Woody Allen once said: "80 percent of any job is showing up." Simple concept. But not to a fellow copywriter who thought he had the entire agency fooled.
Here was his move. He would stroll into the office around ten o'clock. Get his coffee. Read the L.A. Times for an hour and then, here's the genius of the fool, he would light a cigarette (yes, folks, there was a time where you could smoke in your office) lay it in the ashtray, take off his jacket, hang it on the back of his chair and go to lunch for 2 hours.
I can't tell you how many times I would hear people say: "Oh, he's here. He has a cigarette lit and his jacket is still here." Not even close. He was on his second Manhattan and finishing his appetizer. This went on for months.
Finally, someone decided to wait in his office for his return. Nada. He didn't show so the account person called in another copywriter and they finished the job. Rather well, I might add.
Our invisible man was taken off that account. Not biggie. It was a huge agency so he floated for another few months.
A new business pitch was put into motion. It was, and I know this isn't Politically Incorrect. a gang bang. Everyone in the Creative department with an ass was put on the pitch. Vacations were cancelled. You know the drill. All hands, and asses, on deck. Except for our missing link.
It didn't seem like a big deal at the time because the sound and fury of a pitch coupled with the frenzy of business as usual deadlines, blinds most people. Operative words: most people.
One night, around 2 a.m., someone had the nerve to ask where Casper the Friendly Copywriter was and the bulb went off. The CCO, Deputy CCO (yeah, that was the real title) and every ACD on the floor looked at each other in sheer amazement. He had skated through the entire pitch without being missed.
Some people might actually applaud his actions in an envious, sad acknowledgement of getting one over on the "management" But the reality was he was never given another assignment and a month later he was sent packing. Surprisingly, some people were shocked. Of course, they didn't work with him on a day to day, or in his case, an hour a day to an hour a day. Even more surprisingly, he was surprised. How could they do this? He'd been there for 10 years. Yes. 10 years of dodging, avoiding, and just plain stealing money from the agency.
In the end, his absence was his undoing because when they wanted to give out an assignment, he wasn't there. In theory, he was avoiding being in the office. It wasn't as if he wasn't doing work. He fumbled his way through assignments. But on his way, he pissed off every Art Director he worked with and had junior account people in tears.
I don't think he ever worked full-time at another agency after that. Sure, maybe he got another job. But he never really worked full-time...you get it
You have to show up. Period. Do your job. Be a team player. To some, this might seem "old school" thinking. I like to think of it as "old school" banking.