Posted by: Brad Nixon | June 11, 2011

Mr. Pig Calls it a Day

Yesterday was Mr. Pig’s last day at work. He’s heading home with me, having wrapped up his last bit of business for The Corporation. I’ll be back for a few more weeks, and then I’ll pack it in, too. Mr. Pig  has been with me for quite a few years now, though I can’t recall exactly how many: more than five, fewer than ten. In that time, he’s earned his stripes as a veteran of many hard-fought corporate communications campaigns. In his first few years here, he occupied a spot in our boss, Peter’s, office. That office in the first-floor executive suite was a fine place for either man or pig, but after Peter’s death left the office vacant, Mr. Pig moved up to my place on the fourth floor with the fine view of the San Gabriels on clear days; it certainly lacked the same level of spiffiness as the executive suite, but not bad at all for middle management, and he seemed content with his new digs. He later followed me when I relocated to my current larger but not so well-situated place on the first floor with no view. There, he’s occupied a spot up on the shelves above my desk, where he can keep an eye on everything, including anyone who comes in the door. He likes it there, because he doesn’t have to look at what’s on my computer screen, directly below him. Mr. Pig is bored by word processing and spreadsheets, and he has absolutely no patience with PowerPoint. He’s a pig of  action and not concerned with the petty details of office life.

Mr. Pig came onboard in a role that, while critical in many large or small enterprises, is often overlooked: Unofficial In-Joke Symbol. If you look, you can spot similar emblems in almost any office: trolls, odd dolls, bobblehead sports figures and stuffed animals of every variety. In our case, Mr. Pig arrived to represent a slogan of Peter’s, who, in his day, was fond of describing our work here in The Corporation’s Communications Department (which the Controller called “the Poetry Department”) as “putting a bow tie on a pig.” Hence, Mr. Pig arrived to serve as the physical embodiment of that bow tie-on-a-pig idea. If you can see the photo, you’ll notice that he has a calm, confident demeanor, and that he wears with pride the spiffy white dress tie that’s “testifyin’ what he’s signifyin’,” as the old blues cats used to say.

In his early days, from a similar lofty perch in Peter’s office, Mr. Pig supervised major corporate drama at the very highest levels: takeover attempts, acquisitions, releases of market-moving news and confrontations with the CEO, CFO and all those other “Cs.” After his move to my office, he found the atmosphere not so highly-charged, but he’s still seen his share of action, since, together, we’ve weathered our share of Big Hairy Assignments (BHAs), including directing the communications program for the company’s major restructuring a few years ago.

But Mr. Pig really came into his own after coming to work with me and joining the Road Crew, producing our large corporate events. Every May for the past few years, as the onset of the production season approaches, he’s been packed into a road case and shipped off to join the team in Orlando, or Miami, or Colorado or Atlanta. Once there, he’s assumed a place of prominence in our work office from which he can survey the whirlwind of activity; in those far-flung locations, he’s served as our talisman of putting a bow tie on a pig for the big shows. These events require long days of planning and production, with a constant stream of crew members, executives and staff dashing in and out, making decisions, making revisions (which a minute will reverse!) to agendas and presentations: in short, making things happen. Most of these events took place at fine resorts or at least extremely nice hotels, but he, like the rest of the crew, cared not for the spa or the pool with its water slide or the fine-dining restaurants, the golf course or tennis courts. He was a born denizen of the cluttered, frantic office, and, under his watchful eye, we succeeded every time.

With his deep experience in critical situations, Mr. P. rarely gets excited, but even he was perturbed when, last October, we got the news that our operation was going to close and that my colleagues and I would be leaving the firm. He was too proud to ask, but I could sense the concern from his body language, and I assured him that, just as they were keeping me on to produce a final round of the company’s big events, he would remain part of the team and that, if he wished, he could join me in a new location after that.

Now, we’ve wrapped our last show together — at least as employees of the Big Firm. He’s been out on the road for just about three weeks, and it’s time for him to climb back in the the road case and head back from the final gig. This was a big one, including the most massive projection screen in our careers: a monster High Definition image more than a hundred feet wide and twenty-two feet high. Even Mr. P. was impressed by that. Here’s a shot of him in action just a couple of days ago, sanguine and serene amidst the hubbub:

After this, we’re on our own, and we’ll see what happens. Although he doesn’t say much, I’m confident that he looks back on his years here in the nexus of corporate power with satisfaction. Only this time, he’s not going back to his place in the corporate office. He’s heading home with me, to a place of honor in my little home office, from which he’ll be watching whatever happens next. Neither one of us knows exactly what the future holds. Will we have more big shows to produce? Will there be days of terror with dire deadlines descending as the SEC or FCC look over our shoulder? Or will it be an endless grind of pitching business in which no one is interested? We don’t know. Maybe he’ll miss the good days, with all hell breaking loose around him. Maybe not. He’s expressed no regret over the change. Like all of us, he misses Peter, who introduced him to this crazy business, but, whatever betides, he’ll be with me to represent Peter’s joyful embrace of dressing up the ordinary to make it extraordinary.

Somehow, I sense that he has the same feeling as I do: that there’s something big out there, and I know he’s up for the challenge.

Let’s go, ol’ pal. We have work to do.

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Responses

  1. Brad, I will say, “That Says It all,” and you have said it very well, as usual.

    Dad

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  2. Great post. Cheers to Mr. Pig! I heard he was planning a PR campaign to launch the new (and animal friendly)bacon.

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  3. Hi Brad, Mr Pig sounds like a great guy – shame I didn’t get an introduction before now. Good luck to him in his new endeavors and adventures – I wish him well!

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  4. Looking forward to reading about whatever new adventures Mr Pig leads you on.

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  5. Now Mr. Pig a-n-d the Caddyshack Gopher are both part of a new world, freed of their corporate restraints.

    o
    / \
    ((
    ————————v-

    Tom

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  6. I like that part “a pig of action and not concerned with the petty details of office life.” That’s quite often hard to do, either at the office, or anywhere else. Yes, too often we miss sight of the pig bicture.

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  7. Mr. Pig is lucky to have you as a close personal friend. Make sure to keep us posted on the “whats next” as I know it will be exciting

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  8. “Mr. Pig” is lucky to have you as a friend! I am sure you will have many new adventures together!

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  9. I’m happy to hear that Mr. P will remain with his loyal companion/mentor/inspiree. His colleagues here in Massachusetts, Spot and Fido (pronounced “FEE-do” because he is French), are quite relieved that P is not being put out to the pigpen. S+F are identical cousin dog banks who, over the years, have accumulated skiis, a styrofoam ski helmet, knit scarves, a beret, a suitcase, and a paper beach towel. They have traveled the world, sometimes holding socks to save space. They wish Mr. P the very best in his new challenges.

    Like


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