YOU ARE NOT THE SHIT. NOT BY A LONG SHOT.
I’m listening to Kanye West’s Late Registration. The man might be a bit extra with his leather skirts and stage rants but he is one hell of a talented rapper/producer/official bonker of Kim K (for now?).
It’s about 10.30pm and I’ve been on my laptop for the last three hours pretending to work, when really all I’ve done is read a fantastic article on Elite Daily about why people who work late (like me) are kinda sorta geniuses, what’s going on in Pakistan with the Taliban and their execution of innocent kids, and that American guy who’s just been released from a Cuban prison and all he wants is a good scotch and a cigar. I’ve also read quite a bit of rubbish on Necole Bitchie and Daily Mail. But I shut those down when I realized their stories were not premium pop culture gossip so I can’t claim that time as “research.”
Anyway, care to know what I wanted to work on? Alright – and I say this at the risk of being a big, fat PR cliché – I was supposed to work on a press release. Yes, a press release. Or rather, the 8th version of one press release. Not 1st, 2nd or 3rd. No, EIGHTH! Yeah. And it’s not even a press release for a listed company that could lose stock value if I don’t get it right.
I sat in a meeting today and for the first time since I started writing press releases, I had everything I had put into a release torn apart. I mean massacred (is that an insensitive word nowadays?), and then some! I swear I had an out of body experience listening as the client ravaged it mercilessly, like a thirsty guy who you once lengad would tear through you if you given the chance. No passion there. Just a desperate anger to take, take, take and give you nothing but hurt back.
In this surreal experience, I was floating above the client, watching myself watch the whole tirade unfold with a look of utter disbelief on my face, my eyes darting from my laptop to client’s face to the rest of the team. I saw myself licking my lips to get rid of the dryness that was building up as a result of frustration and anger; adjusting my skirt for no other reason that to keep my hands busy, and smiling slightly at the realisation that I was stuck in a ridiculous situation.
Today I was told – in short – that I am not the shit. I was told that I have never been the shit and never will be, and that I should stop deluding myself because I really am not the shit. And the client is.
I was told that my years as a journalist who read press releases, discarded many and allowed many others to see the light of day on hundreds of thousands of screens across this country meant nothing. I was told that Client knows best and if only Client were not so busy, then Client would do the work and not have to rely on me to do it.
I – and that brain I’ve always thought was at least above average – was told to sit in a corner, shut up and just let Client do it because obviously I cannot even begin to grasp the indescribable fantastic-ness that is Client’s business.
And I’m cool with that; I really am. I have no illusions of grandeur. I’m just a humble chick who likes to write and wear pretty shoes.
OK I’m lying. I’m not cool with that. I’m pissed AF and I want to hurt the person who created the press release. I have never bought into my own hype – ergo the not giving a rat’s ass about not being the shit – but I’m so over that whole press release obsession, my gaad! Seriously, it’s like there was a client convention somewhere and they were told that the press release is some freaking magic wand that will get everyone interested in them and help them sell more! Jesus! How the hell am I supposed to make a release “super interesting”?!
OK I get it. This is really important to the client. If I do not get it right their entire universe could come crashing down on them and Chief Vitalstatistix’s (have you never read Asterix?) worst fears will have come true.
So you know what, since I value my clients deeply and I obviously need to learn how to write a press release, I’ll start by practicing. Watch out for some press releases here and if you have tips, do be a darling and share them. I will be forever indebted to you.
@bikozulu, challenge accepted.