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

Get Your Hands Dirty …
January 17, 2012, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

I like planning.

Yes I know I had a bitch about it last week and I’d rather be back living my pretend Rock God life … but I like it … and after 20 odd years, I think that’s a pretty good achievement.

Maybe it’s because it’s the only job I can think of that expects me to talk to the weird and wonderful out there.

Or maybe it’s simply because they let me wear my beloved Birkenstocks?

Who knows, but I like it.

But the thing I am especially happy about is that I work in a part of the World – and an agency – that still expects me to ‘do stuff’ regardless of the the fancy title I have.

Now for some, that news might sound like hell, but I like it.

No, I love it.

You see apart from the fact – as I said – I enjoy doing what I do, I still, possibly naively, believe my best work is ahead of me, not behind.

Then there’s the fact that I am continually looking to prove to myself that I’m any good at what I do.

I’ve written about my insecurities in the past but despite still being employed after 20 years and working at arguably, the best agency in the World, I still wonder if I am any good at what I do.

Sometimes I think I am … sometimes I think I’m not … but I’d rather have more good days than bad and to be honest, I’m not sure if that’s the case.

The beauty of my position is that I can evaluate my success beyond just the work I produce, I get to see it through the achievements of my talented team of planning bastards.

I’ve said it before, but as much as I don’t want any of them to ever leave, if they do – I want them to go to a much better job than they might otherwise of expected, because that lets me kid myself my guidance and encouragement has helped them achieve things that got them to that position.

Of course it hasn’t, but it lets me delude myself for a little longer.

But at the end of the day, I like doing planning.

Getting into projects rather than just conducting them.

I like the energy, the pressure, the tension and the results.

I like seeing what a team of talented people can do together … what is inside people’s heads … how they can make good things better.

The thought of just ‘managing’ doesn’t do it for me.

To be honest, one of the reasons we sold cynic was because that’s what a few of us found ourselves doing.

Don’t get me wrong, it was great – but we had evolved into a classic ‘management’ position, without even realising it – and that was counter to why we started the company in the first place.

I don’t know what this post is really saying other than always find ways to do the things you love … because career advancement shouldn’t mean enjoyment decline especially, as my Dad used to say, if you’re going to be away from the people who matter most – ie: family – you owe it to them to be doing things you like or that’s the ultimate insult.

38 Comments so far
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you like planning? you fucking sick fuck.

Comment by andy@cynic

and what you mean is you like getting paid for planning while you do fuck all except write bollock blog posts, buy overpriced pointless shit with my share of the cynic moolah and have a shitload of fucking holidays.

Comment by andy@cynic

That’s just nitpicking.

Comment by Rob

and whats all this bollocks about why we sold cynic. i thought it was because we were offered a fuckload of cash. or i thought we were but i hadnt fucking banked on you coming over all bill fucking gates. thieving fucking bastard.

Comment by andy@cynic

It worked for me and I wasn’t even working there anymore.

Comment by Billy Whizz

of course it fucking did, it keeps you in the fucking lifestyle you dont fucking deserve to have. at least my ex wives did something for their excessive fucking payout, you did nothing except hang around the fucking office for a few years. come to think of it, so did they.

Comment by andy@cynic

If it’s any consolation Andy, even Jill – the kindest woman in the World [mainly for agreeing to marry me] said, “You’re never doing that again” and I won’t … I haven’t got any access to your cash anymore. Ha.

Comment by Rob

no campbell, thats no fucking consolation at fucking all.

Comment by andy@cynic

your old mans view on work is fucking good but what happens if your child is like you campbell? fuck me if my impending financial parasite ends up like you, working as a switchboard operator at draft fcb would sound an exciting fucking prospect.

Comment by andy@cynic

You’ll be able to tell me in a couple of months.

Comment by Rob

What? Robert is having a baby? How on earth did I miss this?

Comment by Northern

No … ANDY is having the baby and it comes out in a couple of months. Though if he/she is anything like their father in relation to deadlines, they might wait another couple of months.

Comment by Rob

dont get your panties in a twist over all this abuse crikey, campbell likes this shit, he thinks it keeps him real. im basically a fucking saint.

Comment by andy@cynic

Of course you like getting your hands dirty Rob. Who wouldn’t like to get paid a fortune for mumbling some stuff no one hears or cares about and that doesn’t make the slightest difference to the end result. I’d want that job too of I didn’t have any self respect and charisma.

Comment by Billy Whizz

thats more fucking like it.

Comment by andy@cynic

Pot. Kettle. Black.

Comment by Rob

Kettle? Who the fuck uses a kettle anymore?

Comment by Billy Whizz

not tattoo obsessed fucking alcoholics thats for fucking sure.

Comment by andy@cynic

Great point and great post. I’m amazed how many planners think their job stops once the brief is written. The idea of working with the creatives and helping sell the work is alien to them. As far as I’m concerned, they’re not planners their process handlers, though with some of the planning I’ve seen in my career, that might be a good thing for the creatives, clients and public involved.

Comment by Pete

seriously pete, are you really this nice or is it all some fucking trick to try and win the fucking peace prize? sadly i think youre really that nice. what the fuck were we thinking when we hired you?

Comment by andy@cynic

Wasn’t it all Auntie and Rob’s fault?

Comment by Billy Whizz

everyfuckingthing wrong in the world is.

Comment by andy@cynic

You mean what you were doing was “managing”? I never knew. Well done.

Comment by DH

Except you Andy, you were the best manager in the world. It was the other 2 that were the problem.

Comment by DH

well thats fucking obvious. i was out making us look like a bunch of fucking geniuses while campbell and auntie spent all their fucking time working on projects that either made us no fucking money or could have been done by some dimwit intern. but oh no, fuck working on any shit that would fill the office coffers, they were too involved in things that “interested them”. and what did i get out of this? 25 fucking percent ownership. twenty fucking five. fucking robbery. pricks.

Comment by andy@cynic

Hang on, you knew that … which is why I was never allowed to enter any fee negotiations with clients. George on the other hand was a nightmare! Ha.

Comment by Rob

Classic management position: her on top doing all the work while you zone out and reap rewards…

Campbell planning Kama sutra speak..

Comment by Niko

dont ever put that picture of campbell in my head niko. ever.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by Billy Whizz

hands…dirty…picture…post…sorry Rob but it made no sense to me except what your dad said…that is true…

I would like to say something for which I apologise given that I don’t know you and don’t mean to offend you…but, why do you whine so much about your clearly spectacular life…you have it all yet go on about not deserving it or something like that…obviously you do deserve it so stop pity party…

again I apologise…it had to be said

Comment by swati

Hi there – I’m confused, you literally didn’t get what I was trying to say in this post? The importance of still getting involved with the job, regardless what your title is?

OK, well that’s disappointing then.

Now to your other comment.

First of all I’d like to say I have never whined about my “spectacular life”. I fully appreciate how lucky and fortunate I am and I have worked very hard for it … but that aside, I do question if I’m any good at my job regardless of title, agency or income and so my comments are not some attempt to seek praise [or promote pity] they are genuine musings about how I feel about what I do.

You might think I’m silly for this – and that’s fine – but it’s how I feel and I know many other people in a similar situation to me – people you would think live the most spectacular of spectacular lives.

I guess one issue is that I know people who are far better qualified or do far better things with their life – however their personal situation isn’t anywhere near as good as mine so I wonder if what I do is down to ability, talent or luck.

It’s probably a bit of all 3 because without doubt, luck, has played a massive part in how my life has turned out [along with timing and an ability to move countries] but it’s not a pity party, it’s actually me being very open about whether I feel I can look in the mirror and feel all I have is deserved or just one of those happy accidents.

Personally I think that is better than the alternative – being a cocky bastard simply because of what I do and who I do it for … but that’s just me.

So no offense taken, but it would be good to remember all people are wracked with insecurities, conflict and confusion … even if they tend to be smarter than me and keep it well hidden.

Comment by Rob

OK. So admit that I may not have read the post with greatest concentration before I got on my high horse.

Also admit (after having read your response) that I am shithead for saying what I did.

In all honesty, I think it is hard for me to see/read that people as talented as you feel this way because it leaves no hope for people like me who may not be nearly half as talented. Hence the awkward perhaps uncalled for response. Sincere apologies.

I want to believe that we can reach a point when we transcend the insecurities, conflicts and confusion. I hoped personal and professional success would make us get there, knowing that it is naive of me to think so.

Lastly, I did get the point of your post.

Comment by swati

Don’t knock Robert’s insecurities Swati, it was very useful to us at fee negotiation time.

Comment by Lee Hill

Andy would be proud of that one Lee.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I really miss to work in an agency with all of my ideal goals.

Comment by ñoña

Those planning documents leave nasty stains Rob, but instead of carpets, it’s in our brains.

Comment by DH

wow :]

Comment by toto

Top post. I’ve thought a bit about this; and my sense is that it’s not the ‘management’ bit that is soul-destroying. Sometimes, it’s just the stuff that comes along with it – the lifestyle elements. Now, I don’t blame people. It is individuation or what Gaga adroitly terms as ‘the fame monster’. People can, and do get carried away (someone I bumped into called it ‘the expat lifestyle’ – ‘they’re functioning alcoholics, really’). Maybe more so in Asia – the sense of identity, individuality is still being defined here. May be a bit different from other parts of the world.

So yes, it’s all very well to get carried away with the heady stuff that success brings. If we are aware of our actions – and can see that everything that doesn’t contribute towards good work (subjective, i know) is really a distraction, then I’d say management is really doing a good job. Another fellow I bumped into, offered an anecdote – the famed hhcl never had chairs for meetings – Why? because it got faster decisions. That’s the kind of stuff management need to be thinking about, I reckon. Or giving their charges a sense of freedom. This is, after all, the business of fun.

p.s. the posts keep getting better – more power to you.

Comment by harshal

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