Tuesday, March 7, 2017

An early phone call with a friend. (Philosophical.)

After a 33 year career, a friend of mine, a talented copywriter, was recently let go from her job of eight years.

The antiseptic protoplasm that did the actually letting go were well-armed with the legally-approved HR-vetted bromides. 

They talked about changing client expectations and the changing media landscape impacting the overall exigencies of staffing.

Then they gave her a severance of the sort that you'd expect to receive had you spent your career working at a car wash or a liquor store--you know, a week for every year. (A 2% vig.)

I got a call from her this morning and we had a brief chat well-before eight. (Like me, she is an early riser.)

"Well," she said, "last night I worked till one a.m., a 14-hour day."

"You got paid for those hours," I reminded.

"It's not just about pay," she said, "it's actually doing work again that matters. It's about doing work. Not politics, not making tonnage just so you can pay the holding-company protection money. It's about doing work."

"There's something about being back in the game that is life-affirming I think."

"You know," she concluded, "there's an 80-20 rule in most companies, most social organizations."

I agreed.

"Twenty percent of the people do 80% of the work. I like being one of the 20%. Getting my hands dirty. Solving problems others would like to sweep under the carpet."

Again, I agreed.

"It sounds like you're cut out to be a freelancer," I said, thinking wistfully about the days when my personal shingle was swinging in the breeze.

"Maybe," she said. "We'll see what happens when the phone doesn't ring."

And with that, she hung up.

And I, as one of the 20%, went off to work. 

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