When I accepted employment as an account manager at a London advertising agency my nearest and dearest patted me on the back and sent me off to the frontline (people in advertising love to speak in war language, ‘assemble the troops’, ‘divide and conquer’, ‘we’re all tossers’… ok maybe they don’t say that last one).
My mum was like one of the deluded X-Factor parents that tell their similarly deluded and tone deaf offspring they have pop-star credentials. Yes, because of course Sony and EMI are always crying out for fat, ugly, Northern girls who can murder Whitney’s greatest hits.
So, the drama graduate with a penchant for social work (moi) was to train in ‘Account Management’; this was the beacon of fulfillment and success I had longed for. Faux pas doesn’t begin to cover it; like trying to cover France with a napkin when it rains.
Finding a square hole for your square peg is not unlike excavating a 21st car park for dinosaur bones, it’ll take forever, you’re unlikely to find anything, and if you do it’s a miracle so never let go.
Being gay I’m no stranger to the wrong hole but (or should that be smut after that comment?) it was as if Starbucks had slipped a philter in my latte causing me to fall in love with the first career path I met. Why couldn’t I have bumped into a lonely Bill Gates on the Victoria line and embarked on a life of mutual companionship and financial security (him to me on that second one of course)?
My first boss at the ad agency was a venomous blackguard with an IOU from God where her soul should be. She was a fully operating exoskeleton with a latex cover for reality. Callous, cold and heartless are the key words on her biog. Is it clear I didn’t like her, or should I go on?
She would vituperate every morsel of my work with the intensity of an overzealous wine taster desperate to maintain their coveted position at the top. She thought of herself as the most sparkling jewel in the diadem of the agency (ecstatic sidebar; she was in fact recently told she was easily replaceable and to get off her high pony, which Daddy no doubt bought her for passing her A-levels), so intoxicating was her self-importance I felt the need to bow upon her arrival.
I’d always thought of myself as a fairly sapient observer of people; but in this instance my low self-esteem had blinded me to that fact that there was nothing great about her, she was just like your average bitch from my council estate; only with a private education where her triple-pierced ears and triple-gold hoopage should be, and a pin stripe two-piece as opposed to a bomber jacket. She still smoked like a bastard mind.
My mélange of mistakes and shortcomings whilst in advertising is now somewhat historical, people still reminisce about the time I asked senior management if I could be fired for farting in the lift; they said no so I farted (with several floors to go). This joke-fart unfortunately created an uninhabitable mephitic fog and all had to leave the lift three floors prior to their requested destination.
This move was career limiting (career on a postage stamp in my dire case) for two reasons: the obvious fart smell and accompanying social inadequacy coupled with the fact that senior bods had no choice but to take the stairs with the minions. They don’t do stairs apparently as they may have to say hello to someone less senior than them; so they always take the lift, fly or teleport, amazing huh?
Their other superhuman traits include heightened selfishness, talking through ass 24/7 and the ability not to care about ANYBODY; even their own wives and children, but why would they when they can shag career-hungry 20-somethings who don’t eat?
Two years since my departure I am still wandering the baron dessert of life choice. It may be hot, unbearable at times, and subject to the occasional mirage that turns out to be yet another desk job, but I am much happier here in the career wasteland than I was in the empty, soulless hovel of my past.