A fellow Etsy Trashion Team member, Panoptica, posted a writing challenge on their blog. Here is my entry:
She sat at her desk and surveyed the office. It used to be such a fun, lively place to come to work each day. As jobs went, it was a great fit and didn’t really seem like work at all. It seemed more like going to visit with your friends or family each day. They were a tight knit group and had worked on many campaigns together, often into the wee hours of the morning until they’d completed that one, perfect final touch on a print ad or the final edit of a broadcast spot met their high standards. They worked hard, but played hard too. Any one of them could tell a number of stories about office antics. Most of them, however, would probably involve the prankster. Every agency has at least one.
She used to pull a prank each day. They were usually something small, like rearranging a few items on a coworkers desk, or moving the extra paper for the copier. Sometimes she would simply use a repetitive word over the course of a day or follow a coworker around until they noticed and asked her about it. Occasionally, they were a bit more grandiose. One day, while a coworker was away on vacation, a brilliant flash of inspiration struck and she recruited the entire creative team. They all moved the entire work station out into the middle of the common area in the office and set it up exactly as it had been inside the cubicle and then proceeded to cover every surface with bubble wrap. Everyone in the office enjoyed the joke immensely, with the exception of the office manager who expressed great concern over the waste of office supplies and the cost of replacing the bubble wrap. Apparently, the lost billable hours never factored into her equation. The creative team assured her that the bubble wrap would be returned once their victim witnessed their glorious handiwork. This all continued, to the amusement of most of the office, until the dreaded day when she, in a lapse of judgement, messed with kitchen. She thought it would be funny to hide the coffee pots. Creative types don’t always do well without their caffeine, nor do they find much humor in being deprived of it. The receptionist, as part of her morning routine, went in to unload the kitchen, and start a pot of coffee when she suddenly realized that the coffee pots were missing and her mind started racing. Surely, there must have been a thief in the office overnight, but why would they have stolen the coffee pots? What else was stolen? After great turmoil ensued and every employee in the office spent their morning trying to find the missing coffee pots, the prankster produced them from a drawer in her desk. The fallout was so great that she never dared to prank again, at least not in the office.
Now, they would all love to return to the days of the prankster, as the era had come to be known amongst the office lore. Instead, the bottom dropped out of the stock market and hit most of their clients. The clients all reacted as one would expect – they cut their advertising budgets and any other costs deemed to be luxuries. Now, with an operating budget that relied entirely upon client revenues, they were all faced with Christmas bringing the closing of their doors. Some agencies might start the new year with a reduced staff, but for the smaller, more specialized agencies, they will never write another catchy headline, nor copy designed to convince you that your life is incomplete without their client’s product. Some may cheer at the thought, but the ads many find so annoying help drive the economy. If you listen closely, on Christmas Eve, you may hear a collective thud in most major cities in the United States as each of these agencies close their doors sending many new faces to the unemployment line. Most of them have families, some are even the primary wage earners, and now, they’ll no longer have any income. The Christmas bells ringing sounds like peals of laughter, their tone seems a bit lower this year as they all go their separate ways and each mourn the loss in their own way. The Christmas bells toll, “an agency has died.”