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


Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

So a few weeks ago, in a Starbucks in Epping, I saw this man …

For those who don’t know who he is, it’s music icon Rod Stewart.

I appreciate his best days as a singer are over but the fact he’s 74, still has hit albums and sold out concerts and looks pretty much like he did 40 years ago, means he can look back on his life as pretty bloody successful.

There’s lots of stories about Mr Stewart.

His love life.

His happy feud/rivalry with Elton John.

His tightness.

But what isn’t talked about much is his love of his family.

I saw it when he walked into Starbucks.

In came his wife and a bunch of his kids – young and old – and they all sat together, chatting … laughing and sharing coffee and croissants.

I know this is something we see everyday, all around the World, but there was something lovely in seeing an international Rock Star act like the doting father and husband he obviously is.

I’m not denying he has made some pretty shit mistakes in the past … but without wishing to defend that … sometimes good people make bad mistakes and whatever happened in the past, at least he seems to remember what is truly important.

Nothing says this more than an interview he gave this year …

I don’t know about you, but I think this is wonderful.

It’s also weird his brothers and sisters are NINETY YEARS OLD.

But what I love most is that it is apparent for all his wealth, he feels his family is what truly makes him rich.

Even his ex-wife, Rachel Hunter, doesn’t really have a bad word to say about him.

Their divorce wasn’t because of infidelity, it was because she was young and after 13 years of him being a doting husband, she felt she wanted to go out and live more.

And even then, she – and he – made sure everything was both amicable and respectful.

The reason I’m saying this is because work/life balance is under greater pressure than ever.

Sure companies are talking about it more than ever before, but in the main, what they really mean is ‘it’s important to have a home life but make sure you do your work first’.

I also accept, it’s much easier to have work/life balance when you’re a multi, multi millionaire because when Mr Stewart was starting out, he was so in debt, his manager and record company pushed him to go out on tour so he missed a lot of his oldest kids early years.

But here’s the thing.

If we all appreciate that work/life balance is important [even if that is simply because it makes you more effective at work] and mental health has become an issue that has been accepted as a real issue, how come this isn’t included in any procurement demands from clients or agencies?

Maybe it is, but I haven’t heard about any.

I have heard of contracts that demand female representation.

And I have heard of contracts that demand people of color inclusion.

But nothing on mental health or work/life balance.

Don’t get me wrong, I am happy that issues of gender and background are being forced into contracts [but I’m so sad this is what it took to have it happen] but what about making sure these people are looked after once they are there?

Why isn’t that part of the deal?

Why is that not a key criteria of what we are all talking about?

Why is that something shareholders don’t demand of the companies they invest in?

I think we can all guess, but if you’re still not sure, head over to Corporate Gaslighting and read what some people have discovered are some of the reasons why.



Why Companies Are Wasting More Money With Internal Meetings Than At Client Lunches …
August 10, 2015, 6:20 am
Filed under: Entertainment, Experience, Minimum Wage, Social Divide, Unfair Life

… especially in Asia, where over the years, I’ve attended meetings that frequently have 20 people in them, even if only 2 were needed and only those 2 actually comment.

And if you think Asia can afford to do this because salaries are so low, they need to look again.

We’re getting to a point where for certain roles, in certain industries, expats are becoming a cheaper option than local talent.

Of course not all the time – and an expat is pointless if they don’t know something about local culture – but there are an increasing number of situations where this is the case.

It wouldn’t be so bad if overall standards were superior, but the job-hopping attitude of millennials means salary levels are being pushed to ridiculous levels without the experience or talent to necessarily justify them.

Not only does this mean average talent is pricing themselves out the market [though an amazing amount of companies seem to be paying it], it also means overall standards are falling because people not qualified to have certain jobs are being given them as they are the only ones willing to accept the salaries on offer. [Mainly because it’s more than they would otherwise get]

In essence, we’re entering a period of corporate devolution, which if I was a CEO in a company, I’d be scared shitless of. Except I’ll probably be leaving in 18 months with a big, fat cheque so that can be someone else’s problem, can’t it.

Mind you, if you are a talented local – of which there are lots, including many millennials – then the future has never looked so bright, which is very exciting for me to see … though I hope they don’t fall pray to the ‘good enough is good enough’ attitude that is currently rewarding so many for so little.

Based on the people I know and work with, I live in hope.



Instead Of Thinking There Are Always 2-Sides To Every Story, We Should Acknowledge There Are 2-Sides To Every Situation …
February 10, 2015, 6:25 am
Filed under: Comment, Minimum Wage, Point Of View

A while ago I read a letter in the Daily Telegraph.

It was a letter that literally stopped me in my tracks because it forced me to re-evaluate something, that until that point, I had felt blindly passionate about.

While I could make myself feel better by acknowledging the situation the person raised has not been something I have ever faced, the fact I never even considered it bothers me.

Of course, there will be people out there who will say there are far more people who don’t face this situation than do and so to change it for the minority could undermine and hurt the majority – and I accept that – but it also highlights how as an industry, we tend to prefer focusing on the big commonalities of our audiences, rather than embrace the edges of how so many of them think and live their lives.

I get why, I honestly do … we are trying to find the broadest possible commonality across various segments of society because that enables us to create work with the broadest possible appeal. But as we all know, trying to engage everyone means you often end up engaging no one, plus there is the little fact that there’s no such thing as a ‘standard life’ and just because we have found a way to place people into a fairly simplistic set of characteristics doesn’t mean it reflects the tensions and concerns that are really going on in millions of peoples lives.

Of course exploring these broader edges impacts both time and money – factors many view as an expense rather than an investment – however the argument for doing it is not just that you will have a better understanding of what reality is for your audience [which lets you create work that actually means something to them rather than is more expensive wallpaper] but it reveals the potential implications of your idea/concept/action so you can identify problems before they happen or opportunities before you miss out on them.

This is not about diluting your point of view – that is arguably more important than it ever has been – however having a point of view that is built on simplistic understanding of what is going on means, at best, you end up with work that is noticeable rather than meaningful … which is a problem many agencies, brands and governments tend to confuse with each other.

So to Candice Baxter of Grimsby, thank you. I hope your daughter dreams are realised.