This post is dedicated to every Brouillard alumnus who suffers the same type of PTSD.
Do you have a recurring nightmare? I do, and it's something special.
The plot's always the same, although the characters sometimes change. Here's the gist:
For god knows what reason, I've decided to sell my equity stake in Peppercom and return to my previous position as president of Brouillard Communications (a now defunct conflict brand within J. Walter Thompson which, in turn, is one of the 6,963 agencies owned by WPP Group).
Anyway, the nightmare begins with my sitting at a Brouillard conference table staring into the lifeless eyes of the bete noir of my professional career, Brouillard CEO James H. Foster.
As was the case 16 years ago, Foster is sitting with his arms crossed and a sadistic smirk on his face. Suddenly, he laughs out loud and sneers, “Irene (the equally sadistic CFO) and I knew you'd be back, Cody. You simply lack the intellectual rigor to run an agency.”
Foster was very big on the term intellectual rigor, and the lack thereof. He'd often tell me to fire someone simply because they lacked intellectual rigor. When I'd press him for details, he'd stop in his tracks and sigh, “The words speak for themselves.”
Back to the dream. Badly shaken, I quickly excuse myself from the conference room and ask my secretary (whose name escapes me) to get my erstwhile Peppercom business partner, Ed Moed, on the phone. I need to speak with Ed ASAP and beg him to take me back.
But, my secretary always returns with the same message: “Ed's assistant, someone named Dandy, keeps saying he's in a meeting and can't be disturbed.”
That's when I wake up in a cold sweat, look around and thank my lucky stars that the dream was just a dream.
So, I'd like to ask every armchair psychologist near and far to tell me what the nightmare means. I'd be especially interested in any interpretations that also include image and reputation angles. Here's mine:
The dream is my mind's way of telling me to never grow too content with the successes I've experienced at Peppercom.
Because, if I do, I just may end up in another thankless job at another nameless holding company subsidiary. And, if I did, I'd most certainly channel Bob Dylan and wail, “Oh momma, can this really be the end? To be stuck inside of Brouillard (or any of the scores of other large and impersonal agencies) with the Peppercom blues again.”
Beautiful Bob. My favorite quote was Jim’s initial reaction to Ed. He pulled me aside and whispered in my ear, ‘I don’t know what to make of Ed. He’s a bit of a renegade.’ Prescient, to say the least.
My fondest quote from Mr. Foster was when I told him I was getting married: “Marriage? Well that’ll f*ck you up.”