About twenty years ago, when the wonderful agency, Wells, Rich, Greene, had the Continental Airlines account, I had an assignment to find an account supervisor.
I met and interviewed an account person who met the job specs. His name was Ralph. He had retail; he was passionate about creative and maybe even had a little airline experience. He was nice looking, tall, well built – about six feet, maybe 190 pounds. At the end of the interview I asked him something I generally ask people I meet: Is there anything else I should know about you?
His answer was interesting. He told me he was formerly a morbidly obese person who during the past year or so had lost over 200 pounds. I told him I thought that was wonderful and sent him to Wells with no discussion about his weight. My client at WRG was a wonderful EVP named Jim Lawrence. Ralph was quickly hired and scheduled to start in two weeks.
The week prior to his start date, Jim called me and told me that an important client meeting had been scheduled for the day my candidate started. Jim did not want to have a new person walk into the room not knowing anyone on his first day. He asked me if the candidate could start the previous Friday so that he could get his paperwork finished, meet the entire team, and be able to meet the client at 10am on Monday. I arranged it.
My candidate went to Wells on Friday morning to start his first day. At about 2pm Jim called me. “We have a problem.” I couldn’t imagine what the issue could be so soon. Jim went on to say, “You know Wells, when he arrived this morning his office was not ready and so I couldn’t show him where he was going to sit. He threw his stuff in my office and off we went. Ralph spent the morning meeting and greeting everyone. We took him out to lunch. After lunch, I brought him into his office and introduced him to his officemate. Paul, he actually turned around and, right in front of the other person, looked at me and said, ‘I cannot accept this office. I must have my own space.’”
I never had a candidate before or since refuse an office.
The candidate went on to explain to Jim Lawrence that he had lost all this weight and, that as part of his therapy, he did primal screams several times a day. Jim didn’t know what a primal scream was and asked the guy about it. Right there, standing in the hallway he let out this primal shriek. It was deafening. People came out of their offices to see what was going on. Jim was completely nonplussed. That’s when he called me wanting to know what to do.
I told him to let the guy go. He lasted at wells from about 9am until 2pm. Wells paid him for the day and I found someone else.
You can’t make this stuff up.
I would love to hear other weird stories of people who didn’t last long at a company. Please send them to me so I can share with my readers.
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