It was only my interpretation, but I strongly believed that they were looking for a creative who understood marketing, not a marketing person that was creative, and with that, I delivered my presentation in full confidence. With the finish line in sight, I took out the ad I had done and read them my headline, "It's All In The Details," followed by the tongue-in-cheek tagline, "Because Housework is No Longer a Bitch," which really could've been interpreted offensively, but I knew when it came to me an hour earlier, that it was the clincher and the closer. The room chuckled just enough to let me know that we really were speaking the same language, so I took the opportunity to show them one more thing - Gratitude. Looking into the eyes of each person in the room, I stood there and thanked them profusely for this unbelievable opportunity. With practically a tear in my eye, and a whimper to my voice, I reiterated that even if we were never to see each other again, I would never forget this time, this experience, for it was the most incredible creative session I had ever been a part of. I truly wanted them to know that what they did here was momentous for me as a creative, and I so appreciated their consideration for the role.
Collectively, everyone thanked me in return, and got up to leave while I began putting everything away and collecting my belongings. Ronnie came up to the front of the room to personally thank me, to let me know she was impressed at how I was able to produce so much in the time allotted, and, to introduce me to Alice, the woman who was actually hiring. Standing no more than five-foot-something, wearing black 'n gray, with a bob-style coiffure, Alice was the one who actually had command of the room. "Hi! I'm Alice O'Chietti. Thanks so much for coming in today. Do you know what I loved most about your presentation?' I couldn't imagine, but at least I knew it was positive. 'I love that you didn't wear a tie," she told me. And with that, I knew, I just hit it outta the park on the first pitch.
When THAT song begins to play just as you turn the radio on in your car, you gotta ask yourself how it knew. How did my car know to play me, or is it tell me, just what I needed to hear, right at that precise moment in time? I'm, by no means, any mathematician, but you have to figure the probability is infinite. Keeping in mind, there is no such thing as a coincidence in my book, what are the odds of me coming out of that Firmenich creative session, turning on my car's radio and being told "This Is The Day," as performed by The The? Obscure as it is in pop-culture, early '80's music reference, the song's chorus, as a message being transmitted over the airwaves, had rung true for me at other equally significant times in my career, and this day, this day was THE day my life would surely change. Whether I got the job or not, it really (almost) didn't matter, because I left there with a different mindset about my own talent. It was so emotionally powerful, so exhausting in a creative energy exertion way, that while driving home, I broke down. I was proud of myself, by myself, and whatever happened next mattered not, as it was a private accomplishment - one that I couldn't wait to tell Chris about. Telling her the story when I got home later that night, I was just as choked up - "I did it, Chris. I did it."
Monday afternoon, not six business hours since my audition, HR Tom called me to offer me the position of Creative Marketing Manager, Body & Home Care, for the Perfumery Division of Firmenich. The salary offer was for fifty-percent more than I was making at the job I'd been fired from six months prior, plus all the other nice perks that come with a full-time, corporate gig, so of course, I told him the number I had in mind, which was just enough to let them know I was seriously interested, but not too much more that they might rescind. I desperately needed the job, don't get me wrong, but the speed at which they made their decision, meant maybe I could still add negotiation skills to my creative repertoire. When HR Tom called me back first thing on Tuesday morning, it was a done deal - Firmenich no longer needed a hand with big ideas.