My old boss got voted off the island and I am so happy I could burst.
There, I said it, and I’m glad. The official company announcement was curt. When you read “we wish her well in her future endeavors,” there’s no doubt. This was a corporate execution, a Michael-kissing-Fredo moment.
The ice-plunge reality of today’s Darwinian economy is this: there is a conveyor belt of employees jouncing along from the beginning to the end of their careers like the chocolates in the old I Love Lucy episode. At the end of the conveyor belt is a steep drop into the trash basket.
By the time you’ve reached your 50s, if you’ve made it that far in the world of the working, you’re in a precarious position. You’re closer to the top of the pyramid and the jobs at your level are fewer and farther between. And you’re — hopefully — making good money and, thus, an easy target for those managers who practice “addition by subtraction.”
Real New Yorkers see this up-close and personal every day. We — OK, I — innoculate ourselves/myself against the pain by rejoicing in the downfall of others. When the news of _______________’s demise was reported in Ad Age, I felt as good as if I’d have sunk the winning basket in the NBA finals at the buzzer.
My first boss there at the agency, ____________, built the agency virtually on his shoulders. He was tough, abrasive — no social graces but super smart. We alI loathed him, yet learned so much from him. He was the tough drill sargeant who prepared us for the battles ahead.
His boldness, coarseness and lack of guile proved his downfall. His successes rankled those more politically adept but intellectually deficient. He was an outlier and, the powers- that-be thought, he had to go.
Although he rose to great heights and made the agency king of the hill, he was eaten alive and spit out by _____________, a cunning, smart go-getter who worked her way up from a smallish medical agency to the point where she outmaneuvered _________ , aided and abetted by the honchos at the agency’s holding company. Back then, the economy was rocking and she was able to hold onto the gains made by her predecessor, but failed to build upon them. She proved methodical, careful. She played not-to-lose. And she paid with her professional life.
Eight years after she knocked off __________, she, too, was voted off the island, outfoxed by one of her lieutenants. __________ was 15 years her junior, prettier, flirtier — but not necessarily smarter — and a suit as empty as any guy, proving that, at least in PR, women had finally achieved parity with men.
She was always oh-so-polite. She never spoke ill of anyone. Totally politik. But it was always the _________ show, first and foremost, and she jettisoned me and virtually everyone who ever had an opinion, voiced it, or proved to be anything more than a hand puppet. She was big on garnering big profile interviews for herself, speaking engagements, burnishing her “mythology of me.”
And, surprise! Over time, the agency lost its mojo, its creativity, its ability to win and keep the big accounts. Was the economy tough? Sure. But did her team’s deficiencies do the agency in? You bet.
So goodbye and farewell, Ms. ____________.
Another dead fish in the shark tank, another chocolate that’s fallen off the Lucy line. Say what you will about my ethics, but schadenfreude rocks. Live by the sword, die by the sword, baby.