This has been such an interesting week, learning about the lies the Buzz Girls tell. And like those who've posted earlier this week, I'm so excited to help celebrate the release of Stephanie Hale's The Alpha Bet.
Many of us who have put together a resume or been in a job interview have been tempted to embellish the truth or outright lie. Here's a story about how I was accused of lying.
Let's go back in time to when I used to work at a really great, hip, successful ad agency as the Help Desk Manager. The job itself was fine and paid really well, but it wasn't really "me." From the get-go, I wanted to test the copy writing waters. I worked hard to learn how to write copy, from listening in at the "Creatives'" meetings to building an album of my favorite magazine ads. Once I felt like I could start writing my own ads, I arranged an information interview with a senior Creative. Per her suggestion, I cut out images from actual magazine ads and wrote different (hopefully better) copy to go with the image. Then my art director friend helped me after hours to scan in the image into Photoshop and position the copy to make it look nice. My portfolio was full of ads constructed in this way: image from a real magazine ad plus my headline and copy. I showed my portfolio to one of the partners at my ad agency and he said I was on the right track, but they didn't have any junior copy writing positions open. So I decided to start freelance copy writing. That way, when a position did open up, I'd have some real-world experience to show. I went on a few interviews and racked up quite a few projects. But here's the interview that to this day haunts me:
Two partners from a smaller ad agency in the same city invited me to lunch. I showed them my portfolio. They flipped a few pages, making agreeable noises, asking if it was my own work (I explained that the words were all mine, that I tried to put a new spin on an ad or improve the copy in the original ad). They seemed impressed with my work. Until they turned to a page where I'd written an ad I was particularly proud of. I knew I'd really pushed the envelope with this one and I was fully prepared for them to either love it or hate it. Come to find out, it was THEIR ad image. Small world, eh? Well, I don't know what went wrong but they had it in their head that the copy was theirs too. That I'd basically cut out their ad and put it in my own portfolio to pass it off as mine. (PLAGERISM!) To make matters worse, the senior Creative who'd given me the advice to take an image from an ad and write my own copy was their good friend (small world again) and I didn't know what to say. Since they truly believed I'd plagerized their work, was this going to get back to their friend, who might mention it to the Powers That Be at my agency? And don't forget, I'd already told them that my writing was supposed to be a new spin or an improvement on the original ad's copy, which could be considered a slap in their faces (awkward!). Was my copy writing career shot before it barely even began?
The only thing I could think of was to tell them to take my portfolio with them, to discuss it amongst themselves, and to carefully read the ad in question. They did. They called me in to talk again and give me back the portfolio. I have to say it was still really awkward, though I do think they figured out that my copy was completly different than the original ad's copy. And, thankfully, I was never black-balled. (Whew.)
So, my question for you is: Have you ever been wrongfully accused of lying or cheating? Tell us about it and you'll be entered for a chance to win a signed copy of The Alpha Bet by the amazing Stephanie Hale.