This cartoon killed me this morning because, just like the header above says, I have been there.
During my early fling in the corporate world, I was hired away from Insurance Company of North America (INA), where I was the “Industrial Editor” responsible for a 10-time-a-year business magazine for independent insurance agents and a bimonthly one for employees around the world and had no way to advance unless I wanted to actually move into a true corporate job (which I most decidedly did not) by the PR department of Scott Paper Company to be the “Publications Editor.”
Trouble was, when I got there I found a guy already in place, with a similar title who was already doing a fine job with the company’s two magazines. I was, I soon figured out, a “showcase” hire (hard to believe, I know, but I was something of a hot item in local internal PR circles) for a PR department manager who was building an empire.
The real crisis came when they realized that company policy said that a person at my level of the hierarchy had to have an office along an outside wall with a window. There were no open offices of that sort. What they then did was to build a new office in the center of the department was the largest one, even larger than that of manager. It had glass walls on all four sides and my two assistant editorssat our front of it in cubicles.
Did I mention I ha nothing to do, the other guy had it all in hand? This was before computers were commonplace so I had to sit a desk and look like I was doing something most of the day. By the time I got home at night, I would make a pitcher of martinis and drink two of them before I could do anything other than mumble to my wife.
Eventually, they created a quarterly glossy magazine for shareholders for me to edit and worked out a deal where I went on loan to the American Paper Institute to work on what was then the largest paid-for supplement ever to be published by the Sunday New York Times, spending a lot of time up in New York at NYT headquarters, which was much fun. That didn’t end well either: the Times went on strike the weekend the supplement was to appear and it wasn’t published until weeks later.
I left Scott after a year and transitioned into full-time freelancing with a two-plus year stint at the Delaware River Port Authority, where I created, edited and wrote most of a ten-times-yearly international business magazine, pretty much my own boss and certainly my own editor. Great experience, especially because I was the odd guy out in an entity dominated by politics and political connections (I believe I and the woman hired to be my secretary who I soon set free and an assistant editor were the only “not-connected” employees they’d ever seen. Since everybody know where they stood in the big picture based upon who their “rabbi” was and we had none, we pretty much got to run our own show.
Much more information than you needed or wanted, I guess, but, hey, the way I take a break from writing is to…, well, write. Works for me.
And I did get a serious chuckle of the above, the original of which is safely ensconced here.