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

Chapters Aren’t Just For Books …

So I have some big and exciting news. Well, it is for me …

On May 10th, I leave Wieden+Kennedy.

In addition to that, on May 16th, I leave China.

Given both have been my home for the last 7 years – one of the longest periods of my entire adult life – that means this is very big thing for me and I won’t deny it is bitter-sweet.

I’ve had an incredible time and leave with a bunch of memories, stories and learnings that I can honestly say will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Of course, I’ll miss so many things – the people, the culture, the colleagues the clients and the holidays* [ha] – but I still have a lot I want to try and experience and that just wasn’t going to happen if I stayed.

In addition, I need a place where my son can go out and play.

China is an amazing country, but the pollution means there have been too many days where he’s had to stay inside and that just isn’t what I want for him growing up.

That is very hard for me to admit, because I truly love and respect this country and would never want to speak bad of it because I’ll forever be grateful for how it embraced me, educated me and helped me thrive.

As for Wieden … well they have been awesome. 

I thought I would stay at W+K forever but unfortunately, we’re a very flat structured, relatively small company, so there’s just not that many options easily available for someone like me. Everyone tried to make it work but as I have no desire to be an MD and feel I’ve achieved everything [and more] that I set out to do in Shanghai – and that I was asked to do in Shanghai – I came to the realization that for me to keep growing, I had to try something different.

That said, there is absolutely no doubt that I have enjoyed one of the most exciting and fulfilling times of my professional career [so far] but right now, I need to go and try some stuff that takes everything I have learnt – from Wieden and beyond – and mix it with a bunch of new experiences and lessons so I can see what happens in a totally different environment and situation.

I’m very excited about that but I’ll always be super thankful for the chance Wieden gave me, especially because they never asked me to be anyone else other than myself.

Even when it annoyed the fuck out of them.

To have done 7 years in the best agency in the World, in one of the most amazing countries in the World with some of the best clients in the World is an incredible honour.

To have earned their trust enough that they asked a planner – a bloody planner! – to start and run their creative talent incubator, The Kennedys, is extra special.

But to have them say you’ve done a good job and you should go and explore but never rule out coming back, shows how special – and mental – they are.

And they are. Very, very special.

And mental.

So what next?

Well, I’ll announce that soon however what I will tell you is I’m swapping one country with an evil government regime for another.

That’s right, I’m moving to America.

To LA to be precise.

I swear this is not purely because I can get away with wearing Birkenstocks the whole time.

But it helped make our decision.

I’ll reveal all soon, but I’m very excited about this next chapter in life.

It will hopefully challenge and teach me a bunch of new things while offering my family the sort of environment they absolutely deserve to enjoy – and I’m incredibly grateful I have the chance to do this, especially at this point in my life.

But it’s even more than that.

You see my parents always said they wanted me to live a life of fulfilment rather than contentment and if they knew their only son was going to have experienced life in America, Europe and Asia, they would be super-proud.

As I get older, I realise what is becoming more important for me is less about how high up the career ladder I go [though, as Harrison Ford said, I won’t undervalue all the work it has taken to get me to my current position] and more about how varied my life experiences are.

This move is another step to fulfilling that … or it will be when it happens. Until then, you’ll have to put up with business as usual, which basically means more ranty rubbish blog posts.

Onwards …

* For the record, given many of you think I’ve done nothing over the past 7 years except go on holiday, you’ll be ecstatic to know I’ll be leaving Wieden just before I was going to be having my 6 week paid sabbatical. I guess you could call it ‘holiday karma’.

49 Comments so far
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That’s official, I’m moving.

Comment by Bazza

see you on the east coast?

Comment by andy@cynic

Big congratulations to Dan Wieden and the Chinese government.

Comment by DH

If this doesn’t get Trump impeached then nothing will.

Comment by DH

putin must be pissing himself at the fucking mess hes got america in.

Comment by andy@cynic

happy for otis and jill.
happy for wieden and china.
sorry for those fuckers in la. bet theyre praying for an earthquake before 5.16.

Comment by andy@cynic

What’s more alarming than Rob being regarded as newsworthy is people seem genuinely sad he’s leaving China. Guessing none of them actually work with him.

Comment by DH

or they all own fucking gadget and shit tshirt shops in shanghai.

Comment by andy@cynic

Or the marketing departments of Rob’s clients competitors.

Comment by DH

So, like everybody else, you’re moving to LA to pursue an acting career. Can you confirm that your first starring role will be in a new industry reality show called Sad Men?

Comment by John

The use of the word “men” is a bit optimistic.

Comment by DH

Meanwhile in Europe, he’s also become newsworthy.

Comment by John

That’s twice I’ve been topical this year … what’s going on?

Comment by Rob

Has anyone left a company and a country with such a heartfelt goodbye? I am sure both parties are very sad you are leaving but no one can begrudge you your next move. Congratulations Robert, it is very well deserved and you will thrive there.

Comment by Lee Hill

how the fuck do you know what hes doing?

Comment by andy@cynic

Fewer flights.

Comment by John


I am also quite certain you know what Robert is going to be doing as well, but if he has chosen not to announce it, I will respect that.

Comment by Lee Hill

I don’t know what he’s doing so thanks for making me feel insignificant.

Comment by DH

I know too David.

Comment by George


Comment by DH

I am sure Wieden are very sad but f anyone deserves this, it is you and your family. We are so happy for you and are excited you will practically be neigbours.

Comment by George

Exciting news Rob, congrats.

I have always admired the way you throw yourself in to new challenges, even when it means locating to totally different parts of the world. You’ll love LA and I think they may fall madly in love with you.

Comment by Pete

Thank you for all the nice insults/words. I know you’re all happy for me really … or at least happy for Jill, Otis and Rosie.

I’ll be seeing some of you a lot more often so I apologise in advance for that.

And Dave, I’m going to be doing 2 jobs, so you should double the level of insignificance you feel.

Comment by Rob

You mean you’ll be paid for doing 2 jobs that you’ll have other people do while you enjoy the sun.
I want to kill myself.

Comment by DH

And 2 jobs? Don’t you earn enough millions from one?

Comment by DH

If it’s any consolation, there will be a lot less holidays annnnnnnnd – if you read the ‘PS’ of the post – you’ll see I’m missing out on 6 weeks paid holiday. Does that make you feel any better?

Comment by Rob

And it’s really only one job … however I am going to be doing a weird but interesting project with a very famous band. And no, it’s not Queen [Damnit] … so I hope this stops you killing yourself, I really wouldn’t like that.

Comment by Rob

A super job at a super salary.
A project with a world famous band.
A great life with your awesome family in LA.
And this is supposed to make me feel better?

Comment by DH

campbell is a dick. nice work campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

Famous doesn’t mean good.

Comment by John

Not working John.

Comment by DH

[…] Rob on Chapters Aren’t Just For Books … […]

Pingback by Don’t Forget To Do The APSOTW Assignment … | The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

If you get a tan and speak in an American accent I will disown you. If you don’t, I’ll be extra proud of you. Congratulations Rob.

Comment by Wayne Green

Funny, when I was being interviewed, they asked me what I was most scared of and I replied, ‘Otis getting an American accent’.

Given he already says elevator, band-aid and zee [instead of zed], the change is already happening … however when he say’s “Mom” instead of “Mum”, that’s when the shit is really going to hit the fan, ha.

Comment by Rob

Rob, my trips to China were always made better by your unvarnished perspective and passions for the place. As a parent…good on you for finding fresher air. As a professional…I’m excited to hear about your next step. Thanks for sharing a great “exit blog” and we’ll alert US Immigration…I’m sure they are eagerly awaiting your arrival.

Comment by Paul Swangard

You will help make America great again. Congratulations Rob, whoever got you here made a phenomenal choice.

Comment by Jonathan Rosenberg

All the best, Rob, wherever it is next

Comment by Subbu

How did you get a visa? how?

Comment by Billy Whizz

[…] Billy Whizz on Chapters Aren’t Just For Books … […]

Pingback by The Gift That Keeps On Being Held Back … | The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Yes, the Human Race is a Library, and we’re all books with varying numbers of chapters, depending upon our ages. The small children are perhaps the preface, the story starts to get good, at whatever your favorite period/ or will be, and you start making sense–sometimes only to yourself, as you approach the Epilogue. But, whatever your short is about, how many chapters it has, the important thing is to enjoy the ride.

Comment by cheekos

This is brilliant news, unless you are American.
Just for clarification, you’re saying the holiday filled tenure at W&K wasn’t a seven year sabbatical?

Comment by northern

My sides. Oh my sides.

Comment by Rob

Boom! Northern FTW

Comment by DH

No pollution in LA…

Comment by Tom Callaghan

Congrats. I look forward to reading how you’ve moved from one giant rapidly heading forwards to one rapidly going around in circles. The resolution may not be clear, but the contrast will be terrific. Regards Kevin Sugrue, Brand Tao, @Plannersphere

Comment by Brand Tao

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