Not Chosen, Just Posin'

I just got a job with a Jewish magazine. I'm not Jewish. They think I am.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

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Lunch with the Boss.

The publisher has been threatening to take me to lunch since I started and yesterday was the big day. I joked with my friends over the weekend that he was taking me to a public place so he could fire me without risk of me making a scene. Of course, I wouldn’t make a scene because I don’t much care (but on the same token, I do).

We went to Bobby Flay’s restauraunt, “Bolo,” over in Chelsea. I’d been there a while back when I was in NYC on vacation. This was in the days when I was actually poorer than I am now. I remember thinking that the servings were way too small for the money they were asking. I remembered correctly. While I’m accustomed to small portions, these ones almost laugh at you as you eat them... “Sucker!”

As we were sitting down, the Publisher told me, “We really like having you here. Do you like working with us? This isn’t a review or anything, but you know, it’s always a review.”

“Love it,” I said. To some extent that’s true. I’m learning, I’m paying the bills, I’m oddly amused by sharing the details with the world and I have the freedom to make decisions. On the other hand, it’s a dead end job, I won’t advance and the pay cap is low. So there you go.

I decided to order the Prix Fixe lunch. I’ve never been shy about ordering on the boss’s dime. After all, just a few mental calculations render his income and it’s not the least bit shabby. He told me to feel free to order a drink or two. Something was up.

“So, any big plans for Rosh Hashanah?” he inquired.
“Going to Miami,” I said. No details—better that I don’t offer non-requested information.

Over dessert is when the Publisher got to the real point of our meeting.

“So, I hired an account executive in Detroit.”

Huh? Detroit. This makes absolutely no sense. I was anxious to hear his reasoning.

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He pulled out her picture. She’s young and attractive. And, unless she’s his niece, the fact that he carries her picture in his wallet speaks volumes as to his motives. I could be wrong, but, well, then he said this:

“I want to attract more car company advertisers. Having a rep in Detroit makes a lot of sense for this purpose.”

But having car companies advertise—that makes absolutely no sense. We are hardly a national publication. Moreover, I’d say 95% of our circulation is in the five NYC boroughs, where public transportation has the majority vote. I don’t know how effective it would be for car companies to advertise with us, that is, unless the Publisher is planning to expand our distribution areas, triple our ad rates and seriously up our circulation. No, it just doesn’t make any sense. We’d have to do a double print run to conserve our local advertisers who don’t care to pay extra to be in areas outside of the city. In conclusion, my initial thoughts offer the only explanation that fits. With this strong hunch in my toolbox, I can get away with anything. I just have to make sure he's curious as to whether or not I'm onto him. I shamelessly ordered a second drink.

I can’t wait to see where this is going. If I could stand his wife enough to spark up a conversation with her, I’d ask her how they scored the hot new account exec? “I mean, if she’s even half as attractive as she appears in the picture your husband carries around in his wallet...”

As I’ve said before, though, I really do like my boss. But taunting his wife? That’s definitely worth making him face her wrath.

He’s a smart guy. I’m sure he’s got his bases covered. “But, honey, it’s for the car companies.” Hopefully she’s a bit more gullible than I am.

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