September 16, 2009

Home again home again...

For the first time since I was 4, I have an entire year off. Well, "off" meaning not having to take the little yellow (or big white) bus to anywhere at 8 in the morning.

I'm on mat leave and playing the waiting game.

It's odd. I love my job, and the people I work with, and most of the projects that come across my desk. I love my AD, my CD, the praise for a job well done, the breakthrough ah-ha moment when a concept comes together. I love working where people understand what "copywriter" means. I love the results of having to go back to the drawing board (even if the going back was a bit of a blow). My aunt once told me that I'm probably the only person who enjoys how they bring their paycheque home--and although I think she's exaggerating, I'm not convinced she's far from wrong.

So yes, it's odd to be apart from all that. I feel a little useless, in that I'm not contributing to the work. I feel a bit disconnected from the adrenaline. Advertising gets under your skin, drives some inner force that makes you dig deep, deep, deeper until you get it just right. It's compelling and rewarding and frustrating and satisfying. And I wonder how much I'm going to miss it.

But truth be told, my brain has turned into so much mush. My kind and lovely AD has politely asked a few times if, perhaps, just maybe, I'd, say forgotten a word here? Or a bit of punctuation there? And I look and see the glaring mistake, invisible to this bit of Swiss cheese between my ears. Plus you know the week will be long when, by 10:30 on a Monday morning, your previously comfy office chair has turned into a bit of a torture device that no amount of jiggling, shifting, scooting, or leg-raising can fix.

I guess I'm swapping one responsibility for another, altogether bigger one. It hasn't hit me quite yet, though. For now, I feel responsibility-less (unless you count the unwritten shower thank-yous that are staring at me from the kitchen, even now). It's a strange, uneasy feeling--like being disconnected from the real world. Almost like losing your place. Or watching from the sidelines. I almost feel badly for the women who run out the office door, free for a year and so glad to not have to come back for a good long while. What could be worse than an unwanted return, a year-long countdown to the pain of going back to their small corner of hell?

But, but, but... this project I've been working on since January may just change all that.


  1. Yes, advertising does get under your skin. But the truth is, it will always be there, waiting like a faithful dog for your return. The beauty is that you love it so much that you feel the angst of leaving it. It's your craft, and you worry what will become of it without you. And that's what makes you one of the good ones. But you are about to embark on a new journey. And your creative brief will be to bring someone new into the world, and if you are able to instill just a small percentage of your passion into the tiny person "Bump" will become, you will have made a contribution to humanity. I have a sneaking suspicion that once you hold this tiny, precious package in your arms, advertising will take its proper place in your perspective. Sure, they're going to screw up some ads for your clients without you. Take a little smug satisfaction in that fact. You deserve it. But now you are onto much more important things. At least for awhile. Relish the moments. They are far too few. And the best of luck to you and yours! Godspeed...

  2. Ah, thanks for that wonderful comment, Rob! Life with Bump is still a mystery to me, so I'm left wondering just what it will be like--and how much of the "old" life I'm going to miss. But it's exciting and awe-inspiring and miraculous, too.

    Advertising is such a great industry to work in. Sure, there are bad days and awful projects and coworkers and clients from hell, but the payoff is huge and wonderful. You're right--it'll still be waiting for me. I hope they miss me a little while I"m gone... ;)

  3. Once you meet the Lactation Consultant at the hospital you might think that every agency should have one...for those special clients.

  4. jeaves: Oh--that's brilliant! Throw in a couple of cookies and we may buy us some peace..

  5. I won't be able to put it more eloquently than Rob has, so I'll simply second his emotion and wish you *tremendous* luck on the impending adventure!

    And to jeaves's point: I really, really thought my wife was going to punch our L.C., who treated the wife's boobs like they weren't even attached to a human body. To add injury to insult, I guess her fingers smelled like garlic. Ick.

  6. Haha Jake, I told my brother and his gf this weekend at the hospital after the birth of their first what a L.C. does. I said they basically take a boob in one hand, baby in other and smash the two together based on how rough ours was too.

    Is that college course offered in the back of a magazine or can you get it online at "San Juan Memorial District Accredited Collegish Diploma Stuff University".

    Sounds like good times for all.

  7. Jake: Your L.C. sounds like a massage therapist I had once. She must have eaten a sandwich between appointments and her hands reeked of cheap plastic wrap--and she was massaging my head! Blech! Esoteric people are interesting, but sometimes they make me a little nauseous.