Saturday, 28 January 2012

It's been a whirlwind!!

Ugh, it's a beautiful day in New York today, the conditions in Rockaway are supposed to be great for surfing, the school is going out for a lesson and I am too hungover to join them. Damn damn damn damn damn damn. It's probably for the best anyway given my job situation not to be shelling out $75, but it would have been nice, especially as the instructor I find to be particularly attractive is the one taking them out. I think Megan may be going, I know she was considering it. So jealous!!!!

So the reason for the hangover is that I was out with my team for drinks last night - or should I say my former team since they are no longer reporting to me, but to my friend Deb (who is not best pleased to have been put in this situation). It was a fun night, although I was surprised they stayed out so late. I honestly thought we'd be out for an hour or two and then they'd head home to their significant others, but one to two hours rapidly turned into four to five.

It was the first time we've had an opportunity to talk openly and honestly about the whole situation and how they are feeling about what's going on at the agency. Like many others I've spoken to in the department, they are frustrated with how disorganized things are at the moment and unimpressed with how I've been treated, especially as the head of department hasn't been very forthcoming about what's happened with me. People have noticed I'm missing from the new org chart, but when they ask he just waves his hand and says something about me exploring other opportunities.

"We're not stupid, we all know what's going on, he should just be straightforward with us!!"

It's not like I've been shy about telling people if I'm asked, but apparently at an off site on Thursday a couple of people didn't know what had happened and asked why I wasn't there. The department head also asked why I wasn't there and expressed surprise that I didn't show, saying he thought I'd have had some good feedback.

Is he for real? They've laid me off from my position, albeit it with a significant amount of notice, but he thinks I am going to show up to an off-site meeting to provide feedback? Does he REALLY want my feedback?? I'll give it to him if he really wants it, but I didn't attend the off site, because a) I didn't think there was much point and b) my time was much better spent having a full on day interviewing with 4 different companies.

Yup 4 in one day. The job hunt has moved so fast that I feel I need to take on an intern to keep all my meetings and phone calls straight. I've talked with 8 companies so far, interviewed twice at two firms and am waiting for meetings to be scheduled with 2 more.

Last Thursday I interviewed with HR at Company1, a well respected mid-sized digital agency, and was pretty excited about that position, at that point that role was definitely my first choice. The next day I interviewed with the head of the team at a smaller agency and on Monday my recruiter emailed to ask how my interview went at Company2

"It went well, they are a nice group of people and I appreciated their candor about the role, but to be honest I am not entirely sure the position is for me. While there are opportunities to help grow the team I wouldn't have a team working for me and I am not sure how I feel about that since coaching staff is something I excel at and enjoy. The heavy exposure to a single client is also something that gives me cause for concern."
A few hours later I received the following note from him:
"I get it and I've expressed your concerns to them. Having said that, they "love" you with a capital "L" and want you to come back and meet with senior leadership. They are willing to restructure the role to give you immediate direct reports. Would that make this worth continuing discussions?"
Ugh, I knew this would happen and I wish I loved them 'with a capital "L"', but to be honest I just wasn't feeling it in my gut, however a job is a job and should other opportunities fall through then...maybe!! Would it be wrong of me to go in and meet with senior leadership knowing that I am unlikely to take the position?

Seriously, can you tell I am Catholic? I feel guilty about frigging everything!!!

That was the week of January 13th...this past week has been a whirlwind.

On Monday I met a recruiter for coffee at Soho House in the Meatpacking District. I've never been to Soho House before, not the NY outpost nor the original in London, but I'm really not down with it to be honest and I so wanted to hate the place as I think the whole private club thing is pretentious and assumed it would be packed to the rafters with hideously pompous British ex-pats and those who fawn all over them - but I have to admit the 6th floor lounge is lovely. Anyway the recruiter seemed a bit disinterested - I noticed her zoning out a couple of times, although to give her her due she could have been looking for the coffee I'd asked for as she did seem to listen to me. There are a couple of positions she is going to put me forward for; one would be at a small, award winning creative agency with just 50 employees that's looking to build its capabilities in my area of expertise, so it would be just me, team of one working with the head of strategy. To be honest this scares the crap out of me in some ways as I think of how hard it would be to replicate the team I'm in now, but then again it could be really cool and I like the idea of the agency being led by creatives since so many advertising agencies seem to run by people with MBAs who have no clue about the end product we're selling. I'd have to interview with them and see what my gut tells me. The second position is at mid-sized agency in Brooklyn and the vacancy is actually for a lower level than me, but she said they are always on the lookout and may consider creating a position for the right person.

I also spoke to another recruiter who is putting me forward for another position at a small marketing consultancy near Union Square. I looked them up and someone I know from my days on an agency account works there. She's also checking with some other contacts. Then the HR department at a large agency emailed me to set up a screening interview. They are hiring at all levels - cause for concern, did they decimate the team or are they growing? Apparently someone Megan worked with in San Francisco saw my resume and called her about me, so she gave him glowing feedback. The job there sounds a bit scary to be honest. It's a big agency and the role seems much more senior than the one I have even though it's the same title, but I have a phone interview with someone there this coming Monday.

On Wednesday I had a phone interview with a company I wasn't interested in, very much a management consultancy type organization - I thought I may as well for the practice - and ugh, it was awful. Well, I suppose it wasn't THAT bad, but the guy asked me how I would re-evaluate a client's marketing program? Talk about a broad question. I told him what I would do from the perspective of my area of expertise, but I really didn't like the sound of the role and at the end of the interview I told the guy that I was looking for a role in a more creative environment and that I didn't think I was right for them and they weren't right for me. A bit direct perhaps, but the guy kept telling me how they had 150 specialists who do what I do as though it was something to boast about and I just thought "ugh, how dull to be working among 150 others like me." Anyway even though I didn't want the job the experience freaked me out a bit and I was dreading my interview with the head guy at Company1 at 8am on Thursday morning, but he turned out to be really great and told me that they have a 'no assholes policy' ha ha!! Can't hate an organization that has that policy. Anyway he wanted me to come back in and meet with a few more members of the team.

After that interview I headed downtown for a 10am meeting with senior leadership of Company2, who I had admittedly put in the 'back-up job' spot after Company1, but...well I REALLY liked them too. They were very straightforward with me - one guy, who would potentially be my boss, was a fellow northerner who had no qualms about admitting to a hangover in our meeting - and basically told me that the department is in a bit of a mess and he thinks I would make a good partner for the current departmental lead, and mentioned something about making me a co-head of the department. Erm...not the job I interviewed for, which was frankly too junior despite the title, so...well see. I emailed him a thank you note on Thursday evening and I got an email back that night saying they would be putting an offer together for me, so I'm just waiting to see what that is, but I'm kind of excited by this role. The current team they have in place is pretty junior and one of the account directors who I interviewed with had worked with me before - told me that I could really make a difference to the team, so after initially not being too enthused about this role my gut is now telling me to go for it and that going in and turning around a small department could be great for my resume, that is if that's the role that's on the table, because as I said that's not the role I initially interviewed for, but....we'll see!! I'm really excited about it to be honest, but we'll see if they are able to come back to me with an offer for a more senior level position!!


Kitty said...


I shouldn't be surprised. I have to say that from our pt of view in NYC the economy is not bad at all. Mark, who is in the advertising/production world, has been constantly busy. So this is an optimistic, good time for you, which is the best scenario possible!!


Hooray for you. I hope you are enjoying your much-deserved weekend!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Thanks Kitty, I'm trying to relax and enjoy this time, but it's hard. I don't revel in uncertainty, but there does seem to be a lot out there in advertising.

Amel said... many job interviews in a day!!! Well, crossing my fingers for you so that you can choose whatever is best for you and you get all the nicest offers possible he he he he...

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Thanks Amel :-)