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

Back Where It All Began …

So today I start my new job.

In England.

The last time this happened was in 1989 which blows my mind.

Of course, this situation is quite different to the last situation.

I’ve had a family.

I’ve lived around the World.

I’ve worked – and started – a bunch of companies.

I’m slightly better off than I was back in the late 80’s.

And while I enjoyed my time in the US, I’m very excited about what I’m going to be doing because whereas previously the big opportunity for me was more around understanding different cultures, this new role gives me that while also challenging and teaching me about possibilities that go beyond my areas of experience, because today I start as the head of strategy for R/GA for EMEA.

There were a bunch of reasons for leaving America, but one thing we knew was that there was no point if I wasn’t going to be enjoying myself.

For enjoying myself, I mean pushing me, challenging me, educating me and helping me make a bigger difference than I thought I could make.

I’ve long admired R/GA – especially R/GA London – so when we started chatting, I was fascinated about the opportunity and was incredibly happy/surprised, to learn they seemed to feel the same way.

Quite frankly, while all agencies talk about ‘creating cultural change’, R/GA seem to be the only one trying to make it happen on an ongoing basis. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some agencies out there who definitely help shape cultural behavior and attitudes – like my beloved W+K – but R/GA want to create the ideas, systems and communication that can encourage longer term cultural change rather than momentary effect.

At the end of the day, the idea of working with smart people who want to use creativity to impact the future and smart clients who want to walk towards the future was hugely infectious for me, especially at my age.

What makes it even better is that my remit means I’ll still get to work and discover different cultures, which is something I’ve done for the past 20 years all around the World … though given it’s been 24 years since I’ve lived in the UK, I’m pretty sure I’m going to find it fascinating understanding what is making this country tick.

All in all, I’m super excited.

At the interview I was asked why I wanted the job and I told them about a friend of mine who works for architect extroidinaire, Sir Norman Foster.

My mate is disgustingly epic … smart, charming and as handsome as hell … but despite all those enviable attributes, the thing I’ve always been jealous of is that his job requires him to create stuff that will outlive him.

I love advertising.

I think it is massively undervalued.

But the way the industry is going – focusing on the present, not building for the future – is scary as hell.

Not just in terms of the longevity of adland, but the ambitions of brands.

So to have a chance to work for a place that attracts clients who want to build rather than just plunder is very exciting for me.

Especially if there’s a shot of creating something that could outlive me.

Let’s just hope I can fool them into thinking I’m worth keeping around for more than a week …

Given my love of chaos, that might be over-ambitious.

28 Comments so far
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It’s good to read the blog starting up again but it’s very strange to see new posts at the end of the day instead of the beginning. Good luck with the new job but you’ll be fine, it’s your colleagues who have to worry.

Comment by Pete

Very excited for you and RGA. I am also selfishly excited for myself because I will be able to see you a bit more regularly now. Have a wonderful first day.

Comment by Lee Hill

I was just thinking how good my weekend had been, then I get notification this blog has started up again. I hoped it was another planning school reminder. I was wrong. Have a great first day, they’re lucky to have you. (Keep telling them that.)

Comment by Bazza

Your tech help-desk will advise you how to turn notifications off.

Comment by John

To make you all happier, I’m on the tube. It’s still dark. And cold.

Sadly for you, I’m OK with this and excited for the new adventure.

But it still is only the first day. And it’s not even started yet. Haha.

Comment by Rob

Nice to read the glass half full side of you can’t compete with the glass half empty.

Comment by Bazza

nice one doddsy. best thing that happened on this blog today. not a big task but the high point of your fucking day.

Comment by andy@cynic

Congratulations Rob.

Have been following you since I started working 5 years ago and though I was not expecting this move, what an amazing opportunity it is to do meaningfull work in Africa. Europe and the Middle East are great too, but Africa must be a really special feeling.

Comment by mazevedocoutinho

Honestly, it’s all exciting to me, but maybe the work we do in Africa can make a bit more of a difference than in other countries. That has to be the goal so hold me to that please.

Comment by Rob

Hasn’t africa suffered enough?

Comment by Billy Whizz

Good luck. Excited for you.

Comment by Wayne Green

Make it happen 😉

Comment by Ramlan Sally

Congratulations Robert. I’m excited to see what you do there and very happy we may be working together again. Though I fear being your client, I’ll receive even more pushback than when I was your colleague.

Comment by George

i have decided youre a fucking hypnotist because theres no other fucking explanation how you keep getting hired.

Comment by andy@cynic

Nice! Best of luck Rob.

Comment by Erica David

How was your first day?

Comment by Marcus

No one has told me they hate me yet – so that’s a good sign. Mind you, there’s still time …

Comment by Rob

You’re in the UK now. They’ll never actually tell you.

Comment by John

Good point. Damn …

I’ll tell Jill not to unpack … not that it’s arrived yet.

Comment by Rob

Did you get fired?

And thank you for your blog posts now being at a much more acceptable hour. By acceptable I mean giving me a chance to live my day before you ruin my day.

Hope you had fun.

Comment by DH

if he didnt theres no fucking taste left in the world.

Comment by andy@cynic

All the best – hope your first day was fab, and welcome back to the UK Rob! Maybe we’ll even meet some time.

Comment by Anjali Ramachandran (@anjali28)

thats like wishing to be run over by a fucking tractor.

Comment by andy@cynic

My very best congratulations and wishes of fun, excitement and courage

Comment by Sonya Shmatova

I really like that way of looking at creativity. It’s why I want to work on projects that produce something or change something – and it’s why I’m enjoying being at Republic so much. Everything I work on feels like it makes a positive difference.

Comment by Rob (Other one)

Also – Congrats on starting the new job, hope all goes well!

Comment by Rob (Other one)

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