The Dan Files
January 2003 was a really tough time for me.
The previous June, I was let go from my first ad agency job. “No problem, I thought. I’m talented. I’ll get another job in no time.“
I thought very, very wrong.
Six months later, I had no money or prospects of making any. My EI had run out. And I developed a nasty case of insomnia. After about two weeks of sleeplessness, when the delirium had sufficiently set in, I got the brilliant idea to show up at Roche — THE hotshot agency at the time — at 7:30 in the morning and park myself in their waiting room until someone saw me.
On Thursday, January 30th, after being alone with my negative thoughts for 240 hours, that’s what I did.
Roche’s waiting room was a white and blue room with two chairs, a couch and a telephone in the middle. It also had a glass wall that faced out into the hallway. Perfect, no one’ll notice the bags under my eyes and the desperation in my posture.
I picked up the phone. “Good morning,” the voice said. “Who are you here to see?”
This was my moment.
“I’m a young copywriter looking for work,” I said. “I’ll see anyone who’ll see me.”
“Ok. Have a seat.”
Seriously? That worked? Had the delirium finally morphed into hallucinations? Nope. This was happening. Geoffrey Roche was going to come see me. He was going to look at my book and hire me on the spot. And I was going to learn from the best in the game. Amazing.
But wait…I hadn’t slept in two weeks. Did I look it? Was my first impression going to be an unkept, exhausted desperate failure? Shit. This was my one chance. Fuck. Mr. Roche is going to take one look at me, laugh in my face and kick me out.
No problem. People are busy. Meetings. Brainstorms. I remember those. All good. Feeling better. Maybe I’ll take a quick nap? No. Don’t do that.
“I’m really getting sick of playing snake on my phone. I wish I could, like, go on the Internet or something. That’d be cool.”
“Maybe I should leave? This was stupid. Who does this? Who do I think I am? Just show up like this? The chutzpah!”
“That’s it…it’s enough already. I’m leaving. This was a waste of time.
11:45. A man walks into the room.
“I’m Jim. Come on in.”
Jim was Jim Diorio, a senior copywriter. He took me into his office. He looked at my book. He told me what he liked and what he didn’t. He gave me advice. We met for a good 25 minutes. Nothing came of it, but that wasn’t the point. He met with me.
The world needs more Jim Diorios.