#031 In which our hero struggles to stay afloat.
I'm aboard a sinking ship.
Regardless of whatever upbeat message the politicos are spewing this week about the economy surging toward recovering, the Cleveland advertising market hasn't improved. And the agency at which I am -- for the moment -- employed, isn't doing well. Not well at all.
I fantasize that the renovated warehouse that houses the agency is literally a sinking ship; I can see cracks appearing in the tastefully painted walls, water ominously streaming out in increasingly large rivulets, puddling on the floor until I am sloshing through rising water... ever raising water. I steady myself against the wall as the agency suddenly and violently lurches to the side, dumping less aware co-workers out of their chairs. The fashionably exposed steel beams above my head creak and groan under the strain of a bad economy, poor agency leadership and irresponsible planning.
Staggering topside, I am assaulted by the harsh winds of mismanagement, forked bolts of missed opportunities snake across the sky, leaving flashpoint impressions on my retinas. I cower before the earth-shattering boom of bad decisions, covering my ears in a vain attempt to make them go away.
If I squint, I can just make out the ship's Captain to stern, standing behind the massive ship's wheel, chatting with the First Lieutenant and gesticulating wildly. They seem unconcerned about the oppressive storm that is tossing the ship to and fro, but their nonchalance is belied by sideway glances to their exclusive lifeboat; a sturdy and wholly seaworthy vessel financed with their own personal wealth that's sits conveniently close by. All around them my coworkers casually go about their day to day tasks, rearranging the deck chairs into pleasing configurations. However, beneath the heavy peacoats of several I can detect the characteristic bulge of emergency life preservers.
I fish my spyglass out of my pocket and scan the horizon for shore, any shore... there is none. Behind us, I can just make out the Isthmus of Telephone Customer Service where I was stranded when my last ship split apart.. As tenuous as my current footing is, it is much better than living on that detestable strip of land. However, I fear if the ship goes down, I may be forced to swim in that direction.
Training my 'glass forward, I see nothing but dark skies and choppy water. Here and there we may be able to take aboard small amounts of pitch and lumber, just enough to allow the ship to stay afloat for a few more weeks.
Straining, I can just make out a tiny speck of land, far ahead of us, but looming closer every hour. I hope beyond hope that it will be the Isle of Renewed Business, or even the fabled continent of Repeated Profitable Quarters... but in my heart I know it is not. No, it is more likely the Fjords of Financial Insolvency, with the devastating Reef of Staff Reduction.
The Captain sees it, too. With a pained expression he turns the massive wheel and alters course; the ragged sails fill with wind anew and the ship leaps forward, taking a new line, straight into the path of the rocks.
God save our ship.