Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Daddyhood, Goodbye China, Grand announcements, Jill, Love, My Fatherhood, Otis, Perspective, Pollution, Sentimentality, The Kennedys Shanghai, Wieden+Kennedy
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.
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.
* 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’.