April 4: Acne & Axe
|" Several television stations have ‘reality shows” about businesses, is the business/career you have/had "reality show” worthy. Why or why not? What would be the name of the show? If you don't work choose somebody you know and their business/career."
I will present a job I had several years ago that would make a perfect reality show. At the time I was an independent consultant working by and for myself. A friend (much younger than I am) from my masters program asked me to consider joining the company he was with as a project manager. I met with the owner of the company strictly as a favor to my friend.
The owner was this highly technical, young gun who I really liked. He was eclectic, undeniably fair and a little naive. The company sold a CMS and services. They were small but had incredible potential and the right attitude. They could not afford my salary requirements, but I had already fallen for this group and had to accept. I took a position paying 1/4 of my normal rate with no benefits. I considered it a labor of love.
First day I entered the office and met the team. The first floor of the building was empty and in severe need of repairs. The "offices" were on the second floor. It was a giant room, with a few desks, great ceiling to floor windows and a complete sound system set up in the corner. A small bathroom was there but seemed a little scary to use.
Meeting the boys was an experience. Picture this: 6 men, 5 under the age of 23. All wearing jeans, some type of a black t-shirt usually with a graphic artist rendition or band logo on it, and flip flops for those who actually wore shoes. They were the sweetest boys but let's face it I was like a den mother. I show up in a black pin stripe designer suit, my standard 4 in heels, diamond stud earrings and a brief case. The team was so young and so full of testosterone that I referred to my work place as "Acne and Axe".
These boys were hysterical. We had the heavy metal guitar player with long hair, piles of graphic novels on his desk and a vocabulary full of four letter words. We had the young rebel with no confidence whatsoever...a giant tattoo across his chest and arm, an asymmetrical haircut and feet consistently housed in Doc Marteen boots. We had the quiet, skinny kid with multiple piercings and three laptops humming away at all times. We had the easy going guy who didn't own a car (I picked him up for work on a regular basis to make sure he could get in) but never, ever stopped smiling. These boys could code! Some of the best web development skills I had ever seen.
Besides developing and supporting international, multimillion dollar websites from this less than respectable office, we had fun. We would listen to and argue over the music screaming from Pandora. At one point they set up the sound system to cue the song "You're beautiful" when I walked into work in the morning.
Whenever someone did something that made me laugh or made the team more successful, I would buy them all breakfast sandwiches - this happened a couple times a week. We even had cook offs, where my friend and I would each bring in competing dish (macaroni and cheese, chili, etc) and the boys would blinding vote whose was the best. I really liked this idea because I was afraid my boys were not always eating well, not too mention I liked buying lunch when I new they were out of cash or hung over.
One day after work they told me I had to "scratch". I had no idea what they were talking about. They presented me with a black hoodie and instructed me to put it on, hood and all. Then they took me to the turn tables to teach me how to "scratch". It was hysterical.
We all decided to take up racquetball. The boys were incredible (of course, all young and strong) and I was horrific. But I had a terrific workout and they were so encouraging. They also snowboarded and biked.
I dispensed life advice about money matters, girlfriends, health care and career. They showed me to get great food at 3 am and how to lighten up.
The time came when it was time for me to leave. I had done all I could for the company and I was ready to go back to real work with real money. I hated leaving them and still stop by with cookies when I am in the neighborhood.
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