Monday, July 28, 2008

mad men

i have read and heard numerous reviews all raving about AMC's new series Mad Men. while i have not yet seen the show, i can't help but chuckle at the now historic stereotypical role of the "ad man" in the 50s/60s. specifically, the show "depicts authentically the roles of men and women in this era while exploring the true human nature beneath the guise of 1960s traditional family values."

fortunately for us "ad women" much has changed since then. and yet, in many pockets of the corporate world, much has not (duh, i guess). for example one of my clients is a large ecommerce company. when i started on the account i was brought in to meet all the key players. here's how that first meeting went down:

as i entered the offices, i was quickly greeted at the reception area by a chesty young girl with a perma-frown who offered me coffee while i waited (and she made it very clear I was not to leave the seated area to find my meeting -- "oh, you can't go back there!").

little miss muffet informed me that the ceo, xxrry (all the C-types names there end with "rry" which is creepy to begin with), is not quite ready for me. ok, no big deal there, but i did start to feel i was on the set of 'the office' only it lacked any sort humor. so i felt obliged to help myself to 15 jolly ranchers sitting in a bowl beside me while i waited (and a couple tootsie rolls, but who's counting really).

i was eventually "allowed" to go back to the main offices and head to the door at the end of the hall where xxrry's office was located (corner and all). as i entered the main room, i felt overwhelmingly uninspired. not only did all of the conference rooms i passed have kitchsy corporate monikers on the door like "teamwork", "respect", and "customer value", but the fluorescent lighting did not shield the dingy cubes that made up the interior of the space. the walls were lined with windowed offices, all of which had male names on the door (about 10 offices, and not one woman). all of the cubes housed women whom were the admins for each of these men (cue "working girl" music).

i approached the ceo's closed door office and was stopped by his admin, a beautiful and, yes chesty woman with a perma-frown, who asked me all sorts of movie script-type questions, "do you have an appt. with my xxrry?" "is he aware you are coming?". really? this isn't LA Reid's office....i mean c'mon!!!

i was finally allowed in to meet with ceo xxrry. (keep in mind this is an ecommerce company that peddles web site design/hosting services...this is not TRUMP!). ceo xxrry directed me to sit in a seat across from him and promptly leaned back in his chair and put is feet on his desk. lounging and smug, he began firing off questions to me:

him: "where did you go to college?"
me: "didn't"
him: "what is you background"
me: "hookin'"

ok, so i answered a bit more truthfully than that, but damn if those answers weren't at the tip of my tongue. needless to say, i made no attempt at humor, and if anything did all i could to display my sheer lack of enthusiasm with his bravado (its a half smile, tilted head, eye thing i do).

once he seemed relatively satisfied with my answers he responded, "such an extensive background for someone who looks so young." sure, he could easily have said that to any fresh faced guy (ahem, yes, i did say "fresh-faced" playa hatahs). but it was the way he said it. it was the smirk. it was that fact that a line-up of chesty, florescent flooded women stood outside his office ready to jump at his beck and call.

upon the close of his meeting i half expected him to send me on my way, open up his personal bar to poor a glass of brandy for himself and his cfo (also present in the meeting), sit back and talk about my "assets".

fast forward 2 months and there i am negotiating payment of 800k they are withholding. i am in a board room ("teamwork", perhaps?), sitting across from 3 c-types, xxrry, xxrry, and xxrry. since i triumph when expectations of me are low, i kicked some c-level ass. when did it turn the corner? when it was somehow disclosed in the course of negotiations that i had a 2 year old son. there was a level of resepect(?) that came to the surface. or at least i percieved it as such -- was i now the madonna, the tough-as-nails working woman, or did they finally know how to categorize me which gave them some parameters? likely the latter. in retrospect it was more a sense of relief than respect.

in any case, what struck me in that meeting is that i felt like i was in a room scripted from the '50s. i could smell the insecurity. and, all i could do is be grateful i am not part of their perverse coporate construct....except in the fact that i can work hard to discount it. and keep stealing 20+ jolly ranchers everytime i show up.

Monday, July 21, 2008

on a lighter note

is anything better than 3/4 cookie crisp cereal with 1/4 cold whole milk when you have a hankering for something sweet, but not too sweet and something filling but not too filling? damn. that's good.

mike savage controversy

mike savage is a prick. that seems to be a pretty obvious characterization (to any rational thinking adult, anyway). do i agree with his remarks around autism? for the most part, no. but i am not scientist, nor well read in the area of autism. like any parent, i read what i can online (i *think* 'autism' was ranked the #8 google search term in 2006). i think his comments were shallow, hurtful, and probably ignorant. BUT, i can't argue that autism is always properly diagnosed. but i digress...

irrespective of the fact that this prick made vulgar accusations, he did open up raw dialogue on the topic. he freely spoke and as a result we, as listeners, are freely responding. if i hear one more comment about how he should be immediately fired i will go ballistic. whatever happened to free gotdamned speech? if everyone agreed with everyone else....well you know the argument. mike savage is not yelling fire in a crowded theater. he is simply expressing his twisted opinion, as painful as it may be. so fire him? no.

why do we have a right to pick and choose who is fire-worthy based on the opinions (privately funded) people choose to espouse? can we put up a stink, counter-argue, or attack their ignorance if we object? hell yea. thus is the beauty of free speech.

mike savage's comments have spawned incredible debate and brought the subject of autism to the forefront. the conversation is happening now. Use this rebuttal airtime as an opportunity to prove your point, not whine about the ignorance of others and the subsequent need to fire them.

Monday, July 14, 2008

so when are you going to get pregnant again?


very few people ask if i plan to get pregnant again. it is always when. based on the number of people who have asked me in the last 3 months, i get the sense it ought to be soon. i know i am supposed to be selfless and all, but when i hear that question, i rephrase it in my mind: "when are you going to blow up to the size of a porpoise, pop some vericose veins, add on some more stretch marks, and piss yourself everytime you laugh or cough?" or better yet, "when are you going to lose all sex drive, not be allowed to drink alcohol nor eat sushi, have to put all of your sassy new clothes in storage, feel a sense of rage for all non pregnant skinny bitches, and throw-up for 12 weeks straight?"

"hmmmm, soon i guess?"

getting pregnant not only requires me to have sex, but does require some planning. it goes something like this:

me: "hubby how about next month?"

hubby: "we have 2 weddings and your foot cyst surgery"

me: "right, i'd say the month after next, but we have our yearly romantic get-a-away and the big [insert friend's name here] birthday party. i was planning to get pretty wrecked at that."

hubby: "ok, so the month after that"

me: "naw, getting my hair dyed -- made that appointment with francoise jean louis six months ago"

hubby: "yea, let's figure it out during our next family meeting"

me: "k"

so for all of you wondering, "when is kate gonna get preggers again?" -- you'll know when i have roots.