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Typical Day

Shelly Schmoozer collapses into her bed after a long day of pounding the pavement for newspaper and internet ads. Grasping—or is that gasping as she buries her head under the covers—for a way to cope with the next day's challenges, she concludes that her current reality is unpalatable. So she creates a better (although temporary) reality. Shelly designs a vastly more entertaining fantasy version of a typical ad sales day. She drifts off to sleep, dreaming of large commissions with very little work.

Shelly's fantasy world has no place for an annoying alarm clock. The next morning, she wakes up fashionably late and luxuriates in a long, hot shower. She selects a trendy designer outfit from her spacious walk-in closet, and fluffs and puffs her hair to perfection. Shelly applies her makeup flawlessly, waltzes out the door with freshly brewed latte in hand, and skims through rush-hour traffic with the greatest of ease. Meeting a friend for breakfast, she saunters into the office at a fashionable midmorning hour.

Time to skim through a few client emails, Shelly thinks, proceeding to reply only to the clients who want to spend money. She pops her head into her sales manager's office and basks in his compliments about last month's killer sales. Oops, she is going to be late for a business lunch at the country club. Good thing her afternoon sales calls are mercifully brief, as she is simply done with sweating in the triple-digit summer heat. Also good that two of those visits are to friends' businesses—Shelly has banked that ad revenue before she walks in the door. With her fantasy ad sales day winding down, Shelly catches up with her friends at the local watering hole—air conditioned, of course.

Hey, did you guys hear about Bob?

Unfortunately, Shelly is forced to draw her fantasy day to a close and reboot to the reality version. She wakes up entirely too early, as her sales manager has scheduled an 8am all-hands meeting—what an utterly inhuman hour. She trudges into the office, nods sleepily to the rest of the zombies in the conference room (she keeps a baseball bat under her desk in case any of them come at her with a bloodthirsty look in their eyes), and listens to the district manager give a pep talk about the latest sales campaign. “Got to beat last year's ad sales,” he growls. Right. Shuffling out of the meeting, Shelly grabs some foul-smelling, nasty-tasting coffee reheated from yesterday's meeting. She promptly spits out the nauseating liquid, right onto her designer outfit, of course. She flips through her emails at a desk covered by teetering piles of paperwork. Hmmm...this client wants his ad proof completely revised by lunchtime. And that client is complaining about her bill. But wait...here's a client who loves her ad and wants to run it for a month! Shelly calls that client first. She's a honey-over-vinegar sort of girl.

Prodded by her drill-sergeant sales manager, Shelly reluctantly trudges out to a morning full of ad sales appointments, including at least 10 of the dreaded cold calls. Talk about a stacked deck—she can see each business owner fleeing to the bathroom as she steps through the door. Every so often, she's lucky enough to catch and hold one captive while she rattles off her sales pitch. By some miracle, Shelly snags some decent results today—a couple of follow-up appointments and even some confirmed ad revenue— but also encounters two business owners who threaten bodily harm if she ever steps on their premises again. Shelly doesn't plan on tempting fate, as she doesn't have a very high tolerance for pain.

It hurts her just to look at this.

She crams down a fast-food lunch, spilling that soda on her suit, too. Please make it stop, she pleads, although she realizes she's been sucked into a vicious cycle of negativity. Sisyphus has a better chance of getting that stone to the top of the hill. Shelly's afternoon appointments don't produce any cash in her commission column, but at least the rough day is mercifully winding down.

Creeping through rush-hour traffic, Shelly arrives at her office as the receptionist locks her desk and sashays out the door. Most receptionists simply "walk," but this one definitely "sashays." Shelly still has a couple hours of paperwork ahead of her—ad insertion orders, client messages, and two very annoying sales manager emails that demand a response. After all that, Shelly is faced with the ultimate indignity: She is compelled to log her entire day's activities into a computer-based sales tracker system. She has repeatedly tried to ignore this sadistic bean-counter's request (demand?); however, Shelly's sales manager makes it clear her continued employment depends on compliance. She toys with the idea of recording her bathroom breaks, but ultimately decides that's way too much information to reveal to her sales manager.

Shelly finally rolls into her apartment at 8pm, wolfs down a frozen dinner, and crashes in front of the television with her attention-starved dog. She can't figure out a way to realistically return to her fantasy ad sales world, even though she is much happier and wealthier there. So she reluctantly turns out the lights to prepare for another day of her reality show.