office, respect

Ladies And Gentlemen…The President!

In the American political drama The West Wing, people get to their feet every time the (fictional) President Josiah Bartlet enters the room.

Apparently, in the White House, when the President stands, nobody sits – as President Bartlet so devastatingly reminds a visitor in one episode.

Now, the advertising industry is a fraction more casual than the White House – we can, and do, call our CEO by his first name.

However, I believe that there is an exception that proves the rule (and I’m really trying to figure out the meaning of this phrase).

I hear that in a creative-heavy agency (the one with the red branding currently based in the furthest suburbs of town), people rise every time the Chairman walks by.

Apparently this has been going on since the time the Chairman was merely the National Creative Director.

This is not hearsay. I was told about this by an ex-employee who was reprimanded for keeping his feet on his desk and not standing up when said NCD walked by.

(One of the reasons he quit soon after, if I remember right.)

And I always remark on this episode with the greatest of contempt.

But, as is a regular habit, I stuck my foot in my mouth today.

When our CEO entered the boardroom to begin the meeting, me and my colleagues all stood up…

Worse, I said, “Good morning…” and had to bite down on my tongue to prevent myself saying, “Mr. President.”

And even though I sort of made up for it at the end of the meeting, by sitting still (the only one to do so, all my colleagues stood up again) when he got up to leave, I still think I’m OD-ing on The West Wing.

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