Lessons from the Most Interesting Summer Jobs at the Bateman Group – Part 2
In Part 1, we learned about the takeaways one could derive from working at a café, a summer camp, a haughty swim club and a Ryder Inc. rental center. Part 2 will focus on the men of the Bateman Group – Christmas calendar coming soon.
This is Part 2 of 3 profiling the most interesting summer jobs of the Bateman Group inspired by the AdAge article “Guess Which Adman Used to Be the Kool-Aid Man.”
CEO and Founder
Job: Wendy’s Food Server
Lesson Learned: Get the support of your peers
I worked for about three months at a Wendy’s very close to where I grew up in Revere, Massachusetts, a city located just five miles from Downtown Boston and adjacent to Logan Airport. Revere does not enjoy the best reputation and never has. Its inhabitants are best known for being working class, of Italian-American descent (with a smattering of Irish, like my family) and for having very strong Boston accents. Emotions in Revere tend to run high about, well, just about everything.
Revere could be a scary place to grow up – especially if you failed to recognize who sat atop the social hierarchy. It wasn’t the monosyllabic, steroid-filled meatheads who had abs in the third grade and could barely squeeze their enormous frames in their new Chevy IROC Camaros. Not even close. In Revere, it was the girls everyone feared.
Against this colorful backdrop, my summer job at Wendy’s began on a good note. Once the manager realized I could do rudimentary math in my head and could speak to customers in full sentences, I was quickly moved off the food assembly line and on to the cash register full time. This move by the manager; however, did not make me popular with my co-workers, which included four of the toughest, most notoriously violent girls in town – Stacy, Heidi, Kim and her sister Antoinette.
Just how tough were they? Well, one time Heidi and Kim had a falling out over a guy. Kim “flipped the bird” to Heidi while driving by the restaurant in the passenger seat of the guy’s new IROC Camaro convertible. Heidi, never one to tolerate such a show of disrespect, exacted her revenge by dragging her now former friend Kim into Wendy’s the following night (literally by her hair) and breaking her middle finger in front of all of us. Snap! It was the first and only time I’ve heard the sound of breaking bone.
So, needless to say, it was critical I repair my relationship with these girls and fast. The manager wasn’t helping matters as he continued to give me special treatment, including more flexible shifts. To keep in the girls’ good graces, I would often volunteer to take the trash out even when it wasn’t my turn as well as cover shifts for the girls when emergencies arose – which was frequent. I can’t say we become close friends, but I learned that while it’s important to impress the boss, you also need the support of your peers to actually get the job done and be successful. That, and having all ten digits in working order at the end of the day is an added bonus.
Senior Vice President
Lesson Learned: It’s all in the prep work
The summer after I graduated from college, several friends and I started a house painting business to save up enough money to move out of our parents’ houses and venture off into the real world. While I gained a lot of valuable lessons from the business side of this experience – like managing teams, budget forecasting and client service – my biggest take away came from a cardinal rule of the manual labor. It all comes down to the quality of your prep work.
In house painting, prep work is the less glamorous part of the job, including scraping, sanding, priming and caulking. It’s everything you do before the painting begins, and if you want your paint job to stick for many years over – the prep needs to be flawless. Taking shortcuts on prep means a quicker path to seeing that shiny newly painted house. Unfortunately, it also means the paint will prematurely peal off within a year or two. Quality prep and planning is the foundation of any successful communications program. If the message isn’t well crafted or targeted to the most appropriate audience, then the results will always suffer.
Lesson Learned: Missed details can detract from a stellar job
Bill and I actually listed the same job, the same lesson learned and basically the same narrative, so here’s a different take on the thrilling life of a painter. During the summer after my sophomore year of high school, one of my crew coaches offered me a job to work with him as a painter. He was willing to pay me $9 an hour (San Francisco minimum wage was around $5.75 at the time), and the work was consistent. I thought why not, painting can’t be that hard.
I did everything from landscaping to carpentry to painting, and when it came to the actual painting, it really wasn’t that hard. But like Bill, I soon found out that meticulous prep work was the key to doing a good job, and to go one step further, it was the cleanup that ultimately determined client satisfaction. I could’ve painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, but if I left specks of paint on the window and caulk on the floor the client would remember the lack of cleanup, as opposed to the amazing job that I did overall. Paying attention to details applies to every aspect of business, and I’m sure everyone can remember a time when a senior level executive walked away remembering a typo in an email that you sent, instead of the amazing results that your project yielded.
Side note: I would’ve done the gold leafing in Sharon Stone’s house if I didn’t have to quit for water polo pre-season. She has a pretty awesome pad in Sea Cliff.
Gentleman of Leisure/Official Office Dog
Job: On-command Recycler
Lesson Learned: A life of leisure is good, but a life of purpose is great
This is my second summer spent as the Official Office Dog of the Bateman Group. In that time, I’ve made friends with the mailmen (except the one whose wedding ring I ate!), splayed my manly belly on every inch of the office and have tasted just about everyone’s used tissues, much to my Dad’s dismay.
But lately, I’ve really been applying myself. You see, the Bateman Group works with a great company called Recyclebank, and while it may be fun as hell to tear up paper and leave it splattered across the agency’s carpets, it’s neither nice nor sustainable! So this summer, I’ve been working on living greener and doing my part to make the world a better place.
But don’t just take my word for it, humanoids. Look at me in action!