Monday, July 24, 2017

My (Three-month) Life in PR, Part 4: The joy of the weekend lasts for about five minutes

So my spirit, as much as it's ever given to lightly soaring, is closed to crush from Day One. New strategy. I’m going to try to hold on as well as I can until five o’clock every day, be happy I have a job that can cover rent while Leslie is home with the baby, and keep the griping to a minimum. Does this get me through Day Two? Maybe, I honestly don’t remember. As far as the work itself goes, I’m caught in a trap where it feels both mind-numbingly boring and yet I’m out of my depth and can’t do anything right and will never understand the untold subtleties and mysteries of professionally installed window film. Did I mention there is not much you can say about professionally installed window film past the first two minutes of learning about it? It is a film, on windows, that provides tinting and shade. There you go.

And yet there is neverending cycle of PR endeavors of the wonders of professionally installed window film that must be fed for W____ C____ to keep reeling in that sweet, sweet professionally installed window film money. There are pitches. Blog posts. A monthly press release. A fucking quarterly window film newsletter. Podcasts. Videos. Infographics. Look, I’m not saying window film is not a fine and useful product. But there are only so many ways to entice major publications that window film is a film, on windows, that provides tinting and shade.

There’s really no need to bore you with the specifics of the work. It was a job of stuff that some people are happy to do but which I was ill equipped to excel at. That happens. I can accept that. There are many, many jobs I have been ill equipped to excel at. Frankly, most jobs I have held I have been ill equipped to excel at. Boiled down to its essence, I have determined that there are two jobs in the universe that I have the opportunity to excel at, newspaper man and grocery store clerk.

So it wasn’t really about the work, except when it was. It was about the people, specifically my bosses, of which I had four, which, as I may have mentioned, seemed a little bit top heavy for a company with nine employees. Of the three vice presidents, there was one who was slightly demanding, but in the perfectly acceptable way that bosses are expected to make demands of employees. If I was doing work that didn’t crush my soul, she would have been a fine supervisor. The second vice president treated everyone like she was a first grade teacher and we were all six years old. The third VP had the charming habit of never asking you to do something, but telling you to do it.

I’ve blocked out most of the day-to-day work crap that drenched me in misery. I can’t remember the specific spreadsheets I would spend hours and days filling out with media contacts only to be told I formatted the spreadsheet wrong. I can’t remember the specific pitch e-mails I was forced to rewrite and then rewrite again because I was told that no one, no one would be interested in that boring pitch about data conversion. I can’t remember the specific press releases where I was told that there is a very specific language that must be used to tell consumers about the magic of professionally installed window film.

What I do remember is telling the owner that I could not make it to the company’s holiday dinner because my daughter was sick and being badgered to attend -- well, you have to eat dinner, you can stop by for an hour, it is a team-building exercise, it is really important that you attend, you should think it over and get back to me. What I do remember is telling the owner that my uncle was dying of cancer and that when he did die and I asked to take time off, I had to send her the obituary and when I didn’t do that right away I was sent emails on the day of his funeral reminding me to send a copy of his obituary. What I do remember is less than three weeks into my new job walking out to my car and calling my old boss and asking what the chances were that I could come back. What I do remember is coming to work every morning to the mansion on the ocean in one of the most beautiful spots I’ve ever seen and feeling like I never wanted to see this beauty again, it was ruined for me and the ocean and the dapply dapples and the waves crashing were nothing more than the hard rock in my stomach that doubled me over in pain every morning on the way to work and kept me up at night for hours later than it should have because the earlier I went to sleep every night the sooner I would have to wake up and the sooner I would be back at work. What I do remember is that for my lunch breaks I would go sit by myself in my car, eat a baloney sandwich and watch the clock, calculating just how long I could sit in the parking lot before I would have to go back to my desk. What I do remember is the relief of leaving work at five o’clock on a Friday for the weekend, only to not even have that relief last for more than two turns down the highway when it hits me that I’ll just be driving back the other way on Monday morning.

What I do remember is the shame of finally making enough money to provide for my family but wanting to do anything but the job that made enough money for me to be able to provide for my family. What I do remember is being about a month into the job and being an absolute non-communicative asshole around the house to be around and Leslie asking me what was wrong.

Is it the job? How is it going?

Not so good.

Next up, Part 5: The light at the bitter end of the tunnel, and more jokes, I promise


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