Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Penny Pinching Publishers
After I graduated from college, I got a job as an advertising/production assistant for a small financial magazine. I worked with a wonderful group of people, and was especially fond of my boss. She was incredibly patient, and always had my back. The production manager taught me so much including how to use a computer, but her greatest lesson was about friendship. She always made time to have lunch with me, and I treasured our lunches together.
Unfortunately, the magazine was sold to a large publishing house a few years later, and everything went downhill from there. I went from a cubicle to an office with a door which was nice, but everything else was like going back in time. There were over fifty different trade magazines, and there wasn't a computer in sight. Though they felt the need to employ secretaries who typed on typewriters, I got reprimanded for using stamps. Because we were now located in the heart of the city, I was required to personally deliver media kits on foot weather permitting.
My position had changed to sales representative, and my new employer operated under a whole new set of rules. Once I ran into a problem when I took a local client out to lunch. She suggested an expensive restaurant, and ordered a three course meal plus drinks and dessert. I ordered a small chicken dish, and a coke. I almost fell off my chair when the ninety dollar bill came. That would be equivalent to about two hundred dollars today. Later my helpful co-worker suggested that I submit a bill for three people instead of two. Fortunately, his advice paid off.
The production department was in another state, and there were rumors that the employees were instructed to cut each piece of scotch tape into quarters every time they used it. There wasn't any area too small to cut corners on.
Before there was caller ID, all of their offices had a special system to check how many calls the sales reps were making.They couldn't detect who the calls were going out to, only the quantity of calls per person. This worked well for me, as I was busy planning my wedding and was constantly on the phone. One day the sales manager swung open my door and asked if I was talking business or pleasure. Without hesitating I told him it was a business call, and he was off to torment the next person.
Since I always got my work done and my sales were up, it enabled me to have extra time for breaks. I'll never forget when my dear friend down the hall came through for me. When I picked up the phone she announced, "This is your three o'clock wake up call. The boss is heading toward your office." This gave me just enough time to look alert before he barged in again.