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… I’m back.
I know … I know … sorry.
If it’s any consolation, you only have 3 days to deal with me till the weekend.
Why the hell am I writing like this?
To be honest, I have no idea so I’ll just get on with writing my rubbish so we can all get on with our day and pretend none of this ever happened.
So recently I heard a quote that I love.
“The World is divided into 2 sorts of people. Those who do the work and those who do the credit. If you can, try and be a member of the first group, there’s far less competition”.
I cannot tell you how much I adore this quote.
I know you might think that is quite ironic coming from the man that is allegedly continually on holiday, but it’s true.
There was a time in my career where I worked with one guy who seemed to always get the credit and attention despite the fact all the good stuff was being done by those around him or under him.
Despite supposedly being the ‘head of the department’, he had no involvement in anything that was being created – he was far too busy hanging out with his mates and attending industry events – but when it came to the accolades, he was there quicker than Usain Bolt.
What’s even worse is that he never shared the credit … well, unless he thought it made him look good in front of his peers, but he was so incapable of doing it without looking a contrived dick, it never worked.
It used to bug me a huge amount.
Part of it was because I wanted a boss who would take me to somewhere I couldn’t see, let alone reach and part of it was because I – along with my colleagues – were some of the people doing so much of the work he was taking the credit for.
Now before I go on, I know that it’s human nature to think you’re generally putting in more effort than those around you – but in this case, there were 4 of us that absolutely were. At least compared to our boss.
But despite bitching, scheming, planning and complaining, we just got on with shit … pushing and trying and just doing all we could to bring something interesting to the table.
Then one day, we were invited to a client meeting.
This was no ordinary client meeting, this was one where the global CEO of our biggest global client was going to be present.
Now while it would be a great story to say this was the meeting where our boss revealed his shortcomings, the reality is that didn’t happen. He still acted like he was the King and people still treated him like he was the King.
But there was one thing that happened and that was that the global CEO asked me and my colleagues a bunch of questions and seemed to not just like what he heard, but the energy and the ideas of what went with it.
Maybe he was just being kind, but he seemed to find the ‘youthful energy’ exciting and he asked if we would like to join the agency dinner we were going to have for him.
I – stupidly – said no.
I think I had promised to watch The Bill on TV with a mate or something.
But it didn’t actually matter, because that conversation had opened the eyes of some of the people around us.
Sure, they still thought our boss was a legend – in some ways, even more so because they thought he was the one that had trained and inspired us – but the fact is, they looked at us differently.
We weren’t just process-fodder, we had ideas … we did things … we made stuff happen.
And because adland is always looking for people that can either do the stuff they can’t be arsed to do or help develop the ideas that makes them look better, we started getting invited to stuff … the sort of meetings we had rarely been allowed to be a part of previously.
And from that moment, a different sort of reputation of us started to be formed.
People started to ask to have us in their meetings.
People wanted to hear and discuss their ideas with us as well as see what we were up to … and it felt good.
As I said, none of this changed the ways of our boss – he carried on being an advertising rockstar – but by that stage, it didn’t really matter to us because we were gaining a reputation of our own.
OK, we still didn’t get invited to the cool parties or the award shows and our social network still pretty much consisted of entry level colleagues, but other companies started to hear about us and started seeing if ‘we wanted a chat’.
You see for all the ego that exists in adland, every company knows the best investment is when you hire people who can do stuff rather than just take the credit for it and that is why I love Wieden … because despite being the so called head of planning, I still have to do stuff and that not only keeps me busy [despite what you may think] it keeps me excited.
So even though I say the best advice you can have is to never listen to someones advice … if you’re going to follow anything, I would suggest you listen to the words of Dwight Morrow – the US Diplomat who was behind the above quote – because the chances of a long, fruitful and rewarding career in adland is dramatically improved when you have a reputation for doing great things rather than just associating with them.
PS: Just to warn you, tomorrows post doesn’t get any better. Sorry.
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