I have been shagging one of the girlies at my agency. Nice work if you can get it, but I want to finish with her as someone else at her office has caught my eye. The problem is, said agency does very effective, award-winning work and I don't want to jeopardise client/agency relations by upsetting anyone. You know what women are like. What would you do?
Your problem is an interesting one. Despite every effort you make to be the ultimate, despicable lad, you're still seriously afflicted with sensitivity.
If you were half as unpleasant as you wish to appear, you would: a) have taken up with girlie two without going through the time-consuming business of discarding girlie one; b) ignored all considerations of client/agency relationships on the very reasonable grounds that it's the agency's job to preserve such relations, not the client's; c) avoided the use of prissy euphemisms such as shagging; and d) not have bothered to write to me.
It's time you made up your mind who you are. If you could just stop showing off for a bit, I'm fairly certain you'd discover yourself to be a gentle, compassionate creature, of delicate sensibility, whose only desire is a lifetime's affection from the future mother of your five delightful children.
Should this be the case, of course, you can certainly say goodbye to that award-winning work.
I am a copywriter in torment. I am hopelessly in love with a rare beauty - a golden, pencil-like figure, and yet my creative director says that I'm wasting my time and my client refuses even to acknowledge the object of my affection. Should I forget about this ad and write another?
No. You should forget about ads altogether and become an interior decorator.
If you could give me the answer to this, I'll be eternally grateful. I'm an account director and I'm crazy about my account exec. He's asked me out to dinner in the past, but I've always come up with an excuse. I thought it might lead to difficulties when it comes to his review and accusations of unprofessionalism. But lust is eating away - and it doesn't help that we work on both a lingerie and a condom account. What to do?
Let me get just one thing straight. Advertising agencies are so haphazard in their use of job titles that I'd like to be sure that not only are you a her while he is a him, but that you are also the senior of the two?
Good; I thought so. In that case, it strikes me as odd that he's been doing all the asking out. This seems extremely old-fashioned - as if you're both still of the view that it's only the gentleman who may take the initiative in affairs of the heart, while the lady flutters about a bit and colours up prettily.
The word heart reminds me that you haven't mentioned it; and in that lies your answer. As you have rightly divined, it is not love that consumes you but lust. And lust is wonderfully short-lived.
What you must do is go for it - or, rather, him. Eschew subtlety. You say that the accounts you work on don't help. You're wrong: they help immensely. All conscientious account groups should familiarise themselves with their clients' products. Start today - and make it a sharing thing.
By the time you have to write his next annual review, peace will have broken out again: all passion spent and friends for life.
If the worst should happen and love insists on intervening, please write to me again immediately.
Jeremy Bullmore writes a monthly column for Management Today.
A more serious look at problems in the workplace, it both inspired and complements On the Campaign Couch. Bullmore is a former chairman of J. Walter Thompson, a director of Guardian Media Group and of WPP, and the president of NABS.