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The Marketer, Part I

D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer

“I’m late, my work is late, I come to meetings late”

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

M other: "You don’t fire a nephew! As a mother I’ve helped Yaacov all these years. This is what you do for family!"

Yaacov: "I thought everything would be great once I got out of school, but trouble just follows me"

Uncle: "Believe me, I gave it a chance. Yaacov is talented, but he alienated my clients with his sloppiness and unprofessionalism." 


Chantzy arrives alone, explaining that her son Yaacov will be coming separately. “He’s a graphics designer,” she explains with pride. “He’s very talented. As soon as he finished 12th grade, my brother offered him a job.”

She leans forward, confiding, “He wasn’t cut out for yeshivah.”

A clue. “Really? Tell me about that.”

“Well, he just couldn’t sit. They make kids sit for hours, like in a box, you know? But he’s so artistic, and great with computers. You should see his room.” She wrinkles her nose. “I hate cleaning it, random computer parts all over the place.”

I raise my eyebrows. “Can’t he clean it himself?”

“Oh, no.” She waves a dismissive hand. “Yaacov’s always been like that. Leaving lunch at home, leaving his coat on the bus… he’d forget his head if it wasn’t attached! I was so relieved to find a bagel place near his office. I’d never have to kill my day bringing him lunch anymore.”

“And his coat?” I couldn’t resist.

“I buy two every year. I learn from experience.”

Yaacov arrives 20 minutes late. He’s tall and moves with an easy grace. “Yo,” he says, as he slouches into a chair.

He tells me about his work. “Yeah, uh, graphic design for the Marketware Group. Advertising, events, media. That kind of stuff.”

“He’s very gifted,” Chantzy says.

“So what brings you here?” I address Yaacov.

He shrugs. “It was my mother’s idea.”

I wait, surprised it’s taken Chantzy this long. “There’s a problem at work,” she says finally.


“Well, my brother…” she trails off. “He has expectations. He says things are not working out perfectly.” She shakes her head. “Who can expect perfect?”

“Yaacov, can you give us more detail? What’s making your boss unhappy?”

Yaacov draws a knee up to his chin and starts winding a loose shoelace around his fingers. “I dunno. Like, I was designing a logo for a specialty bakery.” He frowns. “It was really fantastic, I airbrushed the Y to trail off in a puff of cream, but the client had wanted a cupcake in the logo and they got upset that there wasn’t one.”

“Did you know that they wanted one?”

“Yeah, it was in the specs, but…”

“What else?”

“I dunno. He complains that I’m late, my work is late, I come to meetings late. I don’t talk to clients right. I get a list of projects and do the first couple and don’t get to the rest.”

Yaacov seems to have a pretty specific list of criticism. Such self-awareness strikes me as atypical for his personality. “How do you know all these things bother your boss?”

“His uncle,” Chantzy corrects.

Yaacov shrugs. “Because he told me all this. Straight out. Yesterday. When he fired me.”

Yaacov doesn’t adjust his communication style appropriately for the situation. He talks to his new therapist the way he talks to his buddies.

It’s hard for Yaacov to see the big picture. He fixates on one or two details and doesn’t put them all together to complete an entire task correctly.

This, like his consistent tardiness, indicates Yaacov’s struggle with time management. 

Originally featured in Family First, Issue 576. D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist in private practice for over 15 years. She is the creator of the Link-It reading comprehension and writing curriculum for elementary school students and directs continuing education programs for speech-language pathologists and educators.

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