Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bitching is Therapeutic

Last couple of days at work have been rough. Petty squabble over copy changes, endless arguments with my studio manager, manpower crunch, verbal lashing from my boss. Unfortunately for most a new campaign was breaking shortly for one of our client and we (the agency) have finally woken up to the realization after a rather long slumber. Tempers are running high and at the slightest agitation my colleagues are flying off their handle readily passing the buck to someone else for not meeting deadlines.

Advertising is extremely chaotic - attrition levels are high, technology fails you when you most need it and even if it doesn't most ad guys are pretty much technologically challenged and I am in the thick of it all and enjoying, cribbing, fighting, evolving, and learning.

I don’t hold anyone responsible, everyone is fighting hard to meet targets and each one is dealing with pressure his own way. Studio is dealing with it by drawing sadistic pleasure by being plain difficult for just about anything. Creatives on the other hand always blame the lack of resources and manpower and at every opportunity they'll reemphasize it. There are still others who do yoga, sweat it out at the gym, shop, quit jobs, change hair styles, do cross country running, or go on a holiday. I for one need a nightlong therapeutic bitching session and beer for instant gratification. It helps me calm my nerves. And heck yesterday specifically was an all nighter.

I have had the most satisfying bitching session. I was actually all charged up to take on more work today! Prashant was an enduring listener.

At the studio 20.45

'What about the artwork for the stickers, Saketh? I have been waiting all day for it. Its 8.45pm now. Besides where are the estimates you said you would give it to me yesterday?'

'I'll give everything tomorrow.'

'Why don’t you give me a time that you can stick too.'

'Dhivya if you want a time, then have it - next month.'

I couldn't stand the smirk on his face.

'Well too bad now you lost that liberty-I need it now or face the flak. I waited whole of last two days for it. You don’t seem to have too much decency to let me know. I will not take responsibility for this goof up on your part.'

'And what do you propose to…..'

I left. I walked out of office. I had had enough of this.

First two of our visualisers are on leave next the only visualiser available is overloaded. I asked him if he could help me with something the other guy had worked on. I also told him I was willing to wait and work whenever he gets free and that the job would not take more than ten minutes of his time. Immediately my copywriter took off on how ten minutes like these eats into their valuable time. And account executives like me only care about our respective clients and how he was doing both his and my work on this particular client who was celebrating his centenary year. I don't blame him he was doing his job and was overloaded with an obscene amount of work and with an unrealistic deadline to achieve.
So many times I have seen them play online games (maybe it was his way of dealing with stress), which obviously didn’t seem to hinder any of their work but ten minutes of my work, would put a grinding halt to whatever they were trying to achieve.

Hey, I was doing my job too, and I really didn't need to take so much of bullshit.

I have never given my studio or my creative team a timeline they cant achieve and I do acknowledge the fact that they work on far more accounts than I do. I have a deadline that’s pressing and clients can be painful sometimes this was really out of my hands.

I walked out that night with tears streaming down my cheeks. I got yelled at because I couldn't meet my deadline, I had to listen to how selfish I could be for trying to meet my commitments with my client. I have to answer a whole lot of people tomorrow - my client, my boss, the vendor. I was feeling slightly feverish at the thought of being pulled up.

Hundred things ran through my mind at that moment. I want to quit advertising - its not worth it - what a thankless profession - all I do is dirty work - I want to drink - I should call someone - why am I crying? - Am I a workaholic? - I don’t want to look incompetent.

At home 21.30

'I have had a horrid day lets drink'

30 minutes later I was seated at Stones along with Prashant - Bitching.

Bitching about everything and everyone. How the world was not fair, how I was just a flunkey in office and how my life was so miserable. I becomes easier to talk once you are three mugs down.

I am not wallowing in self-pity; neither I am I looking for sympathy. The fact is my job has a lot of dependencies - the media, the studio, the creatives, and the client and it is not something I would bring upon myself. Despite knowing this, despite plastering timelines on every available notice board in office, despite preparing everyone for the work in hand, despite anticipating problems we still had to outsource work.
It amazes me how eveyone so readily showers an Acount Executive with profanities. I have fought really hard to avoid being labelled, but today I am defeated. I guess I am going to be just another "servicing" person although in my head I know I wont settle for it.
I am embarrassed. I feel incompetent. I am tired.

Well I do hope it’s a glorious centenary year for a certain client of ours.


PS - All characters in my blog are fictional and any resemblance to a person living or dead is purely coincidental.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Babudom 24x7

Country's youngest channel - Lok Sabha Television (LSTV) has failed to take on the Indian audience by a storm. Well I am not surprised, a 24-hour channel whose programming content revolves around the Lok Sabha speeches that have a knack of having a somnolent effect pretty much speaks volumes.

The brainchild behind the 10-day-old channel, speaker Somnath Chatterjee said it was aimed at bringing some order into proceedings, which frequently got unruly. If not news worthy this channel will definitely be a source of entertainment - unadulterated altercations the Babudom frequently engages in would be hilarious to watch. I don’t think our politicians care too much, despite the glaring presence of the media they would still go ahead unabashedly and pick their nose or spit on the aisle or hit someone. It would take more than a television channel to bring about some decorum in the proceedings.

How many people are watching? It is early days, television viewers are being tickled by slick options that are now available to them - K sagas, reality drama, music, nature, news, history, action and more. Would something like Lok Sabha squabble that is a standing joke of the country ever be able to rake TRPs?

The channel is wholly owned by the Lok Sabha secretariat, and is available freely on cable networks. Only public sector units are allowed to sponsor programmes or advertise on the channel.

LSTV has not undertaken a rigorous marketing & promotional campaign due to constrained budgets however, when a footage of the proceedings is sold to private channel, they are not allowed to tamper with the contents therefore company logos on the screens will be aired on private stations too.

One could watch what the politician voted by him/her is doing at the Lok Sabha and may want to differ his choice the next time over.

Come to think of it I would rather watch a news channel which will give a comprehensive account of the proceedings of the Lok Sabha amongst others than watch LSTV that is wholly dedicated to Babudom. I could do without watching someone pluck a few hairs off Lalu's ear, which by the way, needs a trim.