Around 4pm yesterday afternoon, Peppercom employee Brendan Mullin strolled by the cube I was occupying, looked me up and down, and sighed, 'Man, do you look beaten down.'
Earlier in the afternoon, Rob Longert had glanced at me, shook his head and exclaimed, 'You're a good sport.'
But, there was little, if any, sympathy coming from 'Coach' Laura Zanzal, who would periodically poke her head in and blurt out, 'Where's the report?'
Those comments, and a ton of others, came in the midst of a maelstrom of a day in which I'd I swapped jobs with Zanzal. I became an account executive and she became a managing partner.
Coach Zanzal clearly got the better of the deal. As I was stressing over various deadlines and ducking for cover as each new request was lobbed into my inbox, Zanzal was chillin' in my office, chitchatting with friends, occasionally checking an e-mail or two and, as I normally do, disappearing for a lengthy, midday gym workout.
Being Laura Zanzal for a day is taxing, to say the least. Between the reports, the pitches and answering a media hotline, I was expected to attend impromptu meetings and help interview a would-be intern. At the same time, I needed to juggle the few things that I normally do in my regular job. The double whammy was a killer. I felt like a meth addict in need of a fix. Phones would ring, e-mails would pile up, IM's would burst onto my computer screen like fireworks on the Fourth of July and people like Sam Ford and the ubiquitous Stein would ask me to review memos before they saw the light of day. Phew!
Coach Zanzal and her posse were hoping I'd join them for a post swap, celebratory drink. But, by 5:30pm, I was completely spent, looking like something the cat had dragged in.
Still, I'm glad I did it. While I've always respected what's expected of account executives, I needed to be reminded how relentless their work lives are.
Every CEO of every PR firm, large or small, should swap jobs for a day. It's simultaneously enlightening and exhausting. And, it will open one's eyes to what life is like in the trenches circa 2009.
Oh, and by the way, the employee who conspired to 'prank' me by pretending to be an irate consumer calling on the media hot line will pay dearly. Retribution will be swift and severe.