Sunday, June 14, 2009

A day in the life

7:00 -- Wake up, shower, take Advil and multi-vitamin, sniff underwear, get dressed.
7:15 -- Catch cab. No. Go to ATM first, then catch cab.
7:30 -- Arrive at office. Walk long way around to avoid seeing Head Honcho who is conferring with Big Cheese.
7:35 -- Drink coffee, update Outlook Calendar, read news online and Shelf Awareness.
7:50 -- Print out the day’s meeting schedule and review. Mark in red the meetings that require a passing familiarity with topic.
7:57 -- Evacuate bowels. First and last ‘feel-good’ moment of the day.
8:00 -- Channel-specific marketing review with department heads. Do not snort when colleagues try to bullshit their way through an answer to a direct question. Head Honcho might notice.
8:30 -- Sales review meeting. Come up with a dozen euphemisms for “sales suck.”
8:50 -- Take two more Advil. Grab another coffee. Post résumé on-line.
9:00 -- Sales strategy meeting. Discuss changes, drop-ins, postponements.
9:55 -- Schedule another sales strategy meeting for tomorrow to finish discussing changes, drop-ins, and postponements.
10:00 -- Grab a coffee, visit toilet, open e-mail. Delete twenty-six messages in forty-three seconds. A new record. Cool.
10:05 -- Conduct impromptu department brainstorming session: how to communicate better. Staff complain that HR memos are not ‘perky’ enough.
10:30 -- Marketing meeting (publishers only). Discuss sales’ failure to sell.
11:00 -- Marketing meeting (sales only). Discuss publishing’s failure to publish.
11:30 -- Combined marketing meeting (sales and publishing). Discuss working together to grow the business.
12:15 -- IT Project review meeting. Develop new feasibility study template. Old form only took two months to complete.
12:45 -- Lunch: wolf down tuna salad on soggy croissant. Visit toilet. Uh-oh. Puddles on floor. Can’t tell if it’s only water.
1:15 -- Check CNN, Times, Twitter, Publishers Lunch, open mail and boxes, delete another thirty-seven e-mails.
1:30 -- Pricing and cover meeting. Our finance guy says the cover of our big new thriller is “too red.” Who cares if he’s color blind? Change it to green and raise everything else a buck.
2:00 -- First print meeting. Remember to bring a year’s worth of call reports to refer to when publisher asks why numbers are so low.
2:15 -- Reprint meeting. Nothing is selling. Meeting adjourns after two minutes.
2:17 -- Take a breather, prepare for the sales update meeting and have another coffee.
2:30 -- Sales update meeting. Head Honcho asks, “Has anything sold since this morning?” It takes us twenty-eight minutes to say, “No.”
3:00 -- Acquisitions meeting. Someone says, “Is that a dead mouse I smell?”
3:30 -- Write-offs meeting. Make note: these two meetings should be combined.
4:00 -- Another coffee, visit toilet on different floor to avoid flooding, check e-mail.
4:05 -- Brainstorming meeting: “How to grow sales despite too many titles and too few accounts.” Mark in red.
5:00 -- How to improve meetings meeting. Everyone brings personality test results. Am seated next to someone I can’t stand.
6:00 -- Order pizza. Grab a coke. Walk up and down stairs to ward off phlebitis.
6:15 -- Informal department personnel review. Decide who survives the next round of layoffs.
6:40 -- Call big retail customer and beg for extended placement on latest bomb.
7:00 -- Start work on descriptive copy and comparative title list for next summer. No. Next spring. No. Next summer. Damn. Which list is it? Remember it’s the one with that big historical novel they paid a million dollars for and nobody can finish.
8:15 -- Go downstairs and pay delivery boy for pizza.
8:20 -- Answer e-mails while eating cold pizza. Wipe grease off keyboard.
8:35 -- Run out to Duane Reade for Visine, immodium, and more Advil. Run back.
8:55 -- Change e-mail signature. Stare out window at the apartment across the street to watch young couple making out in kitchen. Try to remember what that feels like.
9:00 -- Visit toilet. Wash hands -- no paper towels -- use pants.
9:03 -- Sneak down corridor to make sure Head Honcho is gone for the day, pack up and head down to the elevators to leave.
9:06 -- Return to cubicle to retrieve ID card so you can get out of building.
9:10 -- Leave building. Avoid looking right or left as you pass through the lobby. Prickles on your neck as you sense Big Cheese watching you via security cams.
9:15 -- Walk across town to the OK Lounge, go in, and order first vodka of the night. Behind the bar, owner Big Denny O’Keefe looks up and says, “Geez, cousin, you’re lookin like shite these days.”

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