I can’t recall when I considered an episode of a 12-part show to be a filler-like episode. Until this episode. It’s leaning towards that sort of a designation. Where episode 7 split the time between Hiro and her masseuse having to decide that they’ll have no regrets about putting all of their energy into jobs that they like, this episode doesn’t really have a lot to do with Hiro. Instead it focus’s more on Chiba, a salesman in the book division. One of Hiro’s ongoing assignments is to edit the work of an author. This work, called “54″, is being serialized in Hiro’s magazine. It’s been decided to finally publish 54 as a book an it’s Chiba’s job to pound the pavement and get it into bookstores. At first Hiro is thrilled until she finds out that 54 is going to have a limited release of 20,000 or so copies. Despite the popularity of 54 in the magazine, no one in the book division, including Chiba, is convinced that it’ll sell well. Chiba has no interest in the book and isn’t willing to put any more effort into 54 than he has to.
Where Hiro’s masseuse in episode 7 had passion for her work, Chiba is utterly lacking in it. Several years earlier he put a lot of “passionate” effort into selling a book which turned out to be a success. Why then and not now? Because the book was being edited by a woman that he was attracted to. She claimed that the book’s success was due to working hard with the author. So basically, Chiba effort’s got blown off and she claimed all the credit. Now he’s protecting himself by just doing what has to be done. Hiro finally gets him to read the book which basically starts Chiba’s journey back to getting his mojo back. This gets reinforced when he talks to a bookstore manager and finds out that the author’s previous books are starting to sell well thanks to the serialization of 54.
As part of Operation Mojo Reclamation, Chiba apparently spends several hours in a meeting to increase the number of copies of 54. While he doesn’t succeed in getting the original number, he does manage to double it. After it goes on Oprah and hits the display cases…wait, wrong show. Once 54 is published and hits the shelves, it becomes a bestseller and continuously sells out. In part to Chiba’s passion for the book and his work. Sales is an interesting career. I’ve worked with sale people before and I took away from that time is that the sales force is where the rubber meets the road. You can have the greatest product but without someone to sell it, it isn’t going anywhere. This episode didn’t do anything for me. I didn’t really care about Chiba. He wasn’t introduced until this episode. Why should I care? This episode does work well with the previous one. You can run the risk of burning out if you give all of your effort to the job that you like. But if you like the job, why not give all of your effort? In addition to effort, you also need to passion for what you do. But, if its something that you like, then the passion is there. At least, that’s what I get from these two episodes. And that’s something I envy.