Friday, 20 August 2010


It would be putting it mildly to say work has been a bit stressful this week. Well, it's always a bit stressful, but this week I've felt really overwhelmed by it which is not so good. At least I am not hungover like the rest of my client team this morning, although I'm probably annoyingly smug since I stuck to non-alcoholic berry martini's - fruit puree essentially, I am sticking to my hydrate-to-better-deal-with-altitude-in-Peru plan - at our "we-got-a-great-review-from-our-client" celebration at Cibar last night where a good many flaming suffering bastards (a flaming floater of Bacardi 151, light and dark rums & exotic Polynesian juices) were quaffed. After trying to hold one too many incoherent conversations with my fabulous colleagues I couldn't help but wonder "is this how I am when I drink? Perhaps I will stop." It's really not pretty when you are the sober one.

Oddly I find that I quite often enjoy these busy times, because when I get everything done and out the door I feel exhilarated, like superwoman, and I love the feeling of satisfaction that comes with it - which may explain why I stick around, maybe I am addicted to that exhilarated feeling - however occasionally - like this week - I feel that things are spiralling out of control. Even as I am taking a break to type this my brain is saying "stop blogging, just stop it, get back to work", but a break will do me good. To be honest it's not the actual work, but other factors that tip me over the edge, like dealing with HR as I try and recruit someone to replace the junior team member who left for another agency last month. I found someone I wanted to make an offer to quite quickly, but frustratingly HR and finance dragged their feet on the approval for two weeks. I finally got approval from the CFO (why do I have to approval for a replacement when the scopes are all signed and in place?) on Wednesday, but they still haven't managed to catch up with the candidate to extend her an offer - she and I have been in touch via email so that I can push things internally - so in the meantime my team are getting burned out doing the work of 4 people. Ugh!! I'm also worried that despite the candidate's enthusiasm to join my team she may still turn down the offer so I'm still interviewing people, but HR aren't exactly setting up interviews with suitable people for the junior position I have open. One was a college graduate with a strong interest in literature (not even close to being relevant to what we do) and the other was a PhD who already had several years' work experience!!

Um...hello...pre-screen much?

Added to the HR and finance irritations I have to deal with my former client, J____, who is now working at another advertising agency in New York in a team - run by my former head of department no less (we are an incestuous bunch) - trying to pilfer one of my team members. This is despite the fact that he's working for an agency that has the same parent company as the one I work at and he is therefore subject to the same non-compete clauses regarding staff. He tried to sneakily circumvent this by calling A___ - who used to work here, but who got laid off and ended up working with J____ at the client organization - and had A___ call my team member to see if he had any interest in working for J____. Naughty naughty!! Fortunately my team member thought this more amusing than tempting - J____ was a very high maintenance client who liked things to be done just so - and so told me about them approaching him. I'm sure J____ thinks he's being very sneaky and clever, so part of me feels like calling him out on it on his Facebook wall or something, but of course I won't.

I am also slowly but surely mastering the art of delegation - although sometimes I have to step in as while my guys are brilliant in general, they do have an occasional tendency to forget the small things, like yesterday morning when one of them arrived 5minutes late for the conference call he was leading. I wouldn't mind but he only lives 8 blocks from the office, is it too much to ask that he gets in 10mins before the call and gets organized? Later yesterday afternoon my other direct report and I were heading out for a meeting with the media agency on 7th Avenue and as I was getting my stuff together I asked him if he had the exact address and cross-street and of course he hadn't thought to look it up. Hmmmm!! Good job I was on the ball or we'd have been randomly pacing the Garment District eh. I need to get them out of this "Fish will know where we are going" and "Fish will dial in if I'm not there" mentality because Fish is tiring of it. Fish is STRESSED OUT so step it up boys!!! The humidity isn't helping my mood any either - I'm also PMSing is it obvious? - as it seems to be extra hot and smelly in New York this year. I feel like Summer started back in May and hasn't let up since. We've had something like 5 heatwaves. I was just looking online to see if it's been one of the hottest summers on record and while I couldn't find anything on that I did find an article from 31Jul2009 in the
New York Times that said we didn't have a single 90degree day in June or July in 2009. Clearly that be-atch Mother Nature was saving them all up for this year, although apparently last year New Yorkers "recalibrated their threshold for heat complaints....85 is [was] the new 95."

This year it's definitely hit the 90s on a regular basis and consequently I've found myself doing an awful lot of fantasizing about San Francisco's autumnal climate. The thought of being out at
Crissy Field with a stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge to my left and being buffeted by the crisp clean Pacific Ocean air seems downright blissful right now!!

I've been pondering a move to San Francisco a lot lately, and although it's not something I think I will do anytime in the near future - too scary to think of the upheaval of moving I need to build up to it - I am thinking that maybe in a year or so I'll go for it. It's daunting to think about, but my mind keeps going back to the idea, so I continue to consider the pros and cons of moving. On paper there seem to be a lot more cons than pros to be honest, but at the end of the day my gut is telling me that I need a change from living in New York and all the stress that goes along with it - it's been over 10 years after all - plus there's a bunch of other people I know - like my good friend Megan who is originally from California, although Pasadena not San Francisco - who are considering a similar move, so that would make it a lot easier. I also learned from the Department Head the other week that after you've been with the company for 10years you get a sabbatical.

"A paid sabbatical?" I asked

"Yes, yes, it's paid."

Hmmmmmmmm!!! Definitely something to take advantage of, especially since I am only 6months off my 10year anniversary with the company, although I need to check the facts with HR first since Department Head is very good at sounding convincing even when he doesn't have all the facts to hand - I guess that's why he's the Department Head eh ;-) - and it may be that there's a seniority clause in there or something that disqualifies me, but definitely worth exploring. If it does turn out to be true I'm pondering the possibility of taking a short term let in San Francisco and living by the Bay for a month to see if I like it, although spending a month there while still getting paid and not actually having to go into the office every day wouldn't exactly be the most realistic taste of the west coast life style now would it?

"You'd never want to come back," said Megan

That's true, I probably wouldn't. If I do go for that option I'd have to keep in mind that in reality I'd still be a wage slave. Anyway that's at some point in the future, but for now I'm settling for a long weekend out there with my a buddy from work in November.

Funnily enough I am not dreaming of being on top of Machu Picchu - merely
elected as one of the new 7 wonders of the world in 2007!! Meh!! - which is where I will be very soon. I'm sure it will be very impressive when I am there, but right now I have no context, whereas I know exactly what it's like to be at Crissy Field. Melissa and I are Peru bound in just under a week. We fly overnight into Lima arriving at the hideously early time of 6.40am and have a day in the city before joining our tour group on our second day in Peru. After Lima we fly to the high altitude Puno region where it's all about rest and relaxation for the first day in order to acclimate before we set sail across Lake Titicaca (Childish, but I can't help but enjoy an internal smirk at the name!!) to visit the floating islands of Uros, then onto Cusco, through the Sacred Valley of The Incas before starting the 4 day hike up the Inca Trail, camping en route, to "spectacular Machu Picchu". read that correctly, I did write CAMPING!!! It's not exactly me is it? I mean, I'm the same person that struggled to live without a hairdryer for the two days I spent at Miles' central London bachelor pad a few years ago - Bless him, he's since purchased a hairdryer for me to use while there since my US one doesn't work well with the travel adaptor without sounding like it's about to explode - so 4 days camping with limited shower facilities and potentially having to poop behind a bush.....hmmmmmm!!! After the Inca Trail we have 1.5 days in Cusco, where I shall no doubt spend an inordinate amount of time scrubbing myself clean, before hot footing it back to New York.

I'm going to have a trial pack of my backpack this weekend and keep my fingers crossed that I don't have to make any emergency purchases at
Eastern Mountain Sports.

Have a good one!!

1 comment:

Amel said...

Again sorry to hear about the stress at work - plus the heat plus PMS. Not a good combination...but at least hope you had a great weekend and have a SAFE+FUN trip to Peru! :-D

Moreover, hope you get a new team member SOONER than later!!!!!!!

GOOD LUCK on your future plans, wherever you may be he he he...