Friday, June 25, 2010

The Intern You Abuse Today Could Be Your Potential Big Client Tomorrow

Yesterday I had tea with a friend and former colleague. It was nice being able to sit and chat for a's been too long.

Anyhoo, my meeting with her reminded me of a life lesson that we sometimes forget - it's a small world and the intern you treat badly today could be a decision-maker/influencer for an account you want tomorrow.

Our story is, we met when she was still freshly minted from varsity, doing her first journalism job. I was an old horse that had been around the tracks a little more than I liked, and could offer some help and support . We liked each other as colleagues, but there was no mileage to be had for helping her. Except for the fact that, it's the "human" thing to do [Botho in my language Setswana; popularly known as Ubuntu].

And as she moved from journalism to PR and moved up the ranks and agencies, we occassionally chatted on IM, and if she asked for assistance, and "I knew a guy who knew a guy," I was happy to share knowledge and contacts.

As you know, I have recently landed an assignment for corporate client and I suspect it was entirely through her that I was invited to do the job. I know my main liaison there, from back in my fulltime journalism days.

But I find it hard to believe that I was the first person she thought of when she needed a writer. Mostly likely, my old colleague/friend reminded the liaison of my existence and suggested they hire me. And if I'd treated my friend badly when we worked together, I imagine she'd have kept her mouth shut while they sat in a planning meeting, wondering which writer they could hire for the project. Or worse, she could have vetoed my name if it eventually came up. Makes you think, doesn't it?

Anyhoo, today I'm planning to have lunch at my house with Zukiswa Wanner, she who recently launched her third novel Men Of The South, and has also written The Madams (2006) and Behind Every Successful Man (2008).

I'm currently reading her Men Of The South and it's not a the kind of book I'm used to. But I am enjoying it very much.

There's a combination of laughter and that sense of recognition of places and characters because they are going through something similar that I've gone through/someone I know went through. And Zuki's take on the political and social landscape (set in South Africa), as well as human nature, is also unique and interesting. I haven't finished Men of the South yet, but can truthfully say, if you're looking for a new-to-you author, get this book.

After lunch with Zuki, I'm going to spend the afternoon reading source material for client work. The corporate client has finally sent me the source material that I'm going to use to write the content. And basically, the job boils down to 17 printed product brochures and related content for the web site and intranet site.

The client says the information is in English, but that's just a technicality. I say it's mostly written in Geek. My job is going to be to read the stuff, make sense of it, ask questions that a corporate decision-maker would ask without getting bogged down with irrelevant technical jargon and then write the whole thing up in real English.


tiah said...

I really want to read Zuki. I'll spare you what the librarian said to me when I requested one of her books.


Me thinks I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and buy a copy.

Ordinarylife said...

I agree, it is pretty much the same as "never burn your bridges". You never know when or where that person might work or who they know.

Damaria Senne said...

@Tiah - Now you got me curious about what the librarian said, but I realise you can't say it in a public forum. Ho hum!

tiah said...

Sorry, wasn't trying to be coy. It was simply how sad it all is. I'm bad with names. So when I asked for a book search I gave the title. As soon as the book was located on the Cape system the librarian was convinced that the computer pulled up the wrong book - "But this is an African author."

It all became rather awkward.

To sum up the strange story, turns out that while the book is on order, it isn't on the shelves yet.

Damaria Senne said...

What's wrong with African authors:-)

I wonder when it's going to hit the library shelves.

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