Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Two words that explain it all.

A young friend I met some years ago at an agency I used to work at just texted me. It's a generational thing, I know, but I'm not a texter.

I see some people and their fingers dance across their tiny iPhone keyboards like the Nicholas Brothers. Mine lumber like a crippled dinosaur trying to extricate himself from a tar-pit. Or a drunken Disney elephant.

In any event, she was disconsolate. 

Something happened at work and she felt shit-upon. What should she do? she asked.

I texted her the longest text I have ever texted. Because she's good, I like her, and I thought maybe I had something to say. I say "maybe" because many times free advice is most often worth exactly what you pay for it. In any event, here's what I wrote.

"There are two words you have to keep in mind when you have a job. Or when you're in any relationship for that matter."

I paused for a minute or two for dramatic effect and also to give my not-so-nimble thumbs a moment to catch their breath.

"Those two words are:
1) Humility, 
2) Patience.

"In any place, in any relationship, there's a lot of shit you have to eat on a daily basis. People treat you without proper respect. They condescend. They ignore. You don't get invited (or worse, get disinvited) to a 'party' you should be going to.

"Or you get shitty assignments, and no support. Or no simple thanks, when you deserve simple thanks."

Again I paused. Again I stretched my digits like a pianist limbering up.

"I don't know why this is, but it is. People are often insensitive, inconsiderate, unkind. Or just blind to the sensitivities of those around them, of those who work for them, often tirelessly, for little pay, and even less recognition."

She texted back "ok." She knows better than to interfere when I am on a roll.

"That's all humiliating. It sucks. It hurts," I wrote, "And as the oldest working creative in America, I have to tell you, it doesn't get better with age.

Again she chipped in with an "ok."

"The other word is patience. Or maybe faith.

"If you in your heart believe in the talent of who you work with and the quality of the work, eventually (you might not realize it) you learn things. Eventually, you've found yourself with an enviable reel."

I continued.

"That can happen when you're patient. Early on in my career, there were many more agencies than there are today. It was easier to be impatient. You could find a new job without a great deal of sweat.

"But that's not the industry today. So, it might pay to weather the humiliation storms. To suck it up a bit, wait it out until you get the chance to do what you can do.

"You might harbor some resentment, even animus. But, really, that's life. With the vagaries of life comes humiliation. With patience, often, comes reward."

This time she texted, "Thanks, George."

"It sucks having to take it. The fact is we all probably deserve better. But for whatever reason, humiliation seems to be a part of the game. If you can balance it by winning through patience you might be like me," I said.

"Like you?" She asked.

"Yeah," I said. "Working at 61. 

"It might be that out of any ten day period there are three meh days, three humiliating days, and four days where things seem to work out."

That got an LOL.

"That's about how it goes in any relationship."

That got me another LOL.

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