The Best of October - Horror Stories From Advertising

Working for an unstable person makes for good times had by all.

Mustache Man - A guy who believes he is God's gift to advertising/events/women/golfers. Coming into the business - I was told by Mustache Man my first day on the job that I was working for a legend. He was a former Editor of Golf Digest, he had met 3 Presidents, had magazines with pictures of him and various models he had dated on the pages, and he bought a new Jaguar with cash every Christmas. I thought he was a fascinating person just because of what he had accomplished at the age of 48. The company was booming, we got huge cash bonuses every quarter (over $1,000), and life was good for all. We would leave work early every Thursday to go to a local night club for dinner and drinks - to discuss ideas to expand the business. After my first year at the company, Mustache Man decided to take the company profits and give each employee a chance to make something of their ideas. I was in charge of handling $250,000 of business for expansion purposes on my own (while continuing with graphic design, general advertising, media buying, and press releases for the entire company). Mustache Man handed an equal portion of the business expansion over to 2 other employees - a quiet woman who wanted to get into international rodeo events, and a woman who thought Hispanic advertising was the place to be. Worst-case scenario - we would break even on our expansions in the first year... He had never had anything less than that and he would still guide us in our ventures to protect his money.

The international rodeo events made a small profit as expected. My events were the money-makers for the year a mix of large-scale gaming conventions, concerts, and high-octane rodeos featuring the top PRCA & PBR riders only. The Hispanic advertising venture is what killed us. The $500,000 was gone thanks to a crazy lady who swindled the money into low-budget, low-attendance events and advertising. Mustache Man realized that giving the money to a new employee was his first mistake. The second was trusting that her translation of conference calls was honest and accurate (since she was the only person who could speak Spanish). The third was that he put up $750,000 which encompassed his business... and that even with profits from the other 2 expansion projects, there wasn't enough to cover for the losses on the Hispanic side.

He fired the crazy lady - and started asking business associates for money. When it was time for him to pay people back - he couldn't. He would rather see us get our paychecks and be hounded by angry investors than to see his employees not miss mortgage payments. He started drinking in the morning - taking muscle relaxers at lunch - and waking up with outrageous epiphanies at 4 PM. The remainder of my day would be spent transcribing his ramblings and sending faxes to people he knew 15 years earlier. A few months into our second year of business, my promotions were the only ones still in effect - and I was content with staying until the day he asked me to forge a signature. Mustache Man had been an honest manager up until that day... he had never asked me to break the law until that moment. I refused to forge the signature and gave my notice the next day.

All things considered - Mustache Man was still a better manager than The Boss.

October was the last month for me as an employee. I'm now in business for myself! The events that led up to my last day were filled with hilarity as always. The Boss had asked the employees in my department to come in and save her ass on a Saturday. While she didn't ask for this very often - her negative attitude and poor treatment of her employees led to everyone in the department refusing to come in. They all said, of course, that they had prior arrangements... but after work the story was:
"Why should I help when just the other day The Boss yelled at me for something I had nothing to with?"
"The last time I came in on a Saturday she spent the whole time gossiping and I was the only one working."
"I put in too much overtime already. I'd only get a free lunch and some cash for coming in - I'd rather hang out with my boyfriend."

I came in because my husband was out of town and really had nothing better to do. The Boss told me she expected me to work a full 8 hour day - which I had no problem with. I figured we would tackle a lot of the paperwork and be caught up for Monday if we worked together. I was there on-time and dove into the massive fuck-up that was caused by The Boss. She showed up an hour later, talked on the phone all morning trying to get a golf time booked, then left at noon saying, "It's my anniversary today. I'm going golfing with my husband." I was a bit miffed because I had worked late on my anniversary 2 years in a row, but I pressed on. I stayed late that Saturday - and fixed some serious flaws. Come Monday, The Boss was late to work in the morning (missed the Monday company meeting) - she yelled at me for not taking care of the paperwork on her chair, later apologized when she realized she had locked her door so there was no way for me to get to said paperwork, then left at 1:00 because it turns out Monday was her actual anniversary and she was going golfing again.

Crazy bi-polar lady.


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