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Cindy’s first day at Crescenzo Communications: A look back

* Blogger’s note: In honor of my wife Cindy’s nine-year anniversary with Crescenzo Communications, we are running the column we wrote 9 years ago today, when she started. We decided to recognize nine years, instead of ten, because everybody does ten and we wanted to be different.

Crescenzo Communications has a new employee!

This brings our head count to 3, now. Those of you who read this blog know that my other employee is my six-year-old son, Zach, who is the vice president of Human Resources.

By the way, Zach just switched us to a fully automated HR system. Since he doesn’t have his own computer, his system is fairly simple. If I want to talk to him about HR or anything else work related, I write him a note about it and put it in a coffee can in his bedroom. He checks the can, as far as I can tell, about once every three weeks.

Sort of like the systems other big companies use, but more low-tech.

Anyway, our new employee is my new wife, Cindy. Cindy has worked for us part-time for the last couple of years, doing various administrative odds and ends. Now she’s coming on full-time to run the entire company.

Those of you who know me know that I’m not much of a numbers guy. And I’m not much of a businessman. And I’m not real organized. And I’m not much in the area of client relations. And I’m no marketer. And I’m not much of a planner.

Really, when you get right down to it, I’m not much of anything, other than a writer and a speaker and an employee communications consultant . . . and it wouldn’t be hard to find people who would argue that I’m not that good at some of those things, either.

Anyway, Cindy used to be the director of marketing at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the director of development for the Chicago League of Theaters. Working for the arts is fun, but it takes its toll on your soul . . . so she decided to make the move to corporate America.

She’s going to be doing everything I don’t do: she has already (gasp) put a budget together; she’s putting in filing systems and invoicing systems and an accounting system and all kinds of other systems.

So far, I have to say, she has been an enormous pain in the ass.

Tuesday was Cindy’s first day, and it was a disaster. Here’s a breakdown:

7:30 a.m. The alarm goes off, and I start the business day by hitting the snooze alarm. Seventeen times.

8:47 a.m. I finally get up. Unbeknownst to me, Cindy has been up since 6:45 a.m., learning how to do Quickbooks and sorting through the shoebox full of receipts that serves as my tax return system.

8:51 a.m. I tell Cindy that as of January 1, 2006, due to a policy change at Crescenzo Communications, the official employee orientation program now involves sex in the shower. She closes the door to her office.

9:07 a.m. With my hand sore from knocking on the door, I finally give up on the “orientation = sex in the shower” argument, and answer some e-mails.

10:15 a.m. “Time for lunch,” I say to Cindy. “It’s 10 in the morning,” she says. “El Jardin’s opens at 10:30,” I say. “If we walk, we can get there just as they open.” I know this, because I have done it 765 times in the past five years. I may not have any other business systems, but when it comes to lunch, my systems kick ass. “I have work to do,” Cindy says. I’m beginning to think that Cindy has what’s known in the corporate world as “an attitude problem,” and “might not be a good fit” for the “Crescenzo Corporate Culture.”

11:00 a.m. Cindy shows me the new expense sheet system, which will involve me actually filing my receipts right after a trip, so that we can be reimbursed more quickly by the client. My old system was to turn in the expenses whenever the ATM machine stopped giving me money. Her system seems like a pain in the ass. I contemplate firing her.

11:30 a.m. Cindy says she needs to meet. Finally! Orientation! But alas . . . she wants to go over the proposed budget, and wants me to give her an estimate of my monthly income. Jesus, talk about a verbal cold shower.

12:00 a.m. Cindy is now working on putting together a business plan, which she plans on taking to a bank to see if we can get a business line of credit loan. “It will help with cash flow,” she tells me. “What’s cash flow?” I ask her. “Please leave my office,” she says.

12:10 p.m. I go to the branch office, El Jardin’s, for lunch. Cindy stays behind to work. I start practicing what I’m going to say when I fire her. She’s just not Crescenzo Communications material, I’m afraid.

3:30 p.m. Back from lunch! Three margaritas has me REALLY feeling like some orientation now. Some SERIOUS orientation. But Cindy is nowhere to be found. Slacker! Just the excuse I need to ditch her, I think to myself, settling into bed with my iPod.

4:15 p.m. Cindy wakes me up. She has been to the bank, the office supply store, and Best Buy, to buy some things that will network our computers together. I decide it’s not good a good idea to fire someone when you’re groggy from your nap, so she gets a reprieve.

5:00 p.m. “Quitting time,” I tell Cindy. “Should we go get a cocktail?” “Not yet,” she says. “I’ve got about another hour here.” Some quick calculations in my head tell me that on her first day, Cindy put in more hours than I do in typical work week, if I’m not on the road. She’s really going to knock the hell out of the culture if she’s not stopped. She has to go. I just put a note in Zach’s coffee can, asking him the best way to do it. It’s going to be dicey, because Zach likes Cindy. But personal feelings can’t get in the way of business, right?

I’ll keep you updated out here as to what happens. Meanwhile, if anyone out there needs a super competent, smart, charming, expert marketer and fundraiser who knows a lot about things like surveys and focus groups, I know just the person.

2 Responses to “Cindy’s first day at Crescenzo Communications: A look back”

  1. John L Lewis

    Steve…you got my attention with the employee orientation program! The Good news is there can be no sexual harassment in the Crescenzo Communications corporate culture since dear Cindy is your wife!

    Congratulations on 9 years Cindy you truly are Steve’s rock!

    I love the blog and so happy I get a “dose of Stevenson humor” regularly!!!

    Put a note in Zach’s coffee can and tell him Jll says “hi!”

    • Steve Crescenzo

      Will do, Big John!! Cindy is the Rock, the Scissors, AND the Paper of Crescenzo Communications. I’m just along for the ride!

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