Questions (for you)

An ode to the future (or… Who’s hiring?)

A single, timely, statement provides the jump off for this most difficult of blog posts. The one where I ask: who’s hiring because I’m back on the market…

It takes a deep level of honor to relate to yourself not as your past, but as a future that’s never been.

The above is from my good thought-sparring partner Andrew Schiestel (@andrewschiestel). As with all interesting things, it’s incredible how timely it is and how it made me think.

There comes a time in every employment when I start wondering what my future is. And I’ve reached that point now (never mind the fact that local government cuts might render my position moot anyway). This is why Andrew’s thought has struck such a deep resonance.

Don’t get me wrong, I think my job’s great.

It’s given me the chance to do things that I never thought I would do this early in my career. I’d set myself the goal of being a team manager with significant budget responsibility and a seat on a board by the time I was 30. I made this at 26.

The position has allowed me to manage a project which became a global viral and promote it in ways which made perfect sense to me, but seemed magical to others. It’s given me the opportunity to test my mettle in brand redirection and development. I’ve learnt how to manage a team, maintaining essential humanity while keeping the organisation’s goals close to heart. I’ve fined tuned my ability to navigate complex partnership relationships. I’ve had the opportunity to run campaigns from initiation to launch across the entire marketing spectrum (yes, including procurement and finance as well). And fend off the press in the meantime.

But, on the flipside, the job’s reminded me what my ‘art’ is and how much I miss being able to do it every day.

I miss life in a small creative agency. I miss the cut-and-thrust. I miss the knowledge that winning the next pitch-chase is the difference between returning a monthly profit, or not.

I miss the opportunity to get rewarded for what I do when I do it best. Again, don’t get me wrong – my boss is brilliant as are the people that I work with. However, you wouldn’t believe the mud that I had to avoid in the early days of Embrace Life just because I had shown initiative and made a play when I had the chance.

I miss having the control that working in a small agency brings. The control over destiny and destination. These things just aren’t possible in local government.

And with the changes that are about to befall my workplace, I have the feeling that I’m not the best person to take things forward. What the organisation needs is someone who can maintain and keep-steady, and who enjoys that challenge.

I’m ‘disruptive’ – that’s the problem.
But by ‘disruptive’ what I mean is I enjoy the challenge of creating a brand 180 shift where necessary, delivering strengthened systems which take the best parts of the old way of doing things but with new, strategic sections integrated in respect to business objectives and outcomes, of redefining business goals and objectives to create a more concrete future.
For more on being disruptive, check this post out.

And I have to be the best of the best. That’s my drive – to never stand still, never rest on a laurel, never accept that ‘this is what it is’. It’s just the way I am. And I know that maintain and keep-steady isn’t the best use of my art.

Thus we’re back to Andrew’s prescient statement. If I understand it right, Andrew is considering how difficult it is to relate oneself not in terms of what one is, or has been, but in terms of what one might be.

That’s exciting. And it’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently anyway. Hence my excitement at seeing Andrew’s Tweet.

If I tell you what I want, that’ll give you some idea of where I see myself in the future.

I want to be the best, because being second-best isn’t an option.

But I will retain my humanity while I get there – never trampling over someone else’s ideas, position or work.

I want to move to Canada.
The plan is 2012 (although sooner is always possible given certain criteria).

I want to join others looking for the Higgs-Bosun of marketing.
We would form a group so far ‘out there’ in terms of marketing and communications that the rest of the industry would find itself giving us our own moniker. Something like The Group of 7, The Beats; you get the idea. But a group that pushes boundaries in new methods of thinking, of theory, of delivery. This isn’t to try and sounded elitist or snobby – but I know that there are others out there who want to push the boundaries in the same way that I do. And I see part of my work in this life as bringing those people together.

So that’s what I want (and I have my fingers crossed that you’ll forgive the somewhat ego-centric nature of this post thus far. But I hope it helps you understand what you’ll get for taking me on).

I’m not going to guess at what you want, precisely.

But I suspect you’ll want someone who can merge strong brand-building and awareness with deep levels of commercial awareness; someone who understands why finance and procurement are important (and possibly a marketer’s best friends); someone who can hold their own in a boardroom; someone who expects the best from everyone around them and makes a point of recognising it when it appears; someone who revels in creating strategy and order while ensuring a creative streak remains part of the project DNA; someone who will walk on hot coals for the right cause; and maybe someone who can make a darn fine cup of tea into the bargain.

So that’s me, and that’s a guess at you.

And this is my declaration that I’m in the market place. I stand as much by the things that I will do as the things I have done.

If they sound like things that you’d like to talk through further, get in contact and let me know… The things we will do will define us more than the things we have done. Tell me that’s not a thrilling prospect.


2 thoughts on “An ode to the future (or… Who’s hiring?)

  1. Mate,

    Based on your list above, and my present location, I’m sure I might be able to assist on some level. Reach out and we can chat. Of course, we can continue the intellectual dialogue on Marco’s LI page.

    BTW, like the Manifesto. Nice job.


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