Tuesdays have always been one of the weirdest days working for the paper. The calm before the storm of production day.
Six years ago.. when I joined on, it was just hectic. you had a newspaper full of lifers that, aside from J and myself, had never really worked for another newspaper or publication, so they were really used to the idea that if an advertiser came in, blissfully ignorant of, or arrogantly immune to deadlines, they would accommodate. "the client is always right. even when they were wrong", was the motto.
It took me 2 and a half years to shoot that motto down in the face of getting productivity increased and press deadlines hit on time. and by "on time", I mean 4 hours after when they were supposed to be met.
Let me explain a bit. We are a weekly.. and come out on Thursday morning, and this newspaper has had this schedule since 1971. without ever ONCE, missing a press run.
1971. That predated your fucking i-phone, and it predates computer aided digital typesetting, and had a fuckload to do wiyth typeriters and storyboards and waxers and manual paste-ups that were sent down to the press by courier. This is one of the reasons I wanted to work for this newspaper. well.. That and the fact that they didn't throw me out when I showed up for the interview after a 3 JD on the rocks lunch, that they had rescheduled 3 timed over 4 months. I figured I really didn't have much to lose as I had my shit packed to more to Burlington in search of Advertising work once more.
They Hired me.
For good or ill.. they recognized the talent. a bit insane perhaps, defiantly steeped in alcohol, but a talent for cutting through the bullshit, defining time-saving processes, and more importantly, trying to instill a sense of discipline on advertising clients that before my arrival, were treated like ignored , hungry children on Ritalin at an Arby's.
of course it took me over 4 years to do that subtly. imagine steering the queen Mary with a couple of Oars and a bottle rocket.. it would be faster.
Six years ago, we were still building ads on a Wednesday production deadline and not getting out until 11pm.
Years , and recession later, Between J and I we have cut the time for ad production in half, keeping
ad builds to Monday at noon at the latest, and making sure that the
blame for getting a paper out the door past 6pm on any given Wednesday
would never fall on The Advertising Department. (we prefer to blame
editorial for that ;)
Fast forward to today...
My Hours have changed. no longer can I have overtime, Benefits cut. No more Wednesday massages, and no more late night Fridays at the bar with hookers and blow. but alas.. to make up for the extra money that I was making, I am given 3 day weekends. The recession has taken about a third of what I was making, mostly due to my efficiency.
but.. well.. at least I am still employed, and I don't have to go back to diving the snarling agency cesspool of my youth.
Being poor may indeed suck.. but being being rich and miserable sucks even more.
Preservation & Change: Finding the Balance
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