Unfortunately true story: Producer’s pain at putting up with Client from Hell.
August 15, 2012
Recently, I wrote about assholes in the workplace and all the trouble they cause. Shortly thereafter a good friend and peer sent me the following transcript. The writer is a person of integrity and an all-around good soul. The author asked that I publish it as a mea culpa. I don’t know if he needs to own that burden. Or if publishing it will do any good. But I certainly feel the pain in his words. Sometimes a forum helps. I hope so…
I understand that this may not be the forum for this but it figures greatly in the business we are in…
I own a small production company with several talented directors. On the merits of one of our directors we landed a large job for a large client from a small agency that is associated with a larger agency. Prior to accepting the assignment our head of production, my employee, and I discussed the fact that the head of this smaller agency had the reputation as being verbally abusive, and history had shown that the bigger the job, money wise, the more he felt licensed to be abusive.
We have worked with the screamers; albeit ten years ago and very seldom were they from the agency side, and decided we could weather the storm. Two plus months have passed and the production has been successful, but the verbal abuse started from day one and although tedious we had gotten past it.
Until last Monday night.
Last Monday night our head of production was in a restaurant with the agency client and his agency producer. As the night wore on his insults commenced and suddenly in a fit of rage, he struck my employee. What the outcome of this very sad night will be in the hands of my employee and her husband.
The point of my story is that let’s face it; the money motivated us. As an employer I put not only my assaulted employee in harms way, but also every one of my employees. I have been producing commercials for nearly 30 years and still at this point there are lessons to be learned. Not all the money in the world was worth the pain, humiliation and anger that my employee and her family was forced to endure. And not all the money in the world is worth the guilt and stupidity I feel today.
And I thought shit like this only happened on Mad Men. (Story published word for word)