It's a Living. Part I: David's Saga. Episode 9: Day 1 at Startup

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​In the previous episode of our fictional saga, David settled for a marketing "VP" job at UnderGoodies, a start-up that makes stain- and odor-resistant underwear.

They conducted the interview at a coffee shop, which David thought was weird, probably a way to avoid showing the job candidates their less-than-plush office. But he didn't expect an office this bad: computers and other stuff still in boxes, shelving still disassembled on the floor, and only one of the five employees there, staring into his computer.

"Welcome, David. Sorry about the mess. There's your desk. Like we said in the interview, start by creating a blueprint for our social media marketing presence. Are we good?"

"Yeah, we're good." That's what David said. What David thought was, "What in the world did I get myself into: No onboarding, no office support, and now it's all social-media marketing?! They didn't say that in the interview. SMM is so overhyped. And I'm probably marketing a bad product. Hey, I haven't even seen the product." Hey, do you have product samples?"

"Oh, the samples are with the sales guy. He's closing a lot of deals."

"You only have one set of samples?"

"Sorry. We should have product within a week."

"You're closing lots of deals without knowing there's product to deliver?"

"Welcome to the world, David."

David thought, "Welcome to your world. Even UnderSports wouldn't pull that crap."

He trudged to his desk--yes, here he could get away with trudging without violating corporate culture. Here, there was no culture, corporate or otherwise.

He spent most of the day trying, really trying, to focus on developing the social media marketing plan for that product he's never seen, that no one has ever seen, let alone received a boatload of 5-star Amazon customer reviews. He decided to focus on the gross--After all, his market was teenagers willing to buy a lot of underwear.

​"Maybe a contest on Facebook in which people mailed in their smelliest, most stained underwear and then a live media event picking the worst. The theme: 'This wouldn't happen if you were wearing UnderGoodies.'" And maybe a TwitterShitter campaign in which people proposed 140-character slogans for UnderGoodies? Or a YouTube video with shit in a pair of UnderSports shorts--The tagline would be, "With UnderGoodies shorts, your shit doesn't stink."

But by 4:00, David had come to only one decision: He would quit at the end of the day. "But what will I do? I'd been trying to land a job for six months and this shit job--literally shit job--was the best I could get? If I quit, Susan will kill me. Damn, I can't stand the thought of going back into the job market. God, but I can't stand it here. Jesus!!!!"

And then that pressure in his chest that presaged his heart attack started again. And again, it shot up into his neck and down his left arm. "Hey, would you call 911?"

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