediately and only return during daylight the next morning when he would be given an hour to pack his stuff.
Last seen: February this year, taking a break before starting as Creative Director in a big agency's Beijing branch. Speaks Mandarin, still can't write it. Married his copywriter. I wrote the English version of his wedding invite.

Jay, writer, computer gadget fuck-up, purveyor of unconventional porn, and friend. Decided one day to live in London.
Last seen: Last year, at his sister's wedding. Now call-center monkey, uberblogger, purveyor of unconventional porn, dear friend and new uncle. And as far as I can tell, very happy.

It took a while for me to believe this, but the truth - my truth anyway - is no one got a raw deal or anything. As recently as 6 months back I used to think good people always get shafted, shit rolls downhill, the ones with the most money win and all the world's a miserable place.

I've decided that's a pretty lazy way to live. I'm too old to blame anyone for how I'm doing. And I'm doing ok.

The race is not to the swift,
nor knowledge to the wise,
nor yet riches to men of skill.
Time and chance happeneth to them all.

Boy, I can be an introspective sap.

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