I'm told I need an exit strategy.
I'm told ad agencies don't need writers anymore.
I'm told there's even less need for 44 year old writers. And what do I plan to do in five years when I become 45?
There's validity to all these statements.
But the truth, the sad truth, is I haven't made any contingency plans.
I haven't started studying for my real estate license and have no interest in wasting my weekends at Open Houses entertaining lookyloos while ignoring the awful smells emanating from someone's unsellable home.
I haven't been taking classes to get a teaching credential. Nor do I have the patience to deal with witless students.
"What don't you get? Just do it the way I did. Stop asking questions. And put away the damn iPhone."
And finally, I haven't sufficiently funded my 401k plans. In retrospect I should not have sunk my money into Betamax, Netscape and a new Radio Shack franchise. Who could have predicted people would no longer need pocket transistor radios?
I suppose I'm going to have to turn my creative faculties on their head, and using nothing but my perseverance and imagination, figure my way out of this conundrum.
A buddy, a fellow copywriter, had an interesting thought. He suggested getting a full time job again. At this stage in my career it would have to be a high level position with a multi-year contract. Then, knowing how averse I am to being on staff, he suggested I drink myself into a lucrative early termination.
His plan was simple. I would drink. Not a lot at first. A cocktail or two at lunch time. Then a month into the position, I could add a mid-afternoon nip. Followed quickly by morning beers and pre-lunch Bloody Mary's. A couple of failed new business pitches and the agency would have no choice but to fire me and pay out my remaining contract.
It sounded promising, but I had seen others drink themselves into a daily stupor, only to get promoted and handed more managerial responsibility. And God knows I didn't want that.
Then he mentioned Clown Make-Up.
The idea was similar and stunningly beautiful. In my first week of steady employment, I would apply an ever-so-slight hint of clown make-up to my face. It would hardly be noticeable. Two weeks later, when my fellow employees had become accustomed to my countenance, I would ramp up the rouge, the lipstick and the eye shadow by a mere 5%. Not enough to set off any alarms, but just enough to ease the transition to the next imperceptible phase.
Week by week, my morning make up ritual would last a little longer. Until at about the 6 month mark, someone would look across the conference room table and notice the Executive Creative Director (me) was in full blown Bozo mode.
This plan is nothing short of genius. And as a bonus will provide me with hours of blogging material.
I better start freshening up my resume.
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