Today's post is by Peppercomer Ray Carroll.
First, I was brought on for resembling Brendan, and then hired fulltime as receptionist for projecting courtesy and hospitality. Never would I’ve thought I’d receive an offer to be managing partner in my first year with the agency! Although short-lived, my coup of the corner office was just as enlightening as it was rewarding.
The front desk can be merciless, offering myriad tasks. At other times it is placid. There, I assist on many levels and have become facilitator in certain respects. While I meet and greet clients, I rarely see our executives orchestrating their business.
The idea of job swaps isn’t original, but a CEO trading places with a receptionist is new to me. And, better yet, I was happy to be involved. Following the trail blazed by erstwhile (couldn’t resist it) Peppercomers, I was anxious for my chance to overtake the reins as CEO. The opportunity would provide insight into business beyond the lobby threshold.
Steve and I began this experience coincidently meeting outside our office building. We rode the elevator together on route to conquer new domains. Arriving on our floor, I bypassed my usual tasks and, was already convinced I had the better half of the arrangement.
Sprinting past the reception desk, I made a beeline for the boss’s office. I relished my own space that boasted a huge desk, comfy couch, and Park Avenue view. More impressive, I had an elite personal assistant at my beck-and-call.
My morning agenda, at this point, seemed light and things were quiet. I’d conclude an agency can’t evolve or prosper with a CEO sitting complacently at their desk. My expectations became self-imposed, and I’d devise a few plans. I questioned just how much I’d get away with in my new role.
I balked at tyranny, and I mulled over pranks and abuses of power that could’ve potentially jeopardized my returning the next day. Choosing wisely, I gave Dandy an abridged version of my executive requests. She politely rejected each one of my highfalutin ideas, and casually redirected my enthusiasm towards conference calls and caucuses.
Confident in my new role, I summoned Peppercom’s president, Ted Birkhahn, into my office. We discussed service trends and economic forces hindering top quality production from low-level positions. Surprisingly, Ted dismissed my notion to double our receptionist’s salary. We considered the relevance of job rotation, as well as potential benefits from swapping jobs with clients. Staying true to impersonation, I tried convincing Ted to take part in a job swap of his own.
Being part of Peppercom for nearly a year, it’s clear to me that leadership is a value shared both founders. So, I next brought individuals into my office to speak about their professional development. We’d address account work, stressors, as well as experiences from the past year and future aspirations. I also managed to finagle my way into a possible RepMan podcast with Paul Merchan.
Time was flying by and my afternoon was booked solid, so with a break coming up, I hit the gym. I had my choice of equipment, so I jumped on a treadmill with a street view following it up with circuit training. I took note: physical wellness and mental prosperity go hand-in-hand. It’d been too long since I’d last been to a gym, so, Steve, my heart and lungs thank you.
I returned to the office and had lunch waiting; excellent timing before a few meetings. By now I was ready to delve into what really makes Peppercom tick. For the afternoon, Dandy had included me in every pertinent meeting, so now I’d witnessed the lifeblood of our company.
Various teams of executives shuffled into my office with their expertise in tow. We’d review client updates, plan outlines, and media strategy. I saw our progress-tracking Harte chart, and joined in discussing technique to maximize capability within a scope of work. I also joined a publicity team meeting, discussed leverage and positioning initiatives, and joined client conference calls.
I found the job-swap to be an extremely eye opening experience. I feel inspired and rejuvenated both mentally and physically. While my current gig pays a few bills, I’ll strive for the caliber of job I held that day. It’s tough passing up the rewards that wait as a direct result of your own dedicated efforts and success. Mr. Cody: Thank You for the opportunity!
** My one regret: At my helm, our company’s image may have taken a direct hit. Mismanagement of an entry-level position, by yours truly, will now prevent Andrea from ever referring us.