10.19.2011

Business Attire Required

Yup, been there, done that.
Had a huge, once-in-a-lifetime meeting last week; a this-could-be-a-very-very-big-deal which a client asked me to join last moment, and I was honored. There I was, part of the creative team pitching these oh-so-important people. Little ol' me, soccer mom all grown up and back at work.

Not my first pitch, thankfully, so I went confidently into that big room, knowing full-well I could do this gig, do it well.

The confidence was short lived as the reality of the situation hit me square in the cerebral cortex with one simple, subject line only email.

Boss send me an email, requesting in not so many words that I wear business attire to the meeting. In fact, the words were, BUSINESS ATTIRE.

Who even says business attire any more? And seriously? He feels the need to remind me like I'm 12?

Mind you, we're a creative bunch. Or supposed to be. And while this was my first pitch with this dude, I've been pumping copy for him for 2 years now. I'm not wearing pajama jeans to pitch in the big leagues. I'm not a moron.

But business attire was just the beginning. It was as if my naked college final exam except I never took the class nightmare all came to fruition in one 30 minute span. 27 minutes actually, but no one was counting except me – and the prospectives sitting around the table wishing with their body language for us to get the hell out of there, pronto.

There was no briefing. There was no portfolio. There was no timeline, creative, campaign ideas, guerrilla marketing techniques, social media brainstorms. No demographics, comparison analysis, interactive website design. No analytics. No media leverage, no laptops, no white board, no notes.

Three guys and a girl. In business attire.

There was a powerpoint, which was read – verbatim – and two television spots from 1976 shown with no sound. Just kids from my childhood running around a grainy screen.

Then there was this:

"Out of the box thinking."

"Strategic thinkers."

"Must think out of the box."

"We think outside the box."

"One-stop shopping."

"Beware of a one trick pony."

"Creative problem solvers."

and wait for it...

"We're people persons."

I work primarily from home, but I'm not 8. I know what to wear and when to wear it. No boobs, no yoga pants, no thigh ooze peeking out to say hello. No need to remind me, thankyouverymuch.

And while I respect the right of my client to suggest I dress accordingly, perhaps his time would have been better spent preparing for this chance of a lifetime meeting. As part of the creative team, we arrived late, to the wrong address, with no campaign strategy, no pitch, no plan, and no relevant samples. And while we sat around the huge mahogany table with ten VIP decision makers judging our every move, I sure hope they noticed my business attire, and not my name that went down with that sinking ship.

6 comments:

  1. Just last night I was telling a friend who is away doing some corporate training that I would like to be a Tony Robbins-esque sales trainer. Then I could travel around the country uttering cliches and metaphors, and rake in a million plus a year. Spread the word, I'm hoping to have my first engagement shortly. Aka: I'm taking this dog and pony show on the road!

    As for Business Attire, I always say that, for women, there is no such thing as "business casual." We are either "business" or we are "casual." Or, we are dressed like a man, which I guess you could call "business casual."

    PS - I'm still trying to work this one out: Pajama Jeans. Are they pajamas? Or jeans? Were they invented by someone who was too lazy to change their clothes before going to the bus stop?

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  2. Tony Robbins makes my butt tingle. Not in a good way; in a "i just saw a train wreck" way. Actually, Tony Robbins audience members do that. He himself is freaking genius.

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  3. Just hopped over from over 40, and the timing for finding you could't have been more perfect as I agonize what to be when I grow up, and how to go about it somewhat gracefully!

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  4. Hi I found you on the Follow 40 thingy and you are a really fun read! I have recently started to work from home after many years working out there and it feels so weird to be here in my house all day.
    I look forward to reading more of your posts!

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  5. Dress for Success.

    Unfortunately, that's not forgettable.

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  6. I spend a lot of time trying to decide if pantyhose is in or out in business attire.

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