Sunday, 25 April 2010

Ugh, I think I just saw a mouse....

I just saw the tail end of it scuttle from behind my TV and around the corner of my living room into my kitchen. At least I hope it was a mouse, because if it wasn't that was one big cockroach!!! Ugh ugh ugh!! I can't bear thinking about that. Much as I hate the idea of a mouse cockroaches are wayyyyy worse as far as I am concerned. This is probably because I had a hamster as a child, Snowflake, so I am far more comfortable with disease carrying rodents than insects. I was tormented by a mouse a few years ago which once gave me the fright of my life when I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night - my bathroom is off my kitchen, oh the joy of New York living - and it popped out of my toaster!! My toaster!!!! Noooooooooooo!! Naturally I got rid of my toaster immediately. Shudder!!

Ah great, now I am scared to venture into the kitchen to make a cup of tea!!

Ooohh it's been a nippy ol' day in New York today. Yesterday was glorious, close to 70 degrees with clear blue skies, but today...well it's chalk and cheese, dreary, wet and cold. Winter seems to have made an unwelcome return, although you'd be surprised at the number of people I saw stubbornly shivering in their summer togs. Admittedly temperatures did hit the 90s for a couple of days in March, but still, that's not exactly typical for this time of year, so it seemed a smidgen foolhardy and premature to be breaking out the flip flops, shorts and tank tops and relegating the jumpers to the top of the wardrobe.

At least the bad weather meant that I didn't feel too upset to be in work today, not that I was overjoyed, but I didn't feel that I was missing out too much, since I probably would have just blobbed on the couch all afternoon. I chose to go in, rather than out of necessity, as I knew that if I put in a few hours this weekend it would significantly lessen the burden for the upcoming week, so I popped in for half a day. I was going to bring my laptop home and continue working into the evening - I had to be home between 4-6pm to receive a grocery delivery - but after 3hours I felt so exhausted that I knew it would be pointless to lug the laptop home as it would only sit unopened on my desk giving me the evil eye and making me feel guilty. Instead I got my domestic Goddess on and made a batch of spiced nuts and seeds as a healthy snack to take into the office. I am into making food from scratch as much as I possibly can these days since that way I know exactly what's in it. You can find the recipe for the spiced nuts and seeds here if you are interested, but I have to say, it's not my favourite, it's much spicier than I expected - duh, the clue is sort of in the title eh. I don't know why I thought it would be sweeter, although the 2 tablespoons of honey probably had something to do with it - but I suppose in some ways it's a good thing since if I had loved it I probably would have scarfed down the whole lot in one go and you'd have to roll me into work tomorrow.

As for the office today, well it was surprisingly busy, which was just typical since I'd barely made any effort at all with my appearance: my hair was limp from being left to dry naturally, I didn't have a scrap of make up on and the white shirt, jeans and runners combo I was wearing was barely a step up from sweatpants - which I'd admittedly considered wearing. Thankfully I didn't run into anyone I've been hoping to impress with my usual understated elegance (ahem) such as the various crushes I have loitering about the building. Actually...I'm pretty much done with my crush on the Strategy Hottie - I know, I'm fickle that way - which has been waning ever since I discovered he has a girlfriend. Aesthetically he's still very pleasing on the eye, but I've also been kind of put off him since he can be quite odd about saying hello when we occasionally pass each other in the hallway (probably about once or twice a week max), which I find more than a tad standoffish given we were in the same group at the graduate trainee assessment day a month ago. Not that we were ultra chatty at the assessment day, but helloooooo, we've met, so is it that hard to nod a hello? It's weird, especially as rumour has it, among those who know him, that he's a really lovely guy, but...shrug...that's not the impression he gives me. Who cares anyway, because drumroll please, there's new eye candy in town...ohhhh yes...the lovely Tom, tall, toned and um...twenty seven!! What is it with me crushing on the younger men these days?? Arf!! (that's my cougar impression). Actually Tom is quite a hit with all the ladies in the department with his deep voice, laid back demeanor and twinkling brown eyes. How envious they all are that he sits opposite me!! Ha ha!!

And last but not least there's the Creative Cutie who I was concerned may have been one of the 67 resignations that are rumoured to have occurred over a recent 2week period (seriously 67; that's like 10% of the workforce), but phew, what a relief it was to spot him by the lifts on my floor late last week. He continues to stare at me, but says nothing and I continue to feel slightly uncomfortable, albeit somewhat flattered, about the staring*, but try my best to smile encouragement, because he's a good looking bloke, reminding me quite a lot of the actor, Loren Dean, who plays Bones' brother on the TV Show and I'd go out on a date with him in a second if only he'd ask, but....nada!!! Am I blowing my own trumpet a bit too much do you think? I mentioned the situation to my Brit friend Nigel at dinner at the scrumptious Cafe Chili in Boerum Hill a few weeks ago and he was quick to point out that just because Creative Cutie stares it doesn't mean he is interested in actually doing anything about it.

"I stare at women all the time, but I have no interest in dating them," said Nigel.

Um...thank you Nigel you old lech, thank God you're here to prevent my ego from over-inflating since if I were left to my own devices my head would never get through the door eh!! Eyeroll!! ;-)

*While all the while wondering whether my mascara is running down my face, or if I've accidentally spilled coffee on myself

Sunday, 18 April 2010


I found out last week that Jack's recent prolonged absences from his desk of late don't mean that he's been sneaking off to interview, but instead he's been drafted to work on a short term pro bono project with upper management who are keeping him busy with a multitude of meetings!!!

Phew!! I am so happy that he's not interviewing. At least not yet.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Ohhh the joys of agency life

I have a small team of three that support me on client work at the agency and I really couldn’t ask for a better bunch of people. My team are amazing, they are one of the biggest reasons I stay at the agency, because God knows it isn’t for the money, so it’s been a bit of a cause that I noticed one of my star team members, Jack, was away from his desk for a reasonably lengthy amount of time, at least a couple of hours, on Friday and Monday. To my, potentially paranoid, mind it seemed to be a long enough period to be off doing all sorts of things, such as taking a cab to go to a job interview elsewhere in Manhattan.


Ugh, I really hope that’s not the case, I would hate to lose him, but if it is…well I can’t say I would blame him, he’s fantastic at what he does, the clients and account teams completely adore him, but the agency doesn’t pay him anywhere near what he’s worth – me either for that matter, it’s a mystery why I stay* - and I am powerless to do anything beyond making a ruckus on the unfairness of the situation, which I do on a regular basis, so much so in fact that I suspect I may be acquiring something of a reputation as a pain in the arse with my head of department, but someone has to stick up for the young uns eh!! Sadly the agency just doesn’t appreciate loyalty, it’s a truth of the world of the advertising agencies that to be paid what you deserve you have to go to the bother of leaving and coming back, because only then will you be paid a competitive rate as a 'new' employee.

People are not happy where I work, you can feel it in the air, and despite promises of salary increases come the 3rd quarter rumor has it that a recent two week period saw 67 resignations across the agency - I know of 4, but I have no clue who the other 63 people might be, but come to think of it sightings of the Creative Cutie** have been as rare as hen's teeth of late. Oh no!! - meanwhile those of us that are crazy enough to remain have to listen to the powers that be spout bollocks about how they are going to great lengths to hire the best talent, and no doubt pay them a best talent salary. Um what are we…chopped liver??? Um…here's a novel idea, but how about you try investing in the people you already have???

Seriously the attitude of senior management just blows my mind, especially given that as an agency we regularly spout such pearls of marketing wisdom to our clients about how it costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an old one. 5 times!!!

Um…hello agency management…employees here…how much do you think it costs to hire and train a new person vs. giving a pay rise to motivate current, highly loyal employees???? I'll leave you to ponder that for a moment.

It's infuriating, but I see it all the time when I scope projects for clients, since there is a woman I work with who is more junior than me, but is charged out at a slightly higher rate and it's a well known fact that daily rates are based upon employee salaries, doesn't take a genius to figure it out.

I casually queried the situation with my head of dept one day whose response was to feign puzzlement. Seriously this guy should NOT quit his day job to pursue an acting career, because there's no Oscar in his future I can tell you that for nothing.

"Oh that is weird that her day rate is higher than yours. Perhaps you should go and speak to [account lead] and ask him why that is."

Uh-huh, yeah right, it's a BIG mystery what's going on here. Could it be that she is paid a higher salary for less responsibility than I have? Hmmmm, let me ponder that for a second!!! Um YES, I think that may well be the case.

I've no beef*** with the person in question, I like her a lot and fair play to her for negotiating a better salary, but the unjustness of the situation is maddening. I don't know, maybe I should just cut my losses and leave for pastures new.

*Actually it’s no big mystery at all. Truth be told I’m feeling somewhat disillusioned by my chosen career path and fantasize about winning the lottery on a regular basis. I’m just not feeling the love anymore and I’m not convinced that this is the career for me and well, the jobs I am being approached about are somewhat senior and I just don’t know that I want to go somewhere new and take on the responsibility of generating revenue and motivating a team when I can barely drag my own sorry carcass through the week. The truth is that the people I work with and the comfort factor of knowing how things are done at my current job are a big reason why I stay, but the salary is fast becoming a dealbreaker!!

**My crush on the Strategy Hottie has waned since finding out from Anna that he has a girlfriend. Thanks Anna for almost extinguishing the small flame of hope I had, I really appreciate it ;-) I would have said completely extinguishing, but then I almost collided with him outside the lifts today and my stomach flipped so violently I almost vomited. How attractive THAT would have been!!

***That's such an odd turn of phrase don't you find??

Friday, 2 April 2010


Yesterday I received the following email from my account lead

From: John
To: Fish, Jack, Sujana, Sarah, Andrea
Date: 04/01/2010 11:59 AM
Subject: URGENT: Client meeting


I need your collective brains asap. Can you meet at 12.15pm (meeting room on 9 by Fish's office)?

Long story which I will explain when we meet face to face.



Uh-oh!!! Trouble brewing!!

We met and John explained that he'd just had an awful call with two of the NA clients and their client database manager, Oliver, who told him that they'd found out that database records had been changed for 16 customers after 4 of them had called in to complain about incorrect information in their statements. An internal investigation had apparently been carried out by the client and Oliver said that no-one on his team had made any changes and it must have been someone on our team.

I was gobsmacked. I was mortified. Question my or my team's integrity? How very dare they!!!!!! I was seething!!!

"How can they even suggest we'd do such a thing," I said completely indignant. "We only have read only access to the database so there's no way we can upload changes. The only way something could have happened is through the live toolset and even then...."

"But that's read only too," said Jack.

"It's really serious," said John "this is really going to affect us working with the client if we cannot resolve it, and Oliver is ready to throw us under the bus with our NA client, we could lose the business."

"Well if someone did change the record you should be able to trace it back to their login ID," I responded, "it will prove we had nothing to do with it."

"Ok, well I will talk to them about it, but we also need to discuss this," said John sliding a small square of paper towards me.

On which was written.....



He completely got me!!

Begrudgingly I was kind of impressed, but next year I will wreak my revenge ;-)

Ideas welcome, answers on a postcard please ;-)