So there I was on maternity leave and the management of our ad agency was having staff reviews. And I had made a promise to you: that I’d go to bat and get you promoted to a senior copywriter because I thought you deserved it. And so I left my newborn with a sitter, for the very first time, (since you’re now a mother, I’m hope you can relate to how hard that is) and came to fight for you in a meeting. I stood there, in my baggy maternity clothes and postpartum too short haircut, and told the senior management that I thought you should be promoted, and when they argued, I fought back, and they finally agreed. Because I’m a good fighter like that. And then I went back to my newborn and carried on unsuccessfully attempting to breastfeed and exist as a mother, satisfied that I had done the right thing.
Boy was I the idiot. Three days after returning to work, again leaving my new baby so that I could go to bat for more self-satisfying entitled individuals like yourself, I was told that a 360 degree review had been performed on me, while I was away, and that you had told senior management that I was too friendly with the account people, and that I was more concerned about clients than the creative staff. And I was literally rocked off my feet. Wasn’t that my job? Wasn’t that what I was hired to do? And what bullshit: what did you think the monthly meetings with you were about and the weekly check-ins? Things I had implemented to make sure everyone got what they needed. Plus, not only had I backed you through every smoke break you had wasted my time taking, and through countless support sessions (let’s just call them bitch sessions) where you complained that you had been looked over and neglected by your previous bosses, but I also left my baby for you. And that was a big deal.
And so I quit. I quit my career and my dreams that I thought I had wanted, because there was no way I was going to work for people who had such warped philosophies. I gave my boss my letter, and he asked me not to leave, saying that he’d give me the hefty raise I wanted but just not the job title to go with it, because he didn’t want to upset people like you. And so I stood fast and handed my little piece of paper and a whole chunk of my life right over.
And then, you got your knife out, and sharpened it a bit more, and gave me a sturdy stab in the back, leaning over our bosses’ shoulder, showing him my website (that I’d had for several years for freelance work) and told him you wholeheartedly believed that I was going to steal clients and start my own gig. And I received a phone call telling me to leave the office immediately or I would be escorted out by security, and that someone would pack me up and send me my possessions. And when the company lawyer phoned, I told her how ridiculous this was, and that it was simply an electronic version of the same portfolio I would schlepping around and then I told her to call my lawyer. And then I went home to my baby and cried.
For years I have dreamed about what I would say to you should we meet face to face. I once saw you in a mall, and once at a Starbucks drive-though and I think I made some kind of pointing gesture with my forefinger, for reasons I cannot explain.
And last Tuesday, early in the morning, Darian and I were delightedly tripping off to San Diego to sign the lease on our divine new house, when we got into an elevator at the airport, and there you were. My heart didn’t even skip a beat. “Dxxi Wxxxy”, I said, using your maiden name (which Darian later said was in an icy, exceedingly sinister tone). You stuttered and your plump round face turned bright pink when I asked if you were still “working the grind”. And you explained that you were, and were on a business trip to Iowa. Oh, the glamor. You asked where we were going, and I of course revealed that we were on our way to sign the lease on our new house in San Diego. I think I might have thrown in a “living the dream”. And suddenly, it struck me how exceedingly grateful I was. You had in fact, saved me. You were living my old life: leaving your two children and husband, dragging your under exercised podgy body, reeking of cigarette smoke, off to deal with an unbearable client who was more concerned about where their logo was than your measly existence. And I wanted to thank you, but I didn’t, because, let’s face it, you asked for it, and I’m glad I helped get you there.
I have two things to say: 1) You really smell bad and 2) I’m so glad that I put make-up on, even at 5am. Oh the things that make me happy. And happy is where I am.