his year, though, the most unusual request of the year comes courtesy of Data Center, Inc., a core processing company based in New Jersey that held their annual customer appreciation conference in Kansas City. I’ve done a lot of work in Kansas City, and one of the bureaus that often hires me is located there. So when I got a call from Brittanny at Speaker Exchange about a potential job, I thought it would sound a lot like the other times she’d called me. And it did – until she started talking.
Brittanny: “So, Jeff, I’ve got this client who might be interested in hiring you for September 17. Are you free?”
Jeff: “Why yes I am, Brittanny! So far this sounds like a totally ordinary phone call. Is there anything strange or unexpected that I should know about?”
Brittanny: “Funny you should ask that, Jeff. Because it just so happens that the theme of this conference is The Renaissance. And they really want somebody who can tie into their theme.”
Jeff: “I’m sorry, Brittanny, I must have a bad connection. I thought you just said that their theme is the Renaissance.”Brittanny: “Yep. The Renaissance.”
Jeff: “You mean like dragons and knights and stuff?”
Brittanny: “Yep. That’s what I mean. The Renaissance.”
Now when I was a kid I was a huge Lord of the Rings fan, so I’m actually a bigger fan of the Renaissance than most people. I have indeed had a giant, monstrously unnaturally turkey leg at a Ren Faire or two. But I’ve never thought about how modern business can or should be run the way they did things back in 1564, mostly because today it’s sort of illegal to pour boiling oil on people.
Jeff: “Um, I don’t really know what to tell you. I don’t talk much about the Renaissance. Nobody does.”
Brittanny: “I know that. But you’re creative, I thought you could think of something.”
And then it hit me. A friend of mine from college, Paul Bielacyzc (good luck saying his last name), runs a company called Aradani Studios whose business is selling fantasy art and prosthetics to a legion of fantasy fans all around the country. And he has a ton of costumes. So many, in fact, that I thought….
Jeff: “Hey Brittanny. Let me call my friend Paul. I’ll get back to you.”
A few days later, this is the picture I sent Brittanny, along with a note saying, “Will this help?”
A day later I was hired. And I did the job yesterday, and it was awesome. I don’t think I’ve ever had more fun picking out the clothes for an event than I did for this one, and I was actually complimented on my willingness to ‘go the extra mile’. Ha! If only they knew how much fun this kind of thing is!
So there you have it – the craziest job of the year so far. But now I’m hoping that people will be inspired to put all kinds of strange riders into my contracts. Bring it on, people! The weirder the better. Remember, going to a conference and learning things doesn’t have to be boring. Just be warned. If I see you playing with your iPad while I’m talking, I’m going to shoot you with arrows. Lots of them. Pointy ones. It’ll probably hurt.