Wednesday, September 26, 2007

PR Firms Suck My Ass

There are a lot of people who don't work while at their jobs. I used to be one of those people; in fact, during the first five years I lived in New York, I wrote the first several drafts of my as-yet-unpublished book at my dayjobs. How did I get away with not working at work? I had low-level, low-paying, boring, mind-numbing, unimportant jobs. I work at my job now because it's interesting and in my small firm (there are 8 of us), if I didn't do my job, it wouldn't get done.

For the most part, I like my job and my clients. But what I don't like, what I HATE is working with other PR firms. There are a lot of reasons why people don't like the public relations industry and publicists in general: we're sneakily trying to push our clients' agenda, we pester journalists, and we spin the truth. Valid points. That's why I like working at my firm--all of our clients are non-profits--when I promote them, I'm promoting their causes and ideals. The reason that I hate working with other PR firms isn't that I don't want to help them promote their clients--I hate that they don't do their work.

So, here's what I'm talking about:My client is A. For the last several years, A has worked partnered with B, the corporate giving department of a large corporation. Twice a year, A and B need joint press. I will call B's PR firm The Rude Firm or RF. RF is one of those big, big PR firms--while my boss and I are the only people working on A's account, RF has about 6 people who work for B. The main woman, I'll call her Vanessa, who works for B is a Senior Vice President. Sounds pretty impressive, huh? A slim woman in her 50s who wears too much jewelry, Vanessa's tone is always condescending and so are her actions--when I worked with her a few months ago, she actually said good-bye to me by patting me on the shoulder. Lovely. But her condescending tone and actions would be tolerable if she actually worked on our joint projects. Hell, or had her minions work for her. No go.

The reason I haven’t posted in a while is because we were gearing up for a big, joint event yesterday during which we were releasing a survey. Now, RF was supposed to take the lead in all things regarding the survey, and my firm was supposed to take the lead in getting journalists to come to the event. When we shared our press outreach list featuring about 100 outlets, RF offered to pitch to 3 of them. 3! Out of 100! Ok…. But we couldn’t send an advisory to any of our invited journalists until we had some of the survey results. RF got them Wednesday night. Which meant they didn’t have an advisory to us until Thursday morning. And when I saw it, I almost went ballistic.

I was already pissed that they were being shitty about the invitations and had dragged their heels in getting the results to us, effectively not allowing us to tell journalists about our event until 4 days in advance, but the advisory was so poorly written and filled with so many typos, I wouldn’t have had my receptionist read it, let alone my boss, client or another firm. Then, things only got worse. I rewrote the entire press release they sent me. And the 18 page powerpoint presentation? A least 3 typos, errors, and just wrong information on each and every single page. Obviously, no one had proofread it or even looked at it before it was emailed around. I just don’t understand why they thought this was an acceptable thing for anyone to see. They have account coordinators, managers, supervisors, and the VP working on this, and these horribly written and error-ridden things were the best they could do?

Clearly, I totally need to move over the corporate side so someone at a smaller firm can do all my work for me.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My Sister's Reaction to My Blog Posts About Her Wedding

holy shitballs! I just read your blog. I'm so flattered i could fart (and i did)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Late-night Texts

On Wednesday night, I got a text message at 11:04 pm wishing me a "healthy and happy new year." It was fine since I was still awake, and it was nice since Wednesday night marked the beginning of the Jewish New Year (for someone completely non-religious, I certainly talk a lot about Jewish stuff), but the note was from a number that I didn't recognize.

Who on earth was sending me a "Happy New Year" message at 11 o'clock at night? Since I couldn't figure it out, I wrote back, saying, "Thanks--who is this?" When he wrote back with his name, I was even more confused. Who was this person? Maybe it someone I had gone on a date with? If so, the date would have had to have been more than a year ago. Mentally, I scrolled through Jewish guys I had gone out with in the past few years. No. Uh-uh. Nope. Hmmmm.

While I did finally remember who he was (a guy who I had met at the gym 2 years ago), the text made me remember another late-night message I received--an inappropriate one.

I was looking for a new job last summer and a friend introduced me to a friend of his who also did PR. I wanted to ask him some questions about his firm, so we met for a drink at a midtown bar (it was close to both our offices). It was a boring and useless conversation, so after one drink, I thanked him for his time. He asked me to have dinner. I said I was meeting my boyfriend.

I thought that was the end of the story. And then the emails started. It was so good to meet me--maybe I'd like to have another drink sometime? Maybe we could grab dinner and talk about "the industry?" I politely declined. Did he think our one drink was a date? Gross.

After I mentioned my boyfriend a few more times, I thought he would finally stop contacting me. No, no!

A couple weeks later I received the following text message at 2:12am: "Hey there you awake? Johnny is too drunk and is drunk texting you and i think i am talking about myself in the third person:)"

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What's Wrong with my Intern?

I wanted to title this post "What's Wrong with People?" but really, that would be the headline for most of my posts, so instead of focusing on people, I'm focusing on my intern. What the hell is wrong with her?

My intern is 23, a little older than most interns. My office manager hoped her age would bring with it some maturity. Not so much.

So the intern, "Maria," is dating a 30 year-old. I think the age difference is a bit much, but whatever. A few weeks after she started working for us, she bounded into the office, all aglow with the excitment of a new present. What had the boyfriend gifted her with? A promise ring. After they'd been dating for only a month.

Now, I have several issues with this:
A) A promise ring? Really? Who does this at all in 2007? And who does this at 30?
B) After only a month? Really? What on earth are you promising after only a month? Hell, I've been with sandwiches longer than a month.
C) As a jewelry snob, I also had a problem with the ring itself. A silver ring with a cubic zirconia, it looked beyond cheap; in fact, it didn't even look like silver. The ring looked plastic, like one of those treats your mom lets you buy for a quarter from the supermarket.
D) Maria insisted on wearing the ring on her "engagement" finger, since this ring was certainly a predecessor to a greater, more official ring.

When Maria and I were talking about marraige, she was surprised to learn that I wasn't married or engaged. Then she was even more shocked at learning my age--she had thought I was unmarried at 25--at 30, it was truly horrifying.

This all happened a couple weeks ago. Why am I writing about it now? Because yesterday I noticed that Maria was wearing a new ring. When I asked her about it, she responded by saying, "the first ring wasn't real silver and started to rust my hand. So I called him on it and made him buy me a real ring." Indeed.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Guest Blogger = Matt, the Boyfriend

In order to provide a little different perspective on the recent wedding festivities, Jen has been gracious enough to turn her blog over to me for a spell. As Jen may or may not have mentioned, her sister Stacey has a few hippy-like tendencies. It's also possible that her new husband has a few himself. We had some advance notice that some of those tendencies might appear in the ceremony, but even that notice couldn't prepare us for what happened after the rehearsal dinner.

As with most weddings, the rehearsal dinner took place the night before. But not as with most weddings, after the rehearsal dinner, the bride and groom, their close friends, the bride's parents, and Jen and I went back to the synagogue at around 10PM to meet the rabbi for a havdala service. For those of you who aren't familiar with Jewish tradition, the havdala service takes place every Saturday evening at the end of the sabbath to bid farewell to the sabbath for the week. Usually it happens at sundown. Stacey's rabbi, however, was kind enough to return to the synogauge at 10pm to do a special service for the couple and their friends.

Upon entering the synagogue, we found a group surrounding the rabbi by the front door, lights dimmed, and the rabbi, who I'd never met before, strumming an acoustic guitar. He was obviously perfect for the happy couple. After everyone arrived, we went into the chapel and the rabbi instructed us to sit on the ground in a circle. He had Stacey and Matt talk a little bit about how the two of them got together. Then he had the assembled friends and family go in a circle and talk about what this wedding and the couple meant to them.

Instead of being cheesy, as Jen and I both thought it would be, it was really quite moving. Jen was in tears for most of it. A couple of Stacey's friends were barely able to say anything in between sobs. My turn came second to last, and as anyone who knows me would expect, I broke the tension with some humor, but still managed to say something sweet. This is what I said (or something like it; its not like there's a transcript):

I've been looking forward to telling this little story about Stacey for a while now, and I can't think of a better moment to share it than right now. It's not about the first time I met Stacey, but I think it was the first time I met her after Jen and I got serious. Their parents were visiting in New York. [Stacey attempted to interrupt at this point, because she knew what story was coming, but I kept telling it anyway.] We were hanging out in their hotel room waiting for Stacey, who was returning from her summer travels. When she came into the room, she quickly got into the bed, which Jen and I were sitting on, got under the covers, and then dug her feet under my ass, presumably to keep them warm. Then the farting started. Jen was horrified and said something like: "Stacey, what is wrong with you?" Stacey's response was perfect. She said that either the two of us would break up and she'd never see me again, or we'd get married and I'd be family--and what's a little farting among family? I like that story because it's funny, but it also really shows off one of the great things about Stacey. How open and accepting she is. From that first day, she was already treating me like a member of the family. And this weekend, Matt's really been treating me that way too, and I just wanted to tell you both how great that is and how much it means to me to be a part of your wedding and your family.

I wasn't the last person to speak. Ending the service with a story about farting would have been unfortunate. Thankfully, Jen spoke next and said something sappy that caused more crying.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Happy Anniversary to ME!

One year ago today I started this blog. Yes, it was about 6 years too late. Yes, I haven't updated it as much as I could have or I should have. But, I've enjoyed writing it and I hope you've enjoyed reading it.

Thanks SO much for checking in to read about my trip to Belize, move to Brooklyn, new job, and all my of my random rants.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

My Speech at the Wedding *or* OMG So Much Cuteness!!!

As Stacey's older sister, I've tried to teach her a few things, one of which was about weddings. When we were little we would act them out. I would be the rabbi, she was the bride, and the cat would play the part of the groom. Matt, you make a much better looking and more compliant groom.

I can't believe my baby sister's getting married. Well, is married. I'm only 2 1/2 years older than Stacey, but I've always looked after her and taken care of her and, in a lot of ways, I view her as an extension of myself. So, her wedding is kind of like my wedding. And my wedding is beautiful.

Stacey, I love you so much. And Matt, I love you for loving her.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

By the Numbers: My Sister's Wedding

Number of people in the wedding ceremony: 27 (the bride, the bride's parents, the groom, the groom's parents, the rabbi, a maid of honor, a matron of honor, a bridesmaid, a best man, 2 groomsmen, 2 flower girls, a junior flower girl, 2 ring bearers, 2 friends of my sister's who sang a song, 7 of my sister's friends who each recited a blessing.)

On a scale of 1-10, how cheesey I thought the wedding would be: 8

How cheesey it was: N/A -- Oh my God--I don't know! I was too busy trying not to cry!

Number of times I cried over the weekend: umpteen

Number of bobby pins holding my hair back and up in a cute, curly bun: 46

Number of people who told me they thought I was adopted since no one else in my family had red hair: 1 (a groomsman whom I hadn't met before. It's odd since my sister and I look exactly alike)

Number of times I thought I should have lost more weight: 0 (I finally stopped caring)

Number of minutes the hora lasted: 18

Number of times my sister fell off the chair during the hora: 1

Number of times people pointed out my sister's new husband and my boyfriend are both Jewish lawyers named Matt: 3

Number of people who asked us when it would be our turn: 11

Number of hours my mom and I spent at the synogague: 13 (arrived at 11am for prep, pictures started at 2, wedding was from 5-11pm, then it was time to clean up)

Ways the wedding could have been better: 0 (Best. Wedding. Ever.)