A hard and a long day at work comes to an end. Well, almost.
After an event is over, irrespective of how it goes, almost all event managers end up depressed after all the adrenaline that an event pumps into their system. I wrote about this last week. Here read it. Quite a few friends from the industry read it. And a handful of those who read it in entirety (it was a long piece at some 2000 words) called to say that they could relate to it, word by word. Of course everyone had a different perspective. This is what makes life awesome — multiple perspectives, multiple personalities, each as different as chalk and cheese.
But then, everyone who called, invariably agreed on one thing. The thing about post-event depression.
And then I thought may be it would be a good idea to explore this depression in little more detail. Actually not depression but things that people do, after an event, to get over their depression. I mean I reckon that most men in jobs that need them to be on their toes all the time (air traffic controllers, stock brokers, doctors in emergency room, event managers et al) must have their respective (may I say quirky?) ways of beating the blues. And since I have an insider’s perspective on events, I can bring to surface things that us event managers do to get back to our feet after a hard hitting blow.
Like the last post, I would stick to just 7 things that event managers do, after a hard and a long day at work comes to an end.
1. Get drunk.
Simple. Really. Nothing is as potent as alcohol to loosen you up. I think those taking acting classes must get drunk before they face the camera. Whoever said that alcohol helps lose inhibitions was spot on. Spotter on than the dart hitting the bull’s eye.
So we get drunk after an event. And no sir, since we are the flag bearers of style AND adrenaline, we do not do it at some shady bar. We end up at either the most happening club that that city has to offer, most of the time teeming with teens and other older people who believe that they are still in their teens.
Or we shut ourselves in the confined misery of the expensive hotel room that is not accessible to anyone but the closely knit event team. After all, nothing breeds camaraderie and brotherhood better than a calamity. The decision between that exclusive club or the hotel room is pretty simple. Actually the decision happens by itself, depending on how the event went. No points for guessing where do you go when.
If you go to a club, you will always grind the section that plays electronic music, for you are an event manager and you ought to like EDM. Everything else is either too boring or too slow for someone who needs a regular dose of excitement. If you voice your dislike for EDM you may be thrown out of the company. You dare not.
Oh, you “check-in” on Facebook places AND on Foursquare. And tag everyone else present at the club with you. More importantly, Like and Comment on the check-ins of your colleague who borrowed your phone a while back, to register his check-in at the location. You see, we love spreading love. And this love-spreading is like a ritual that we hate to break. An event company without rituals is like a human without a soul. Yes sir. There. I said it.
And coincidence, love also brings me to the next thing that event managers do after an event. When I say next, these things are NOT in any order fyi.
2. Try and find love.
Like drinking, we have two distinct places where we hunt for love. Either we KNOW, for sure, that that performer (read dancer, manager of a celebrity that we hired, singer, crew member, DJ’s friend etc) is the end of our long and torturous search for true and eternal love. If not that (all such potential targets loves are “taken” by your seniors or they are too cute for you to have any chance with them), you simply scourge the red light districts. Especially if you are from India.
You see, despite coming from the holy land of KamaSutra, true unconditional love (read sex) is something of a taboo in India. Yes, even if you are married or going steady or into a secret live in relationship.
So, if you are from India and you are managing an event at the likes of Thailand, Russia, Netherlands and other such liberal countries, you do not miss any opportunity to scoot to a “legal” club. I am using the word club for the lack of a better word. Is there one? I can call my mom and tell her that I am at a club and she would be as care free as if I am at a temple. Its a temple after all. Temple of love.
Love, you thought was that item dancer that you accosted for three days, that you got coffee for (from local Starbucks), that you took for long walks along the beach and that you paid for a meal consisting largely of raw fish eaten with thin sticks, at the most expensive Japanese restaurant in the town (and you are a vegetarian come to think of it). And you knew you loved her, till you see her cooing blissfully with your boss.
And then what do you do to get over the depression (of the event and the love betrayed by the dancer)? You goto the temple of love. To find your true love, that can not last longer than two hours, because you would be tired of all the action. And what do you do when you are tired? Sleep!
Sleep in next in my list, list of things that we do after an event.
Yep. We are boring people. Really we are. And since our job requires us to be on our toes all the time, we hardly manage any sleeping running up to the event. So when you get over the event, get into you room, to take a shower before you head out, do NOT look at the bed. The thing with these beds at expensive hotels is that, more often than not, they have these white sheets that are as inviting as true unconditional love is.
You know that if you get between those sheets, you could disappear from the face of this world. You would then be by yourself, along with your depression. It’s a sure shot way to get over it — by drowning so deep in your sorrows that every other problem (negative feedback from client, betrayal from that item dancer, lost opportunity to scalp a couple of Euros from the production money etc) seems trivial.
Sleep is like a superpower. You’ve always had it but it takes a jolt, a shock, for you to realize that you possess it. And then once you become aware, you use it to your advantage and use it to save the world (by not firing your light engineer because light was too harsh and was right into the eyes of the client, by not giving a piece of your mind to that item dancer for her betrayal, by not putting in your papers because your boss is being an asshole for no reason etc).
Of course there are days when sleep in far. Even though you have tried hiding in the sea of tender white foam sheets. You don’t want to step out either (because you couldn’t scalp some money of the production budget). So what do you do?
Use the bathtub! Next on my list.
4. Use the bathtub.
That bathtub in the fancy hotel room that you were booked by the client, has been inviting you ever since you came in. Its been four days and you’ve hardly had any time to sleep, leave alone a shower. And now that event is over and there is nothing to do and everyone else is either getting drunk or hunting for their love or sleeping, you fill the tub up, make some lather, get a beer and just lie down in the tub.
Ideally you would have your true love in the tub with you but since today you are out of luck you just make use of your fantasies. No, no, not those fantasies. But fantasies of owning your own event company some day. Yes ladies and gentlemen, every event manager worth his salt wants to own an event company at some point in life. Sooner the better. And since he has been managing events for so long, he knows that he can trust a couple of his clients to give him work to get started.
So you drown in your fantasies, in your bath tub. And since fantasies don’t really last long, it gets boring to just soak into water, you login to Facebook and start Like-ing and Comment-ing on check-ins that your colleagues posted a while back, from the most happening club of the town. And you curse them for not even mention-ing you in their posts. If you do get bored of that as well, of course you could read this series of posts (shameless plug) but you may find these too hard hitting and you may want to ignore these.
And you put your favorite music in background to help you relax. Music and beer. Mmmm.
Ever heard a drunk man dancing naked next to the bath tub? Well, I have had the pleasure of stumbling into bathrooms with such men least thrice in last three years. Averaging one per year, I would say its not a rare occurrence. Diwali happens once a year and its certain that it will come around each year. And I am sure I would stumble on more drunken revelries of the “free” kinds near the bathtub sometime soon, for its been some 8 months since the last incident.
And even if we dont dance in the bathtubs, we do shake a leg at that expensive club. Just that at those clubs, chances of finding better dancers are slightly higher and we detest competition of any kind.
We would rather not do it, than compromise on quality and output. Wait, is that line even valid here? It may not be. But its the safest line that we can rattle out in even our dreams when anyone talks about competition or money. Money? We would rather not do it, than compromise on quality and output.
Get the point?
No? You think its a gamble that you are taking by paying us so much?
We would rather not do it, than compromise on quality and output.
Ok ok! Fine I’d gamble.
Gamble? You too? Its next on the list of things that we do after an event to get over the depression!
We are men of vice. We are vice-er than the vice-est of them all. And they say, there is no vice like gambling. Thing with gambling is that it gives you an opportunity to get over your sorrows by fast wins. And along with the opportunity to get even more adrenaline in your system. And these wins are tangible. You can hold them in your hand. Or put them in the bank. Or spend those wins to get you more love, more alcohol and more sleep at an even more expensive hotel.
Wins also make you the celebrity that you have always craved to be. All your life you have seen film stars, businessmen, politicians, cricketers, speakers from very close quarters and you secretly wish to be like them. You want to get phone calls at 3 in the night from random people. You want to be stalked. You want police protection bodyguards. You want it all. And since you can’t sing or dance or speak or hit the ball as cleanly as Sachin can, you can’t really get famous. You can only hope that you win so much money at the casino that the casino is forced to give you a security cover that make your celebrities envious of your stature.
And most importantly when you win, you can then go to the item dancer, ask her to perform exclusively for you and you can ask her boyfriend to manage THAT event. Figure it out. Exclusive event for an event manager, managed by the manager that event manager reported into, where the only performer is someone that the manager managed till a while back.
But then that’s not how life operates. Does it?
In real life, rather than winning truck load of money, you end up losing your one year’s savings. Because you knew last year that the client you manage will host their next event at Amsterdam, you saved for one full year to get that one shot at freedom, richdom and celebritydom. And there you are, all your money, now in pocket of, who else, the item dancer, who also likes to dabble into casinos when she is not having coffee or Sushi. You swear to never buy any other dancer any coffee. Life is after all about lessons learnt hard. And you also promise to yourself that when you own your event company, you would not give any work to that dancer.
And when you have lost all your money and hope, there is nothing left but to go back to your hotel room and write about your day.
Did I say write? Do event managers and writing coincide?
Yep. We are not merely about yelling out loud in the walkie-talkies or reading from run-orders or saying yes to every demand from the client. We are lot deeper. We are better than your average Joes. We have emotions. We have perspective. And better still, we love to put them forth on paper. In black and white. Mostly on hotel stationary (and sometimes on the Internet as well).
And you must thank heavens that everything we write does not come out in open, especially what we wrote after we were drunk and we were betrayed and we lost money at casinos. If any of it was in open, the world would be a far worse place than what it is. After all we are privy to everything that goes behind the scenes in the entertainment industry, travel industry, hospitality industry, across international borders, offices of local administration and most potent of them all, our client’s organizations.
We have more dirt than Paparazzi, NSA, Wikileaks and Baba Ramdev put together. And we have more means to spread it than India TV, Rajeev Masand, Arnab Goswami and Narendra Modi put together.
Just that we use discretion while making our thoughts public. Of course there is a little matter of saving our jobs but thats trifle considering a good event manager is always in demand. Don’t believe me? I have been offered thousands of jobs and I have made millions since I quit my job a month back.
In the end
That’s it. That’s all we do after an event is over. No one talks about it. Because we want things here and we want them now. After an event is over, the event manager is left to fend for himself. Someone had to talk about it.
And a disclaimer to end it all, if you are a prospective employer or girlfriend or bride (or a dancer, only if you are vegetarian). Even though I know colleagues who do all of the above, in one night, I am slightly boring. After an event, all I do is item # 3. And at times item #7 but for different reasons.
And thanks to DJ Killa for the post idea. And, you, drum roll, hope this is not apologetic?
This post was originally published by Saurabh Garg on Medium.