This is the story of someone who spent a decade inside a top tier ad agency, working on some of the biggest brands in the country in a windowless office – who was stressed out, disenchanted, and decided to quit.
Expecting to ride off into the sunset (most likely to this tune), and leaving with no plan or next step beside following his bliss and experiencing freedom- this optimistic fella was surprised, when things went dark.
This is the story of how the light came back in.
It’s also a story of making mistakes.
Of yelling at restaurant managers.
And avoiding dog bites.
And it’s the journey of an ambitious and impatient person once described as a “full blown individualist” learning about the ego, and beginning to move his perspective from me to we.
All while trying to escape advertising. (Which isn’t actually possible.)
It turns out some of the things we try to escape, are simply things we must accept.
So yes, follow your bliss. But expect turbulence. And when it gets rough. Keep going.
Hope you enjoy the blog.
(Is it just me, or does that cactus look like it’s flipping the bird?)
ps. The irony is not lost on me, that below some of these posts readers might see an ad. I’m using the free WordPress template. And well…nothing’s free. More on that later.
People left the world’s best ad agency to freelance, which is quite lucrative. Others left to go work for Apple. When I left, I tried to get a job at The Spaghetti Factory.
Reinventing your career isn’t easy. But some make better choices than others.
It was 2013. I had quit my job with nothing lined up. After having recently had an anniversary there. 10 years. I knew if I didn’t leave, I’d easily be there another 10 years.
At first, it was a thrill. Driving against traffic. All the cars headed off in one direction. Brake lights. And me driving along the opposite way. Smooth sailing. My ego laughing, “I’m out of the rat race suckers!” As if I’d figured something out, that everyone else hadn’t. I was free.
Right off the bat, I got a freelance job directing some commercials. I had always wanted to be a director (to be the noun, do the verb), but my previous 10 year+ gig had been in editing. I made some money. Did some good work. Played some tennis with a friend.
But then winter came. And the work dried up. And suddenly, things weren’t so easy. In the spring. A montage of repetitive imagery. Pushing shopping carts, lawn mowers. Grass growing. Grass mowing. Grass growing. Grass mowing. Didn’t I want to escape such repetition?
Never before having worried about the yard, I found myself doing a lot of yard work. I devoured books by Joseph Campbell, philosophy, new age, spirituality, psychology. Got focused on self improvement.
In the end you quit your running, you quit trying to escape. You drop to your knees, in tears. And tears turn to blessings. You start accepting. You realize how hard you’ve been on yourself. How driven you are. And self improvement, begins to become self acceptance. And slowly you start liking the person you are. No longer pointing fingers at parents or bosses, but accepting your past, so you can move forward.
Summer comes and your friends help you out of your shell. You spend time by rivers, and enjoy gatherings. The many birthdays in a year.
Fall comes and the leaves are beautiful.
Winter comes and you worry, it’ll be like last winter. But it’s a new winter. And you’re a new you. The old you. Minus so much of the fear and pain.
I have to give up perfect and embrace duality. Had a nice time at the park then met a guy who lost his dog and I felt sad. The point is, the good and bad (and all the shades of gray in between) are happening at the same time. And this can be hard to accept but I suppose is part of being an adult.
At the end of 2016 I quit Twitter.
I had my partner change my password, because changing habits sometimes calls for drastic measures.
I didn’t log onto Twitter for four or five weeks after being on it for a few minutes or more, each day over the last year and a half. The election. Advertisements. Noise. Outrage. RTs. This horrible thing happened. This horrible thing is happening. HEY! BUY THIS SHINY THING! Look at this beautiful thing. OMG. RT. This is sooo funny.
I really didn’t want to keep having my cortisol raised every time something terrible happened in the world, and it showed up in the Top Ten Trending Subjects of the moment (or whatever the f–k they call it).
Today, I logged back on. And it was amazing. So good to spend some time away from it. Before when I used it on a daily basis, I could tell that there were too many ads. That it wasn’t providing me with much value. That the political overload was just helping to make my life more miserable, when you can have a beautiful day outside, under tall trees, walking with your dog, a better day at work, or doing just about anything. And you don’t have to feel guilty for tuning out. You’re not changing the world with a fucking re-tweet. Looking through the feed today, after being away from Twitter for weeks, I realized something. This is all just junk mail. This is all, just noise.
I’m starting to feel the same with Instagram. Since selling to Facebook, it’s become worse and worse. It’s inevitable. Are we all just going to hide out and waste our lives scrolling through feeds of our friend’s rants about weather or politics or other things that aren’t in or control? Are we going to continue to electively choose to watch Digiornia Pizza ads that show up between pictures of kid’s birthdays and tropical vacation bragging?
Or do we want to use the time we have on this planet in a different way?
2017 is a hard time to be a human being on Planet Business.
And the politics – I mean, what the hell is happening? Not good things. It can really raise your anxiety. Because it’s out of your control.
1.5 million people called Senators to stop the nomination of an unqualified candidate to become the Secretary of Education. It didn’t work. Pay to play. She bought her way in.
It’s easy to feel powerless right now, for those paying attention.
But we must remember to exercise our power in our daily life. Head to the bulk section of the supermarket instead of purchasing yet another product wrapped in plastic. Take the bus and get some reading or writing done. Skip meat some meals. Be aware. And make some small changes.
Be the change you wish to see.
There is a guy outside the pharmacy with a big coat and he is saying, “Movies. DVDs. Movies. DVDs.” I am curious about the selection he has, but I don’t want to open up his coat.
a journey back to yourself. without a walk through the woods, a bit lost in the shadows, how could any of us appreciate the warm light when it hits our face. but don’t put it on a mantle. don’t stare into the sun. everything in moderation. taste the mountain dew. and i’m not referring to the beverage that masquerades as it. swim in the river naked, then google if that’s a crime. either way, do the time. guilt has no place in my journey.
a movie helped me with that…
He was on a guilt trip.
I saw that movie, in it’s mystery and madness- a word I’m not particularly found of. Hmmm…more work to do there. Fears like scars that need to heal.
Let go. Reveal. Reveal. So sensitive young one.
He was on a guilt trip.
I have been on a guilt trip.
The alcoholic in the bar explaining to me about other alcoholics I was worried about.
Reminding me that everyone was on their own trip.
Three things come together. That bar. That guy. That movie. Then….POOF.
YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR TRIP?
How do you do that?
Let go! But that does not mean, fade back on into the background. I’m talking about living your life in the foreground, but focusing your lenses on the things that really matter.
I’ve been changing my trip.
I’m on a good trip now.