After leaving the agency, I joined an international pharmaceutical company which was headquartered in the Netherlands at the time. So this was my 2nd corporate experience and my first time working for a foreign entity.
Dutch people are very nice but some of them have an odd fashion sense. I frequently saw tight purple pants, green jeans, geometric hair…just awful. In short I loved my job – it was fun providing eMarketing expertise to the brand teams and it was a pretty laid back environment. The agency we worked with was in Toronto and I loved them and going to visit – it was fun.
What was unfortunate was my manager. He was nothing short of a male chauvinist pig. He made sexist comments about me and other people in the company – it was sexual harassment in every sense of the word. To make matters worse he was a working retiree. He was just done…and when the Dutch counterparts on my team left I took over all the work. He never really knew until the end just how much work I was undertaking.
I did not feel empowered to go to HR about him and I just felt helpless about the situation. I have found that in every company people think HR is the enemy and if you go to them with anything (especially something like this) you are marked as a troublemaker. Do you all find this is true? I also had heard that this guy was real good friends with the company’s president so there was no way he would ever be fired. great.
After hearing such rumors I was afraid to talk.
So I quit.
It was a mistake – I should have come forward about the harassment.
Even worse I went out badly by quitting on the same day as the only other person on the team – it just kind of ended up that way and was our way of getting back at the manager, I guess. I think the rumors were true though because he still has the job, somehow even through a merger – whatever ended up on his record from us quitting did very little. A few lessons learned here for sure…
Over the 5 years I was there I ended up managing a little team of account people and freelancers. By far the worst part of managing is having to fire someone. I always see good in people and I had a VERY hard time hiring qualified and reliable people. I think I focused too much on personality and not enough on skill/experience. It was a great learning experience, if nothing else.
After 2 years I was getting antsy so I went for my M.A. in Communications – I got it from a great online program at Seton Hall University – but I really should have gotten my M.B.A., big mistake.
After that I started looking for another job. The GM was nice on a personal level – a great guy really – but from a business perspective he was a nightmare. I don’t think he ever really wanted the agency to get too big but it started feeling claustrophobic and not enough of a challenge for me. I get easily bored can you tell?! He also just did some asinine things which I can’t even remember but I know they frustrated me and my colleagues immensely. Actually I think the biggest issue was the fact that he micromanaged everything so you would have a discussion with a client and he would come in and change something. There was no independence whatsoever and it basically felt like nothing you ever did was right, totally horrible and demoralizing.
I guess he was ready for me to go too after 5 years because he didn’t even ask what could be done for me to stay. I guess I was just a little hurt by this because although I couldn’t stand him as a manager I loved him as a friend.
We spend SO much time with people we work with – think back to all those people! – and you share SO much complaining, confiding, and then you just never talk again. It seems so wrong…
After commuting to NYC I was ready for a job closer to home. I answered an ad for a PR Coordinator position at an international hospitality company because I thought PR would be a nice fit for my English/Journalism degree – and to my dismay I could not find anything remotely related to online PR or marketing.
This was my first real corporate job and really it was just a welcome back into high school between people being territorial, wanting attention and just general political B.S.
The director of our group ended up getting fired a few months into it – I never knew why but I heard rumors it was related to sexual harassment, who knows.
Then my direct manager got fired and this was classic. She was nuts to begin with – I had no idea why upper management didn’t like her but she flipped out on me because I couldn’t get any media people to attend an opening of a sub-par hotel chain in the middle of Florida. I was beyond annoying by sending and re-sending press releases and calling media folks and calling again and again and again…all about this opening at which there were going to be the hotel chain’s fabulous mascots Sunny and Daisy. Yup.
Anyway I got reamed for not getting anyone to go – wow did I hate this job, another bomb for me.
Then one day out of the blue the hotel chain VP asked me to her office to find out if my manager had said anything about her or the President. I had a brief moment of exhilaration – this was the chance of a lifetime, I could FINALLY speak my mind and totally crush my idiot manager.
But I didn’t. As much as I hated her I just couldn’t do it – a little part of me actually felt sorry for the woman I guess. She got fired anyway so it didn’t matter.
Then I tried to worm my my into the marketing department quite unsuccessfully so I ended up leaving there after only 8 mos.
Luckily a few of the guys from my old online PR job had started their own business and I was able to join them as one of the first employees!
After the media planning fiasco I answered a newspaper ad (remember those?) for an online PR job. As an English/Journalism major this appealed to me so I sent in my info and was happy to get called for an interview.
Remember those days too? When you got called for an actual face-to-face meeting and didn’t have to endure the torture of a phone interview? God I miss that.
I landed the job which was the first one I really liked. At the time (I think this was back in ’98) the internet was still new and businesses were just starting to figure out how to use it to market themselves. We were on the cusp of something big and it was pretty exciting. I was doing things like finding newsgroups to post promo blurbs and press releases on, asking sites if they would link to our client’s sites (how quaint!), submitting URLs to search engines (remember Webcrawler, AltaVista, wow I am dating myself).
I was so excited about the possibilities and I worked with a cool group of people. And then a few months into it all…the agency was bought out and got sucked into a big name in NYC.
Once the acquisition went through my commute turned into a 2.5 hour door-to-door each way nightmare. The agency had to be in mid-town of course – Rock Center which was great! – but at the time the bus to my area of the woods only came at half hour intervals. So if you missed the 6 you were screwed. This also all happened in the the summer so you had to endure a standing room only bus with A/C that didn’t kick in until you well into the next state. Oh and did I mention I had black gook coming out of my nose from inhaling fumes in the Port Authority? Good times.
The only thing I had going for me was that “Online PR” was all the rage and “they” were super interested in our group. My manager quit and most of the other people from the old agency were leaving. I had enough of the commute after 2 months and quit too. But because they so desired an online PR group, get this…
They put me up – back in the old office space by myself for an undetermined period of time. At first I thought it was great and I had hit the jackpot. But I was young and had to get my career moving. This job was going nowhere, I had very little work to do and I think the agency just kept me on to sell-in that they had this capability. It was BS!
I was also in this huge empty space with some guy from another company in the building swinging by a little too often. It was B.S. AND creepy so I got out.
There is only one person I consider to be a great boss – and really he was my manager’s manager. He just had a lot of respect for anyone who worked on his team and without a doubt he would have your back in any situation. Hard to find this and I don’t think I will again!
So I always had an interest in advertising and thought it would be cool to join an agency. I answered an ad for a Assistant Acct Exec / Media Planner – I can’t remember the title exactly or the description – but I do remember that NOWHERE in the description did it have anything about numbers or math. And the interview was just more about personality fit than job specifics, should have been a huge red flag for me.
My first day I realize this is not the job I want. And even worse my manager was breaking in her new manager role with me. Great. She had no idea what to do with me because I did not understand a word she said. She also very much expected me to be her admin and wasn’t that interested in teaching me media planning specifics. I was lost.
I was there two months too long. I unfortunately can’t remember this classic conversation but one day my manager was frustrated and yelled at me because I wasn’t being ‘helpful’ or something like that and my response was “What do you want me to do, kiss your ass????”
God that felt great!
I actually do not regret saying that at all even though she cried afterward. Really if she was as savvy as they said she was she should have taken more time teach me the ropes and be a mentor rather than ordering me around . I would have been fine with any administrative duty, really I don’t mind that at all, but it would have been better if she had some respect for me instead of treating me like an idiot. This was basically my first job so they shouldn’t have expected much – I mean I was GREEN. And they hired a journalism major to do math for god sakes.
Agh what a mess. The creepy manager’s manager suggested that I quit – clearly they didn’t want to provide unemployment benefits and I wasn’t in need nor did I care so I gave 2 weeks. The next day they changed the lock to the office so I couldn’t get in. I think that was my last day but why didn’t they just decline my 2 week offer to begin with? Bizarre…and what were they afraid I was going to do – steal a media plan?
So far my career was not going well at all! What now???
After I graduated good old Moravian College with a degree in English/Journalism I had no idea what to do. In retrospect I should have just majored in Business, but more about this later.
I decided I was interested in law so I went to the paralegal certification program at Fairleigh Dickinson in Madison, NJ. It was a GREAT program – I loved the profs and I learned so much about the legal system. I think everyone should take it for the info you get on estates, trusts and wills alone – invaluable.
I decided to take my first job as a paralegal at a law firm. This wasn’t so much a mistake as a misstep…I thought I would like it and see if I wanted to perhaps pursue a J.D. Well, I was basically a secretary and had to type up some lawyer’s notes from chicken scratch written on paper. It wasn’t so much the work because I get that everyone has to start somewhere and first few jobs out of college are pretty administrative in nature don’t you think? I hated that none of the lawyers bothered to learn my name and right before I quit one of the partner’s stormed out of his office yelling ‘why don’t we hire someone from that program at Fairleigh’? I also got the sense from other paralegals that you eventually knew most of what the lawyer’s did (and in some cases more depending on the lawyer) but got paid a LOT less.
This was the beginning of my ‘I want to mean more’ itch and while I loved the legal field I just didn’t want to have to deal with people’s problems all day long. Very depressing! So after three weeks I moved on.
Hi everyone – I know there are a million blogs out there – so why read this one? Well…how many people do you know who turn down a six-figure job and go against the grain for a better life? I want to tell my story – and along the way I plan on including musings about my career highs and lows, general life stories and opinions on a lot of different things.
Perhaps you can learn from some of what I’ve been through and I’d love to learn from you all too. Names are hard to come by so I landed on ‘meaningmore’ because (it was available!) and in the end we all want to mean more than what our job title might imply.