My day as a major league baseball player
A lot of what we do as a creative agency is ask “what if?” The answer often comes back in the form of a hybrid solution; we mash up two or more notions that are unrelated and come up with something new.
I guess it’s that mind set that got me thinking about what our workplace would be like if we behaved the way major league baseball players do, only in the office. To me it’s an amusing idea, and, as an avid Blue Jays fan, I know that having a sense of humour is essential this year.
Here’s my day:
Arrive at the office. Anthems are played, then each of us is introduced individually over the PA (we use the phone intercom) and we walk in with our own specially chosen music. If you know me at all, you’re expecting anything from Insane Clown Posse and you’re right. Always been a Juggalo. We receive a really nice round of applause.
9:00 am to 10:30 am.
Warm up. Like batting practice and infield before the game, it’s a casual and pointless 90 minutes of doing what we’ve done for our entire careers but slower, less hurried. While some of us doodle or play with random words on our screens, others stand around and watch the process, cracking jokes and spitting.
10:30 am to 11:15 am.
Break. We sit around waiting for the day to start while our work areas are straightened and prepared by a 12 person team. We chat and spit.
11:15 am to noon.
A quick look around our workspace reveals buckets upon buckets of Bazooka gum, medical tape, and water bottles. Tired and thirsty from the two hours and fifteen minutes of hanging around, I open a water, drain it, and then toss the empty bottle on the floor where it bounces several times before nestling up to a couple of the others that Doug Harrison, our Director of Client Services has already finished.
It’s game time.
I check my to-do list and see what the fuss has been about on the radio phone in shows all morning. It’s a fundraising direct mail I need to write. The fans have been questioning my internal fortitude. “Sure he can lead, but has he lost a step?” From my point of view, there’s no question that I can handle the task at hand. After all, I’ve got momentum. Like a slugger earning $20,000,000 a year, I’ve been successful 33% of the time lately. Pretty high standards there.
I do have one concern. Shelley Mayer our Skipper has me on a strict word count. 500 max for the day and then she’s going to shut me down. Can’t blame her logic: I type with two fingers and one of them is beginning to develop a tiny blister.
Pat Tabler and Buck Martinez look on, commenting on our every move. Tabler remarks on my approach to sitting, wondering if my head is coming up too quickly when I check my screen for what I am writing, but at the same time, he is impressed with my upper body presence.
We’re all wearing matching uniforms (we have roughly 20 different versions) and they all include hats with bills on the front. We wear these to keep the sun out of our eyes even though, like the Jays, we work inside almost all the time.
Everyone around me is hard at work, typing, phoning clients to check in, posting to social media, planning strategies. Nobody skips a beat of work, yet each and every one of us is constantly grabbing handfuls of sunflower seeds – I mean great, heaping fistfuls of the salty nuggets – and tossing them in the general area of our mouths while more than 90% of them scatter on the floor at our feet. The few that manage to make it in are immediately spit out.
By noon the entire office floor is a slick yet crunchy soup made up of various fluids and sunflower seeds but nobody takes any notice. We are hip-deep in empty water bottles.
Noon to 3:00 pm.
I’ve been busy writing and an error has been caught by our proofreading staff. No harm, as we do our utmost to make sure we are accurate at all times and this was caught. Our system works! Still, on the screen behind me is a 40-foot tall image of my face with an “E” next to it. There is a smattering of boos.
It’s Sheree Stephenson bobble head day. The first delivery guy through the door receives the souvenir novelty item.
Suddenly, right in the middle of a routine social post, Jennifer Paukman pulls a hamstring and all work across the entire company immediately grinds to a halt. We gather in a circle showing concern. After a few minutes, she heroically declares she is fit to return to work, but it was a really scary moment.
Meanwhile, attention has been paid to the blister I mentioned earlier. It’s gotten bigger, and now it is almost visible. I’m told to stop working and am put on the ten-day disabled list. A freelancer will have to be called up from Buffalo, and what she lacks in big league experience she makes up for in heart. Scouts tell us she may just be a little bit weak when it comes to adverbs.
3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
Lisa Lebeer our office administrator makes solid contact with a potential client and a meeting is set up to present our credentials. It’s a particularly nice piece of work, and shouts of “great play” and “atta beee!” ring out around the office. Again we stop all work for several minutes and gather around to exchange high fives, hugs, jaunty hair-tussling, and various belly bounces before returning to our seats and spitting.
It’s starting to get late in the game but we are well ahead of schedule on almost every job and it looks like smooth sailing the rest of the way today. So much so that in order to give us a rest (believe it or not we actually have to come in and do this again tomorrow!), an entirely new group of people who have been sitting idly just over there all day long are brought in to continue doing the job we’re also being paid for. Nice.
Eventually, it’s over. We convene one more time for our traditional backslapping, strange handshakes, and Gatorade dumping. Oddly, we only do this when the day has gone well. On those other days, we solemnly collect our things and quietly leave.
At the end of it, we are battered and bruised, but we’re still standing. As I exit the office and head for home I soon find myself surrounded by such a large crowd of autograph seekers that I can barely move. They don’t actually ASK for my autograph per se, but as we jostle along together packed inside the Queen 501, I can tell they want to.