I recently received a postcard in the mail. It was from a former employer.
Basically, it was your average, run-of-the-mill postcard. It wasn’t fancy. And, it almost got pitched in the trash.
However…I decided to keep it and glance at it occasionally…for whenever I need a really good chuckle.

Here’s what the postcard said…copied in it’s entirety…

You don’t work for us anymore but we still want to pay you.

$3000

How to make $3,000 for a few minutes work.

If you think about it just a little, you could probably come up with someone you know who’s a hard-working, detail-oriented, experienced professional working in digital.

Give us the name and if we hire them, we’ll thank you with $3,000 (less taxes).

Te@m Detr0it

Te@m Detr0it Logo

(And, on the reverse side.)

Who Are We?

You used to work with us. But now we’re called Te@m Detr0it. The Motor City’s best agencies combined to form a creative powerhouse.

We’re growing.

We need people.

So if you think of someone we could use, send an email to:

human.res0urces@teamdetr0it.com to request a referral form.

It’s the easiest $3,000 you’ll ever make.

Te@m Detr0it

Te@m Detr0it Logo

(postage and my address)

This postcard is funny for a whole lotta reasons. Who better than an ad agency to send out a piece of worthless junk mail in a feeble attempt to solicit business…or in this case, troll for suckers? They must have gotten a discount on the printing.

Frankly, I was glad they included the “who are we” description on the card, because the agency I worked for was definitely NOT called Te@m Detr0it. I would never have been able to figure out who Te@m Detr0it was supposed to be, if not for the explanation. The agency I worked for instead carried the name of one the original advertising greats…a man who understood what clients needed and started an agency more than a hundred years ago…a man who probably rolled over in his grave when the agency that became his legacy was sold to a public company only interested in collecting and holding as many agencies as possible…a man whose picture was hung in every one of the more than 100 offices worldwide that carried his name…and a man whose name was synonymous with intelligent agency work. Te@m Detr0it (obviously I’m adjusting the name here to discourage casual searches and ridiculous litigation) is a dumb name for an agency.

I didn’t leave “The Agency Now Known As Te@M Detr0it” because of money. (Money was not even in the top five of considerations when I made that change. This was a fact that stunned my former superiors, but is a tale for another time.) This is not to say that it is wrong to consider money when changing jobs. Rather, for me at the time, money was not the concern. To explain the background situation during my tenure with the agency that became Te@m Detr0it a little better though, raises and bonuses were almost nonexistent. Getting fair compensation was like getting “blood from a stone”. We joked about it. There was no standard pay scale. There was no set criteria for earning increases. And, typically, people left or tried to leave because of money. Fancy titles and job promotions were instead the preferred motivational technique. But, while the title bumps and jobs with increased responsibility were good for self-esteem (or self-loathing), paying the bills always seemed to be a little difficult. So, to get a card in the mail with an “offer” of $3,000 from that same agency is just plain funny to me. It really is. Lots of people I worked with in those days would have loved to get a $3,000 raise. Lots of people deserved it. For the agency to blithely offer $3,000 to someone who a) is not an employee b) hasn’t been an employee for awhile and c) has not tried to keep the bridges intact is a slap in the face to all of their past and present employees who deserve(d) better. Maybe if Te@m Detr0it did a better job of retaining employees, they wouldn’t need to recruit.

As an aside, I did refer lots of people for employment during my decade-long tenure at that agency. Friends, acquaintances, peers, you name it…I told many folks about the “great” company for which I worked. Did I get $3,000 then? Harumph! Oh, and the holding company that owns Te@m Detr0it also owns a recruitment agency. “Recruitment” in this case is a clever euphemism for creating “Help Wanted” ads. I know about his recruitment agency because I shared floorspace with them in a couple of different stints/cities. And, they just happened to be the biggest jerks I have ever had the pleasure with which to work. For starters, they insisted on having all of the parking spots closest to the elevators. Those that have worked in large offices with large parking garages know that having a spot close to the door or the elevator is a nice perk. But, this recruitment agency didn’t deserve the perks. Their client billings didn’t amount to 5% of what my client billings were…and they had double the staff. And, if anyone parked in “their” spots, either by accident or perchance intentionally, they would immediately call the tow trucks. Their “work” consisted of text ads in the classified sections of newspapers. My agency was doing TV commercials, for pete’s sake…with real actors and music and location shoots. Also, when their people answered the main switchboard phone, they wouldn’t ever identify my company by its name. They would only identify their own. It took getting a separate switchboard and hiring a full time receptionist for that stupid deal to get fixed. So, anyway, they were jerks. But, you’d think the holding company would want to use their own recruitment agency in order to find talent…instead of wasting money on useless post cards and/or dangling $3000 out there.

The part in the post card about the “creative powerhouse” is also funny. No one in the biz would EVER mistake my former agency as a creative agency. It wasn’t. The creatives weren’t in charge and never would be. It’s an agency run by and for the “suits”. The business types were in charge. And, while the TV commercials were numerous, they hardly ever won the awards the creative types all felt were so important. Rather, the work my former agency did kept the clients happy and, for the most part, generated sales. No, calling yourself a creative powerhouse is the biggest indicator that you aren’t one.

And, the “we’re growing” part…again that’s the spinmeisters at work. The few folks that work there I keep in touch with have told me that they’ve had massive layoffs over the past couple of years. Of course, all of those people they put on the street weren’t necessarily experienced in “digital”. But, I bet given the choice between unemployment and learning how to do flash programming and “sticky” webpages, they would have been glad to take a class or two. And, if the company had spent $3000 on a little bit of re-training for those people, it would have been money very well spent. But, then again, those that got shown the door are probably better off now anyway.

But, the funniest part for me is the “less taxes” part. Not only is it very appropriate for my former employers to make an offer and then “ding” it with taxes, but it it wouldn’t be a proper post card without a disclaimer.

Oh, and I’m not the only former employee to get this post card. The group of former employees that reside in the same area as me all received the same correspondence. We keep in fairly regular contact and all shared a chuckle upon learning that each had also gotten it. We joked we should each “refer” the others.

I could go on and on with this…but won’t. I’ve reached a good stopping point. Suffice it to say I think they are noobs, in a lot of ways. And, I’m glad I’m not there anymore.

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