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.
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 was at a small independent pet store yesterday looking at dog toys and noticed one that was hand-made in America, using old denim. I thought this was a great idea. Then I asked how much it cost. $13.99. For a toy my dog is going to chew apart in 10 minutes. I looked at all the other Made In China toys. Lots of plastic, rubber, etc. Most of them $6. I was going to go ahead and buy a cheap one, but then I realized THIS IS THE WHOLE PROBLEM. Sometimes you have to take a IT CHANGES WITH ME attitude and do the right thing. I bought the $13.99 toy (the cashier decided to give me a few dollars off!) and my dog was extremely excited to tear it apart and get to the squeaker.
Two months ago, I signed up for the Adobe Creative Cloud, specifically, one piece of its software. For about $20, I could try it out, and $20 a month for software seemed affordable. I thought that’s cool. I had a good experience. But money’s a little tight right now, so I needed to cancel. Today, when I went to cancel the cloud, I was informed I’d need to pay $107 ! Apparently, I was locked into a year long contract, and resolving this has lead to me spending 30 minutes chatting with an overseas customer service rep in an attempt to get this fee waived.
This feels as difficult as getting out of Sprint (even though I was already out of contract). Sprint is like the Hotel California, you can check out anytime you like, but you just can’t ever leave. In fact, you can’t even cancel at their store, you have to call in.
Adobe seems to be using a similar tactic. Cut to me having to “internet chat.”
I wish companies would just make great products and let people come and go as they please.
But unfortunately, they treat their customers, a lot like they treat the earth. We get fracked and f**ked. And I don’t want to have this kind of negative, piss poor attitude.
You suck Adobe. You suck.
UPDATE: I went back to their website and it looks like it’s quite easy to make the same mistake I did, and sign up for AN ANNUAL account ($19.99) instead of a MONTHLY account ($29.99). So be cautious.
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.
Last week, the media ran a story about poll numbers showing that Donald Trump would beat Elizabeth Warren in a hypothetical 20/20 Presidential Match Up.
Now, if we’ve learned anything about polls after the 2016 election, it’s not to trust them. But how many of us just read something like that and accept it?
Now, look I’m pro-media. Sure, I’m still a little miffed that the New York Times failed to put this image on the front page of their paper when Bernie Sanders brought out 21,000 people in Sacramento (of all places), or that many news outlets went right along with the invasion of IRAQ. But generally, the news is pretty alright.
So, why would the media want to downplay the idea that Warren could win?
Because Wall Street doesn’t want Elizabeth Warren to win.
Then again, maybe the polls are right, and in four more years, this country will still be as sexist as it has been the last 200 years.
Sounds about right.
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. Say positive things about hippies.
Be aware. And make some small changes.
Be the change you wish to see.