Sometimes I wonder how I ended up here…working late in my career at an agency that has a staff made up of mostly interns attending college or recent graduates.
So naturally, you can imagine I work in Millennial hell. (I will write more about my disdain for Millennial attitudes and work habits in later posts, but I will only make a passing comment on it for this post).
Being a veteran of the business and much older than these interns, you can imagine that I didn’t have a lot in common with them, to begin with.
However, I am a firm believer that you shouldn’t use the word TEAMWORK if you truly don’t have an understanding of its meaning in a workplace environment. Cliquish, high school behavior should be avoided and is anathema to building a supportive team culture. Unfortunately, many of the Millennials I have worked with have no concept of this and exhibit rude, standoffish behavior like they are still in high school or in a college fraternity.
And yes…sadly ageism is alive and well in the public relations industry, too. But more on that later.
This blog post will focus on an idiotic co-worker I will call Lydia. She is a 24-year-old recent graduate from a local southern California college. Lydia started out as an intern but was later hired by the agency as a graphic artist. My boss, who actually is pretty cool as far PR bosses go, but that is not saying much, thinks Lydia walks on water. However, I constantly find errors in her work for websites and campaign pages. She hates when I point it out.
I think real reason my boss likes Lydia is that he can get her cheap as she is just out of college rather than having to pay more for an experienced person, who is more professional. My boss is cheap, which I won’t dwell on too much in this blog, but even he is not the cheapest person I have worked for in public relations. I’ll explore that more in future blogs about how hard it truly is to make money in the public relations business.
Lydia is a short, chubby Latina woman with a strange, round face, bad teeth, stringy red hair, who thinks she is the shit. She is not. She also speaks very quickly (uses definitely a lot) and even mispronounces words in client meetings. It can get embarrassing at times.
Lydia also is shallow and constantly laughs (more of a high-pitched cackle to be honest) at jokes and videos on the internet and comments from her colleagues Norman and Alireza, who are not funny at all.
Norman is the bosses’ son, who I call Code Boy, as he creates websites for our agency. He is in his thirties, tall with short hair, a goatee, and an odd, arrogant and unfriendly demeanor. He wears pilot shades while in the office and thinks he is so cool. He is not. However, his own father warned me during a trade show trip that Norman could be a cold person and not to take it personally. Actually, I think he is two-faced and creepy, and I remember when I joined the agency, Code Boy didn’t talk to me for several weeks.
Even worse, Code Boy actually thinks he knows more about public relations than I do and he critiques my emails to clients at times, and even my press releases, although he knows nothing about PR. One time when I went to a Dodger game, soon after I joined the firm, he tried to get an inappropriate media pitch for a military client pushed through my department without my approval. I stopped that immediately and spoke with his father and he never tried that bullshit again. Now, during our conversations, usually, after everyone has gone home, I notice Norman looking for every little mistake or sign of weakness I show to share with Lydia and the rest of team to mock me behind my back. So I am much more careful what I say around Code Boy now.
Lydia’s other compadre is Alireza, a scrawny creep with a beard who joined the agency as a graphic artist a few months ago. I have never exchanged more than a few words with this fool, but he has always been unfriendly toward me.
How can you hate someone you don’t even know?
I can only think it is because of what I call Lydia’s “poison.” Her hatred of me has always been there since I joined the agency and didn’t want to engage in dumb small talk with her. But two other factors, a dumb social media millennial fool who used to work at our agency who also despised me, and something I will call THE BRAZILIAN INCIDENT, also turned Lydia against me. I will explore these subjects in later blogs.
So, at the end of each week, Lydia will walk around and invite all the Millennial workers in the office to what she calls a “team lunch.” (Norman is the only one invited that is not a young Millennial out of school, but he is the boss’ son after all).
Lydia does this right in front of me, knowing I can hear her do it. It is a form of shunning me, but I have come to believe it is much worse. Lydia calls her lunch backstabbing sessions “team lunches” but since she doesn’t invite everyone on the team, it can’t be a team lunch. Lydia has no idea how high school and dumb that is.
I used to think nothing about it and figured they were all young and wanted to talk about school and other trivial matters Millennials love.
However, I soon came to believe Lydia’s “team lunches” had a much more sinister purpose toward me and were doing serious damage to collaboration and so-called teamwork in our agency. She used these lunches to bash me and my PR work at our agency yet she also knows nothing about public relations. I began to notice this when Lydia started inviting interns that worked on my PR team to her lunches. Before they went to lunches with Lydia, the interns that worked for me were supportive and respectful. They were eager to learn. After Lydia’s lunches, they became unfriendly and even disrespectful and unprofessional at times. The female interns’ reactions were even worse. They became wary of me as if I was going to hit on them or to do something inappropriate, which would never be the case. A future blog about the BRAZILIAN INCIDENT will make this nightmare more clear.
Even Louis, who works for me and I will call MBA boy, (and will write about more in a future post), has also been poisoned by Lydia’s lunches. His attitude used to be much more respectful and supportive but has turned unfriendly and questioning in recent months.
I know I am not imagining things as I was reminded of again recently when we had three new interns join our agency, and they were all friendly toward me until they went to lunch with Lydia. Now the new interns are unfriendly, ignore me and are even borderline hostile toward me. And they don’t even know me. I can only imagine all the horrible things Lydia is saying behind my back. It has been hard to deal with at times as I already hate my job, but I have grown to hate this creepy Millennial agency culture even more.
It has come to the point where I don’t even bother to befriend new people who join our agency as I know they will soon be poisoned by Lydia against me. I have seen it happen so many times over the past year.
And women say they are not vindictive.
It is a sad fact I have to face — I have no allies here except for my boss. I’ve had allies in the past at other agencies, but not here.
I am feeling isolated and left out a lot during most of my work days. There is no real sense of team at our agency. Although everyone here pretends differently.
I just want to work with cool and supportive people and make more money.
Is that too much to ask for?