I thought it would be interesting if we all shared some entertaining stories from the job that had some comical/moral value (no whinings, or complaints, it should have a lesson or at least be funny).
So I’m at work, wearing the Mao t-shirt my boss had brought as a present from her China trip (my office is VERY informal). It turns out one of our suppliers is touring the office and they needed someone to take them out to dinner with the group. I was off the list, but when someone bailed…surprise. I had to do the job. I had no time to go home and change, as I had to take them directly from the office.
Halfway through the appetizer someone from the supplier group points at my t-shirt, and after about 1/2 a second it hits me: THEY ARE ALL TAIWANESE. They pretty much told me that in China people would love me for wearing the shirt, but in Taiwan i’d get my ass kicked. I knew all the history behind it, but my clumsy self had been oblivious until someone pointed it out. Thanksfully we all laughed it off, and needless to say, I dont wear the t-shirt at work anymore.
I was once called into a meeting with a Japanese supplier (LCDs or something like that) to give advice as a design “expert”. I was pretty casual at the time wearing a t-shirt with some big bold “Asian characters” on the back. Everything went okay until I went up to the white board to sketch something and the suppliers started to chuckle.
After the meeting, one of my Japanese coworkers from another division told me the “Asian characters” on my shirt were Japanese. It said “I am a Moron”
Several years ago I got SUPER sucked into the Burton culture thing while doing a goggle project with them. So much so that when they told me that I should feel free to show up at meetings however I was most comfortable I decided I would wear a a dress shirt and tie. (It was a phase I was in, what can I say?) It was nicely suggested that I never do that again.
There was also a time that I co-authored an article. Our goal was to talk about the un-varnished side of product development that never gets talked about. We thought we would be gritty and “real”. In the end it turned out to be a critical review focused mostly on the client whom we had just finished a project with. We thought only Yo and a few others would read it and they would find it funny.
Our attempt to be witty and show that we were fighting the good fight was perceived by all as either arrogant, idiotic or both. They have never called us again.
That article was awesome! They might not have liked it, but it was true. I think it was great to have that up, it certainly sparked a lot of debate, but I’m of the opinion that it was a positive thing to do, and I hope other organizations re-evaluated how they used creative services based on it.
I remember that article. I was wondering, what could be going through their minds right now. It definitely took some cahoona’s to put that out but I definitely wouldn’t expect any more work after that one though. But sometimes things just have to be said and someone made an example of I guess.
The article is no longer available. Thankfully. I am happy to admit my mistakes for others amusement and education but that one was particularly rough and I would certainly NOT like to relive it. So, please, lets keep that sobering misstep in the past. Maybe someone else would like to share a story from the trenches?