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


After Winter, Life Grows Again. ( ‘A Year After Redundancy’)

A year ago tomorrow, I was made redundant.

Well, I was told the week before, but tomorrow marks a year since my last day at R/GA.

While I wrote a long post at the time about how positive I was about the whole thing – especially that it was happening to me rather than a junior or a woman or a Person of Colour who normally get impacted by these sorts of decisions – it still blows my mind how well things have turned out for me and my family.

Part of the reason I was so optimistic was because I knew I was going to shout about my redundancy from the rooftops. Hell, even the Guardian wrote about me doing it.

Despite what some on here may think, this was not because I wanted to appear in a national newspaper … oh no, it was for far more practical reasons.

The first was that the more people knew I was available, the more chances I’d have of being considered for work. I mean … come on. I work in advertising, what else was I going to do?

However the second – and possibly more important reason – was I hated how many people felt some sort of shame for finding themselves in this situation.

Shit happens – especially during a global pandemic – so to carry that burden in addition to all the other stuff they have to deal with must make the pressure they’re dealing with unbelievably destructive. I would not wish that on anyone … no one at all. And while I was treated fairly, what makes these situations even worse is that some companies actively encourage people they’ve let go to feel this way … simply because it encourages them to stay silent about what’s happened which lets the company act to clients and the market that everything is fine and dandy when it obviously isn’t.

So my thinking was that by owning my situation publicly, it may help burst this corporately induced shame and reinforce there is nothing to be embarrassed about … especially as the situation ultimately has nothing to do with you – and everything to do with them – even if some companies try to suggest otherwise.

But there was also another reason for my optimism.

Potentially a stupid one.

And that was the last time this situation happened to me, it led to one of the most fruitful and creative periods of my career and I wondered/hoped/mused if lighting could strike twice.

Despite turning 50 [rather than the last time, where I was 35] it amazingly did.

Now I absolutely appreciate how lucky I am.

I also appreciate there are a lot of factors that contributed to this luck.

From the openness of my family to move countries for the 4th time in 4 years … to the wide range of contacts I’d gained thanks to having lived all around the World … to the fact I’m a white male so ‘unfair advantage’ was baked into my career DNA from the very beginning.

But even with all that, the life I now live is in many ways – or at least in many parts – unrecognisable to the one I had when I was let go from R/GA a year ago

From the work I’ve done and do.
To the clients/bands/billionaires I’ve done it for and do it for.
To the immensely talented people I’ve worked with and work with.
To the country I now call home.

Hell, I even managed to get hired and fired by the Red Hot Chili Peppers in that time.

It’s bonkers.

And while I enjoyed my time at R/GA and am grateful for the experience, I’m happier now.

They probably are too … hahaha.

That said, I miss my gang.

Lachlan, Nic, Rach, Anna, Joel, Amar, Erika, Laureen, Bassot, Ed, Hannah, Megan, Nicole, Divya, Arda, Amelia, Severine, Marissa, Insa, Toby, Ben … and the others who helped make my time – and the gang – so much fun, including Anne, Valia, Eduardo and Michael.

What a wonderful bunch of beautifully talented misfits they were/are.

Always demanding … debating … provoking … and making me smarter because of it.

Then again … given all but a couple of them have moved to do other interesting, weird, infamous and famous things, it means that even if I was still there, they wouldn’t be.

Or maybe they would. [Cue mischievous laugh. Hahahaha]

But the point of this post is not just to celebrate a year since a weird day in July … it’s a reminder that life is always changing, moving, evolving and progressing.

However bad a situation may be, it does not mean it will always be that way … even if it feels like it is.

And if anyone worries they are the exception, I want you to know I am here to chat.

Not to convince you you’re wrong.

Or try to solve your problems.

But to listen.

Because not everyone has that and not only is that important … sometimes that’s the first step to getting stronger.

Not to self-reflect or gain enlightenment … but to vent, bitch, moan, complain.

The things some people try to make you feel guilty for wanting to express or think, even though the real reason is because it makes them feel uncomfortable rather than it being bad for you.

And it absolutely is not bad for you.

At least in small doses.

Because as we all know, the first thing you do to treat a scrape is to cleanse the wound … so if anyone thinks this would be useful to you, please know I would be happy to give you a safe space to be your worst without judgement or expectation.

Because the worst times don’t last.

They just feel they do.

So thank you R/GA, I will always be grateful for what you did for me.

Especially on July 10th 2020.

You can reach me here.


20 Comments

This is a fantastic post. Can’t believe it was only a year ago, you have fitted more into that period than many do in a decade. Love the offer you’re making. You are right about people suggesting being angry is negative. You don’t let go of it by holding it in. You’re a good man Rob and a rather good role model for showing that your career doesn’t have to stop being interesting and exciting after the age 40. Or 50.

Comment by George

thats what happens when you make a deal with satan. just more proof to what ive always fucking said.

Comment by andy@cynic

It was a good deal.

Comment by Rob

And that only 2 faces remain on that photo of your old team is very scary. Not for the people who have gone or have remained, but for the agency and their inability to offer an environment that their strategists find exciting, challenging and creative.

Comment by George

whats even scarier is thinking the fuckers would have stayed if campbell had still been there. thats fucking bordering on sick shit.

Comment by andy@cynic

Well actually in that photo, only 1 person is left. The other joined after it was taken. Which makes it even more confronting. But I am sure it’s not that different to many places. Maybe a bit more extreme … but people are always looking to explore new opportunities, and as long as it is because they are excited by what is possible – rather than feeling bored or devalued or controlled by their current employers – it is a great thing.

Given the variety of places the team who also left R/GA have ended up, they’re doing just great and will become even greater and that makes me so, so happy.

Comment by Rob

ok campbell. i admit it. you handled that rga bullshit like a fucking champion. you even took the moral fucking high ground which is absolutely fucking mindblowing. and you came out of it somehow in a better position than you went in. I dont understand how you keep making that shit happen but for once im fully in support of it. and your offer is the most you thing ever. not the generosity but to let people just be angry and feel better for it,. you sick prick.

Comment by andy@cynic

and the unmasked photo of you makes you look like a serial killer.

Comment by andy@cynic

Can’t believe it has only been a year. Buying 2 houses, moving country and being hired/fired by the RHCP is most people’s bucket list life goals. For you it’s just an average year. All while we are in a pandemic. Inspirational.

Comment by Pete

Hahahaha … admit it, it’s the Chili’s situation that inspires you most. Though you also forgot the other stuff that I somehow pulled off in the year … from Aphex Twin to Grand Theft Auto to starting Uncorporated with Metallica’s management. As redundancy goes, it was a bizarrely brilliant year. Hahaha

Comment by Rob

That is quite a list of achievements. Correct me if I am wrong Robert, but aren’t all those projects still happening? Excluding the Red Hot Child Peppers, of course.

Comment by George

I hate this post because it makes me proud of you.

Comment by DH

I will put my hand up for anyone who wants to talk through it as well. Mine was a gut punch – but knowing you can survive it and even thrive afterward is so helpful to hear. I got some great advice during my search that I’m happy to pass on to anyone. I’m not as eloquent as you, my friend, but I’m happy to be a shoulder/mentor/cheerleader for anyone who finds themselves feeling a bit lost.

Comment by Kim Withee

Kim!!! Oh my god, Kim. So amazing to hear from you [though I always assumed you had much better taste than to come here]

You are a brilliant and talented human and for you to offer your help to those who feel lost is amazing. Thank you. Hope you’re ace.

Comment by Rob

The way you handled your redundancy was incredible. The way you then moved forward from it has been inspirational. What a year you have enjoyed Robert. All of it deserved. This is an excellent post with a generous offer to others. Well done.

Comment by Lee Hill

The biggest shock is you have a photo of yourself not in a shit queen tee.

Comment by Billy Whizz

And you definitely did it to get in the news. I’m not so gullible as the losers on here..

Comment by Billy Whizz

Your jealousy is tangible Billy. Hahaha.

Comment by Rob

RGAs are dicks. And that’s before they made the stoopid decision of letting you go.

Comment by Wayne Green

R/GA must hate this.
Make sure you do it every year.
Used to be good then Bob left.

Comment by EXRGA




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