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

We All Need Someone To Compare Ourselves To …
April 28, 2011, 6:03 am
Filed under: Comment

A long time ago, in a land far away, I was given a reference that stated:

“Robert is driven by hate, but in a good way”.

Now on first impressions, it may appear that the person who said this was an idiot – but he wasn’t, he was a genius.

You see in one single line, he proved he ‘got me’.

While I don’t deny that I can be – and have pretty much always been – a cynical, opinionated and gutter-mouthed shit … the reality is that I am only like that because I hate it when people/companies get treated – or represented – unfairly and so when someone starts taking the piss, I start getting all piss and vinegar.

Now I appreciate this implies I think my judgement is the be-all and end-all … and whilst I’d love to think that’s the case, I know that couldn’t be further from the truth … however when you get companies like GREY treating Asia like this, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out they need a good kicking.

Anyway, the reason for his comment was because he knew my “issues” would ensure I’d do all I could to help our clients be the better than they thought they could be … which meant he got happier clients, more money and better platforms for his creative guys to weave their magic on.

However, despite this person having an incredible influence on my career, the person who probably had the most was a guy I’ll refer to as BS.

Basically I hated BS.

Sure he was smart and clever, but his self-serving attitude and eagerness to put others down [in a bid to make him look good in client and bosses eyes] made me sick.

He genuinely thought he was a rockstar – which he expressed by doing all he could to act, sound & look like the lead singer of a rather well known, full of their own self fucking importance rock band.

He thought he was better than everyone at everything.

Planning? Everyone is beneath him.
Creative? He is on par with the best of the best.
Management? He could do it with his eyes closed.

And while he was genuinely a good planner, his creative and management ability was an embarrassment – though he neither saw it or acknowledged it, mainly because he preferred to spend his time getting pissed with whichever creative was the current ‘superstar’ of the day and belittling anyone who dared do anything good that he had nothing to do with.

I remember he once asked for my comments on a paper he’d written for one of our clients.

I say ‘he asked for my comments’ but what he actually wanted was my fawning.

Well I didn’t play to the script because whilst it was genuinely well written [he was/is a fantastic writer] what he said was basically exactly the same as they were already doing and I told him so.

Next thing I know, he’s telling management ‘I don’t get it’ and I would probably be better being let go.

Seriously, he wanted to get me sacked just because I said something he’d written wasn’t as good as he thought it was.

Anyway, it all sorted itself out because within weeks he left – taking a massive gig at an agency that fell for his big talking, best mate drinking act … and I have to say, without him, we blossomed.

No longer were we being kept out of meetings … belittled … ignored …

No longer were our bosses being fobbed off with half truths or excuses …

No longer were our clients being presented with stuff that they’d either seen before or just felt was plain wrong …

As I said, the tragedy was he was a great brain … someone who could have made amazing things happen … but instead, his ego and arrogance took over and so all he left behind was mess and mayhem.

But like most things, there was a silver lining.

You see, I hated the way he treated me and my colleagues.

I hated how he had tried to get me sacked over nothing.

I hated how he achieved his success by being booze buddies with influential people.

I hated how anyone who didn’t agree with him was labelled an ‘idiot’ or ‘old school’.

I hated how he was constantly moving higher and higher despite doing having no work associated with his name.

And I took all that hate and worked my ass off.

I took on more work, more responsibility and more chances because I needed to show him I was worthy of his respect.

I know … I know … I shouldn’t have cared, but I did … not because I regarded him as someone I looked up to, but because he was someone I wanted to make eat his words.

Yes it was pathetic … yes it was pure and utter pettiness and revenge … but you know what, it did a lot for me because as I followed his career and saw he was getting ‘found out’ by more and more companies, it made me work harder because I wanted to get to that point where our careers would pass … and whilst I’d never actually say something to him [if only for the fact he’d then say I owed whatever I’d achieved to him. And mean it] the fact is my anger towards him probably drove me more in my career than any desire to be half decent at what I do.

I know it all sounds like some bad 1980’s Hollywood sports movie – and underneath it all, I am sad a person with more talent than I’d ever have has pissed it all away literally and metaphorically – but I guess what I’m saying is that as much as we all need people to encourage us and believe in, don’t underestimate the importance of also having someone you want to beat.

35 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Driven by hate?

And pettiness, immaturity, anger, musical judgement, football scores, faces you want to smack for no logical reason, revenge.

That person didn’t know you so well Rob because there’s so much more to you than just hate.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Rob calls that multifaceted.

Comment by DH

Or equal opportunity bastard.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Or proving men can multitask.

Comment by Rob

Or should I say, multi-hate?

Comment by Rob

Should say I relate to this post more than any other you’ve written because you’re my BS. It’s like a compliment, only it isn’t.

Comment by Billy Whizz

The good news for you Billy is you’re too inconsequential to be anyone’s BS.

Comment by DH

I’m too nice and talented to be hated? Thanks Dave.

Comment by Billy Whizz

I never thought I’d ever see the words ‘nice’ and ‘talented’ next to each other when discussing you Billy. Congrats, even if it was you that came up with them.

Comment by Rob

Vengeance is indeed a dish best served cold and that was an excellent reference – not just because of its accuracy but because it would only be appreciated by people who were worth working with.

Now, tell me, has Deputy Whizz got himself a posse?

Comment by John

Of hot babes all eager to please. They’re just away right now.

Comment by Billy Whizz

You should have saved this post till Andy came bak because it’s the only one you’ve written since he’s been gone that he wouldn’t think was total shit. It’s 67% shit, but not total. Congratulations.

Comment by Billy Whizz

I’m guessing BS is code for George, am I right?

Comment by Billy Whizz

Don’t tell him, but you’re right.

Comment by Rob

I knew it, he’s such a fucking bastard.

Comment by Billy Whizz

I know who BS is (it’s not George) and know he’s a prick of the highest order but I don’t think he is the main reason for your career Rob, you do have some natural talent at this planning lark.

That said, I love your honesty in this post. Everyone in the ad biz will meet with or work with someone like BS and you’ve told them not to get dragged down by them, but to put them in their metaphorical gun sights and shoot them through achievement. Sadly it won’t always turn out that way, but as we said at cynic, anger is energy and it could still get you further than you otherwise might achieve.

Good, raw, honest post.

Comment by Pete


Comment by DH

Thirded, but then I would say that wouldn’t I.

Comment by Rob

-1. So we’re back down to seconded.

Comment by Billy Whizz

-1. So it’s now just Pete’s comment and no one cares about that.

Comment by Billy Whizz

I am quite disappointed BS is not me, or at least I am assuming he is not, but then I am quite sure I know who Robert is referring to and having heard the stories and seen the aftermath of his actions, I know that even in my darkest hour, I would fail to reach the ankles of this self centered, delusional and reckless fellow. Very few people may admit it, but applied anger is as much a valuable trait as talent and ambition.

Comment by George

“Applied anger” … a George type statement if there ever was one.

And yes, the BS you’re thinking about is definitely the BS I’m talking about … and I’ve just heard he’s still doing the same old schmooze/hate schtick he’s been doing for years. Poor bastard, he doesn’t realise people talk and so it’s not having nearly the same effect as it used to.

God I’m such a bitter bitch. Oh well, he deserves every word of it.

Comment by Rob

Thanks for putting these words on screen.

Ayear ago last week, I was fired for not following the direction of a shady social media expert. The next day I was re-hired & I’ve lived my ad-life in complete opposition to the huckster ever since. Positioning yourself perpindicular to evil feels incredible. Cheers!

Comment by Bryan Jones

Remember Bryan, perpendicular to evil is in the eye of the beholder, ha.

Comment by Rob

The easier way is to just do the opposite of whatever Rob does or thinks.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Funny, that’s what I said about you …

Comment by Rob

good post this. you know how angry I am.

Comment by marcus

Well to be honest, you’ve seemed fairly bloody content as of late – so please spill the beans, it would be nice to capture the old magic.

Comment by Rob

Rather good post. You should right more about your career and stuff – I’d bet quite a few people would find it both interesting and useful.
There aren’t that many who have ‘been there and done it’ who are so open abut stuff, it would be good.

Comment by northern

But wouldn’t I have to rename this post “Mistakes of an opinionated sod”? I tell you what, you write about how it feels to be a Dad to two kids and I’ll write some more about something I actually think very few people would care about. Deal?

By the way, how are the A[P]SOTW entries coming along?

Comment by Rob

Entries starting to come in.

Comment by northern

Can hate be good…?

Comment by Rob Mortimer

It served Robert and the boys well, but that’s because it wasn’t ever really about hate, more about justice. Well, for Robert and George. 🙂

Comment by Pete

The reply I was looking for was “Can hate be great?” then some whistling! I thought W+K folks were drilled in singing this ad!

But I agree!

Comment by Rob Mortimer


Comment by Billy Whizz

Leave a Reply