The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

It’s How You Act In Bad Times That Shows Who You Really Are …
July 27, 2010, 6:13 am
Filed under: Comment


So way back before electricity was invented, I wrote an email that made Jerry Maguire’s infamous diatribe look positively tame in comparison.

Whilst it caused a massive stir at the time – resulting in me having to go to a libel lawyer [kindly supplied by a client of mine] – I somehow got away with it.

To be honest, when I read it now, I realise I was a total and utter prick … because even though I did it for the right reasons, the way I approached it was very fucking bad indeed and regardless that it was all true [hence he didn’t take me to court] the fact I still am able to work in this industry is amazing.

To be fair to me – as well as prove my ignorance – I only sent the email to a small group of people … people who I not only regarded as friends, but thought they felt the same way about this person as I did.

But I was wrong.

And whilst it would be easy to blame the individual who passed it outside our small group and into the big bad world, the fact is [1] it was all my fault and [2] it taught me a very valuable lesson that anyone who assumes they know how people will respond, is an idiot.

I know you might think this email shows I’ve gone soft … but you’d be wrong.

I absolutely believe in standing up for what you believe in rather than following a party-line you fundamentally disagree with [as my copious amounts of bollocksing at HHCL will testify] however I believe that when you have an issue, you shouldn’t approach it by throwing all your toys out the pram because not only will that approach generally fail to work, it also means the other party will view you with less respect and before you know it, you’ll end up being seen as a supplier rather than a partner and that is ultimately the worst scenario you could find yourself in because you’ll not only end up frustrated, but you’ll see countless wonderful opportunities just pass on by.

As far as I am concerned, you have a moral obligation to stand up for what you believe in, but if you forget the other party needs to understand your point of view to stand any chance of resolution – you’re going to be forever making enemies.

In reality, my email was weak.

Whilst I’d addressed my concerns to the person in question numerous times, the email was basically pettiness. As I said, it was meant for a small group of people – but like all good viral spots, the exaggerated extreme made it a social commodity and I was unfortunately the currency.

If you want my advice, don’t follow my lead – if you have issues, deal with it at the time with clarity and understanding – because anything else proves we might work in the communication industry, but we don’t know how to communicate.

Anyway, as I know you are all nosy fuckers, I’m guessing you want to see what I actually wrote – but in a rare moment of clarity, I’ve decided it’s probably best if I only give you a sample of random paragraphs [with names and specific information removed for my safety, ha! because not only did it go on for pages, I actually don’t want to rake up old wounds because this isn’t something I’m proud of, quite the opposite actually.

“… over the last few months I have seen XXXXX, lie, cheat and manipulate people and situations to maximise his personal wealth at the expense of almost all others around him. He doesn’t care what he does, if it makes him money, he is happy with it.”

“… XXXXX loves being seen as the Advertising Guru … The Business Innovator … The Marketing Warrior … but in reality, he is none of these things. What he actually is, is the most insecure, insincere man I have ever met.”

“… for a man in the communication business, he isn’t very good at communicating. When he was going to make some people redundant, he first told XXXXX who went around telling the office who was for the axe BEFORE even the people concerned were told!!!”

“… rumours are that he takes ‘back-handers’ from some of the people he deals with. Though there is no proof of this, I can say the quality of the freelancers he forces us all to use can’t be because of their quality of work.”

“… a boss has a responsibility to ALL he oversee’s and I know that means hard decisions at times, but everything he did benefited one thing and thing alone … himself, and that is why I am so angry!”

Pretty bad isn’t it.

I’ve re-read the whole thing and still can’t work out what the hell I was thinking.

Underneath it all, the intentions were genuine because I was upset about what I had seen him do to people I cared about – but the way I did it, regardless of the supposed ‘private’ audience it was being sent to, comes across as the immature ramblings of a spoilt little prick … which is probably a fair evaluation, bar the ‘spoilt’ bit.

Being strong in your views is very different to childish bullying and name calling and while I’d like to think I won’t ever make that mistake again, there are times when I read this blog and end up putting my head in my hands and going “Oh No …”

57 Comments so far
Leave a comment

you make it sound like what you did was a bad thing. of course if you did anything like that with us id of killed you but it does make me hark back to the times when you had balls rather than this sanitised version which is far too fucking nicey nicey and considerate for my liking. guess you can take the boy out of google but you cant take the kool aid out the boy.

and you missed out all the good bits from the email. wimp.

Comment by andy@cynic

Bloody hell!

I’d heard about this story through whispering along the cynic corridors but I’d never read any of the specifics. You really did a hatchet job on him didn’t you and Andy say’s you missed out the good bits!

Over the top or not, the few quotes you give show he didn’t care about his people or the work so don’t be too hard on yourself, but I do suggest you follow your advice and don’t do it again though the “incident” with RB/SR shows the potential is still there, you just do it to their face and not in writing. :))

Comment by Pete

Someone worse than you? I would never of believed it.

Nice writing though.

Comment by Billy Whizz

While time may make what Rob did appear cool, it wasn’t, it was a very stressful and nervous period brought about by his hair trigger approach to doing the right thing. Naturally I admire the attitude, one that remains to this day, but the execution certainly wasn’t one of his best.

Comment by George

you fucking spoilsport. admit it, its a bit cool, at least for campbell. sure its fucking stupid but as potential career car crashes go, it was pretty fucking spectacular.

and look on the brightside, he got it out of his system before he started cynic. i know he did more than a fucking few “tough love” emails to clients and colleagues over the years, but nothing as fucking bad/stupid/justifiable homicide as that which has to be a good thing doesnt it?

it should act as an inspiration to anyone who wants to work in adland because if campbell can still be employed after some of the shit hes pulled (and lets face it, theres a fuck load more hes done that would put toby fucking young to shame) anyone can.

so stop being auntie, hes admitted he was a cock, let people view get a glimpse of him when he would start an argument in an empty house. or in other words, when he was interesting and fun.

Comment by andy@cynic

You’re incorrigible.

Comment by George

you know how to say all the right fucking words.

Comment by andy@cynic

kanye and I could of used this post a bit earlier…

still feel beyonce’s video was best

Comment by niko

Rupert Howell was right about you Robert.

Comment by Bazza

explain yourself.

Comment by andy@cynic

Didn’t he say Rob was driven by hate?

Comment by Bazza

dont think it was him but some fucker did. for someone as small as a church mouse, you have a memory as big as an elephant. even more so as you never fucking worked for rupert. dont tell me, its the new imemory which looks and performs just like the fucking iphone.

Comment by andy@cynic

Sticks and stones. 🙂

Comment by Bazza

theyd hurt if my words were written on pieces of wood and smashed into your face.

Comment by andy@cynic

Can hate be good?…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Can be for me Mr M … in so much as it motivates me to try and change something. Hey, there’s an ad in that …

Comment by Rob


Comment by Rob Mortimer

Of course the guy didn’t sue, he was relieved you didn’t put a horses head in his bed.

Comment by DH

Amazing attack but who was it about?

Comment by Patrick

you have to ask campbell, even i know im not allowed to say. see, im mr fucking mature these days too.

Comment by andy@cynic

You are a role model to us all.

Comment by Billy Whizz

too fucking right i am.

Comment by andy@cynic

Hello Patrick, nice to have you come and say hello.

Even though I knew when I wrote this post I’d be opening the door to curiosity, I actually didn’t do it to rake up the past [which is why I won’t be mentioning names] but because I wanted to show how throwing your toys out the pram, doesn’t really get you anywhere – at least long term – even though many people seem to be of the impression it does, encouraged by the FICTION of programs like Mad Men and the like.

George’s initial comment is right … and that doesn’t mean I’ve gone soft and it doesn’t mean I don’t stand up for what I believe in whether it’s colleague/client/work issues, it’s just I do it in a way that increases the odds of resolution rather than just making an enemy for life.

Must be Asia’s influence and my appreciation of allowing people to maintain face whilst getting my own way, ha.

Comment by Rob


Comment by andy@cynic

Never put it in writing.

Comment by John

never put it in writing and send it to a bunch of fucking people.

i dont mean “fucking” people, theyd be ok because theyd be too busy to read it unless its billy and then its all over in 3 seconds, i mean masses of bastards, thats the key.

Comment by andy@cynic

Clarified like a lawyer. Very impressive.

Comment by Rob

infact you shouldnt even fucking say it because you might find someone like campbell has recorded it. just in case.

you didnt bring that episode up did you campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

Errrm, no.

But thanks for bringing it up.

Comment by Rob

dodds started it with the “dont put it in writing” bollocks.

Comment by andy@cynic

Yep, all John’s fault, you are – as usual – blameless … just like my recording incidents, haha!

Comment by Rob

That was a few weeks to remember wasn’t it Robert.

Comment by Lee Hill

Understatement calling Lee.
Understatement calling Lee.
Come in please …

Comment by Rob

Oh dear.

Comment by Marcus

That’s what I said when I found out how it had spread.

Comment by Rob


Comment by Chris

I too have learned the hard way.
There was the time I pressed reply instead of send to the worst junior client I ever had. Luckilly, her boss liked me and while he publicly made show of me, in private he told me and my boss she was an annoying breadstick.
Incidentally, the last nail in the coffin of MC Saatchi’s relationship with BA was a planner doing something similar but not getting away with it.
Then there was the Judas who leaked my ranting email about our IT manager – he took particular umbrage to my assertion that the server was running on ‘the dark side of the force and the cigarette lighter in his lame hyundai coupe’

Comment by northern

A serious question, how did it change your approach … or didn’t it? And what did it teach you? Are you of the same opinion as me or something entirely different.

Also – and this might sound like the most offensive idea to you EVER – but I have to work with you sometime, if only for helping me look at my time with Andy in a more positive light, ha!

Comment by Rob

It certainly did. Taught me to never to retaliate in anger, taught me to use anger postitively – gives you energy for all sorts, taught me that constructive rebellion is actually quite powerful and taught me that angry IT managers know an awful lot about what you do all day.
Are you suggesting that I’m worse than Andy?

Comment by northern

Just teasing … he does more on an average day to cause havoc than most people could muster in a lifetime. And it makes him proud.

Comment by Rob

stop fucking complaining campbell, you had the time of your fucking miserable life.

Comment by andy@cynic

it looks like this man deserved all the ‘praise’ he got. and even if i think it was probably not the right way to write a harsh email, i guess chatter/thoughts saying the same things was going on anyway. i somehow got the feeling it would not have ended better for you, if you would have told the man in question to his face. and what about the boss’s boss? s/he should have had an eye on preventing people getting dissatisfied and angry. but who am i kidding… i guess a get together with a mediator didnt happen either. did you get fired? oh yeah, and im only assuming what the situation was like…

the person who leaked the email didnt behave like a prick. is that what youre saying? i strongly disagree. because if s/he thought the email was inappropriate, s/he should have told you instead of making it worse for everyone. i can only speculate if s/he did it to get a personal advantage out of the situation? that thought alone makes me feel sick. thanks rob. no lunch for me.

Comment by peggy

If Jill ever comes to her senses and divorces me, I’m going to marry you.

[Sorry, that is not meant to sound like a threat!]

Comment by Rob

A threat to poor Jill or poor Peggy?

Comment by northern

funnily enough, my email account didnt want to take the comment notification emails lol!

“if jill ever comes to her senses and divorces me” just shows you know how lucky you are to have her. nonetheless… jill! kick him! 😀

ps: didnt you tell lauren before that she would be next? if i were you, i would be very cautious with things like that. as far is i know, you can end up paying alimony due to false promises of marriage in some countries, especially if its all well documented 😉

Comment by peggy

hey andy, can you give me the details of your ex wives’ alimony lawyers? i think i might have a case they’d like..


Comment by lauren

william beslow can fuck people like theyve been mounted by a a herd of wild stallions.

let him do his worst, it might make me feel better im not the only victim.

Comment by andy@cynic

between this and winnebago man, i kinda feel like listening to christian bale go off at an ADP and having a good lie down!

ask lara bingle about damaging reputations from indiscreet peeps. the law ostensibly protects those kinds of fuckers who redistribute this kind of damage. sad fucks.

interestingly, i don’t think there has been time to develop a clear ettiquette and ‘social norm’ about discretion with sensitive information. nobody would have bothered redistributing a letter or memo with this kind of gusto pre-interwebs. would they?

Comment by lauren

Christian Bale?

Is that a compliment or insult, I’m still trying to work that out. Oh, and you’re right but then that’s your annoying habit.

Comment by Rob

neither insult nor compliment – just the kind of calibre i’m noticing here 🙂

oh, and i save ‘being right’ for your blog, rob. i’m dead wrong everywhere else. heh.

Comment by lauren

ok, i think i have read this post over and over again and i’m putting my hand up… what are you meant or what should you have done at the time then? just sit back and watch it all unfold before you and not say anything? isn’t it like knowing the brakes on a car don’t work and watching someone get in it and drive off into a car crash?

did i totally misread everything? :/

Comment by sky tao

Hi Sky [that was not meant to rhyme]

The issue is that all I did on this occasion was throw a bunch of pointless barbs at someone when what I should have done is try and address the issues to a greater extent when they arose. To his face.

To be fair to me, I did attempt to do this to a certain extent, but I know that the way I would have approached it meant it was doomed to failure almost from the beginning. Of course these issues often arise and sometimes you have to play a bit unfair when circumstances demand it … but sending an email listing a bunch of this guys major moments of stupidity achieved nothing because the tone I adopted made me sound like a bitter teenager rather than truly show him for the bastard he really was.

Comment by Rob

got it… though for me i would have read your email as someone who wasn’t in a position to effect a change and so could only do what he could and warn others of a danger that stood in front of them and to proceed with caution… ! People who know you would be able to see that 1. this is out of the norm for you to react and act this way & 2. because of 1. what you’re relaying must have some validity and truth for you to be compelled to act that way! I mean sure it may look a tad childish but then again I suppose you really felt that you were being bullied and when the bully is the person in charge what else can you do?

I sure do like reading your posts cos’ its so broad in topics yet meaningful and real and really leaves one feeling rejuvenated after reading them; for they know that there at least is someone out there working with a soul and heart and actually gives a damn! 🙂

Comment by sky tao

After writing this post what do I go and do?

I fucking do a similar sort-of thing again … except this time it was a case of me being cheeky rather than serious, but still caused a potential whole heap of trouble – and what’s worse, with someone I really like, respect and am excited to do some stuff with.

I am going home to wash my mouth out with soap and get bollocked by the wife for potentially having to tell her we’re moving again.

This ‘being an employee’ is hard. And weird.

Lesson learnt. AGAIN. Better pull my head in, I’m not a cat and I’ve already had more ‘lives’ than I deserve.

Jesus I’m a dick at times. Brain please engage fingers, don’t let them just go off on their own devices.

Comment by Rob

what the fuck have you done this time you tit? not that i give a fuck, its quite enjoyable to know someone else has to clean up your shit.

Comment by andy@cynic

Oh dear oh dear oh dear

Comment by northern

you can take the boy out of fucksville but you cant take fucksville out the boy.

Comment by andy@cynic

Leave a Reply