#300 In which our hero reveals the rather unlikely story of how he got his job, part 1.
As promised, the tale of how I landed my current job.
About two and a half years ago the agency I was working at hired a new writer named Brad. When I was looking at Brad’s brief background info on the “welcome new hires!” wall, I noticed that we had worked at a lot of the same places. In fact, he had been hired in at my old job at The Columbus Dispatch shortly after I left.
We chatted and hit it off. But Brad was fired after three months. No fault of his own; the agency had staffed up anticipating that we would win at least one of the three new pieces of business we were pitching. When we ended up with none of them, the decision was made to “de-staff.” I’ve seen agencies make this sort of move before, and I’ve always thought it was pretty shitty.
Brad and I stayed in touch after he cleared out. He ended up going to Wyse Advertising, the same agency that I worked for when I first moved to Cleveland. Our careers were on weird parallel paths.
About a year ago Brad emails me out of the blue and tells me that he’s at a new agency, and they’re looking for a writer. Up to that point I had been really happy with the agency I was at, but things had started to go south there, and I was growing increasingly unhappy. So I shot Brad my resume. Someone from their HR department contacted me and the wheels of the interview process began to turn. But they were turning veeery sloooowly.
I had to fill out some online employment forms, and have a pre-interview phone interview with another recruiter from the agency and jump through a few other hoops. I was a little frustrated by the glacial pace of things, but I think Brad was even more frustrated. Which was understandable since he was the other writer and was getting severally shit upon with a ridiculous workload.
Finally Brad calls me and says, “Screw this! I’m just setting up an interview myself. You can meet me and my boss at Starbucks and we’ll talk.” He tells me his boss’s name and I’m like, jeez, that name sounds familiar.
About a week later I show up at the appointed time and place and find Brad already there. We get some coffee and chat for a bit. Then his boss (who’s the Group Creative Director for Cleveland) shows up and I realize that I do know this guy. In fact, we worked together at Wyse which is, remember, the same one that Brad went to after he was fired from my current agency. The advertising community is pretty insular in northeast Ohio.
He remembers me and we BS for a minute about how Wyse is doing, and the people that worked there, and so on. Then we get to my portfolio and start going through it.
Then, in the weirdest of coincidences, as we’re sitting at Starbucks with my book wide open on the table when who walks in but my old Creative Director from Wyse. He and the department’s writer (a guy I also worked with) just happened to be on that side of town for a client meeting and popped in to get some coffee. This guy sees Brad’s boss first and says, “Hey D. Good to see you.” Then he notices Brad (he didn’t know those two were working together now) and says, “And Brad! Hey!” Then he notices me, and says, “And Craig? What the hell is going on here?!”
We all laugh and share a small world moment. Then he sees my portfolio and starts flipping through it. It’s funny because I still have work from my time at Wyse in there and he’s like, “Oh yeah! I remember this project!”
It’s all rather odd.
We finally get back to my interview and it’s all pretty positive. My work is mostly traditional advertising (i.e., print ads, radio, brochures) and the place I’m interviewing for is a digital agency (mostly websites and email) so there’s a little concern there… not so much that I can’t do the job, more that the work I’m showing doesn’t put me in the best light to get hired.
Hands are shaken all around and it’s over.
What follows is a really disappointing series of emails from Brad and the HR department, that boil down to this: you’re awesome, but we’re not going to hire you right now. We’re going to hire a freelancer instead. Catch you next time.
So that’s that.
A year passes. Brad and I stay in touch, and he laments how the freelance writers they’re getting in suck and how they should have hired me.
Then, about five months ago, the creative director tweets “Immediate opening for a copywriter in Cleveland. Send me your resumes.”
I pat myself on the back for being smart enough to add this guy to my Twitter feed after our last meeting and shoot off an email right away.
What happens next is so strange that I still have a bit of trouble believing it’s all for real.