May 25, 2005

Cheese and sex and GapingVoid cartoons

One of my all-time favorite bloggers is Hugh MacLeod of -- not just because he is an intelligent former NY-based ad copywriter, or because of the sharp things he has to say about the ad business, the life business, and just business in general, but because of these devilishly witty cartoons drawn on the backs of business cards. These cartoons often, and eerily, parallel my life (and the things I might think to say if my brain were to grow about 300% and I were suddenly able to say something funny in 4 words or less).

This one, for example.

I have left my former job.

Formerly inspiring, formerly stimulating, formerly creative and strategic and MINE, but mostly just former. I left this job due to irreconcilable differences (actually I suspect my new idiot-boss resented the fact that some of his employees -- by which I mean me -- weren't impressed by his obsessive need to validate his masculinity by buying stuff and womanizing, and therefore didn't have any interest in sleeping or hanging out with him. That -- coupled with a few good ideas that challenged said boss' vague, unoriginal brand concept but might have propelled the company into actual success -- was my downfall.)

Do I sound bitter? I know I do. But honestly, it's just really funny now. Why?

Because it turns out that no matter how long you put up with the shit you swear you'll never put up with, you eventually come to your senses one way or another and realize that there's only so long you can hold your tongue and politely nod before you just about poison yourself with your own insincerity. And thank God for that awakening.

Next time, I just hope I spend less time settling and more time looking ahead to the next thing. Ever read that "Who Stole My Cheese?" book? Like that.

Next time, I want to have my eye on the new cheese prize far in advance of sitting around being terrified to go out and find the cheese because my crumbs of moldy, abusive cheese are somehow my safety blanket.

And I'm pretty sure I will. Because it turns out that, like there are many people with whom you can have good sex, there are many companies/products with whom you can have a collaborative and fruitful professional experience -- the cheese. And that is almost as good as sex -- because it happens every day and you simply can't fake it or stroke its ego. And in business, you get paid for your hard work. And when you seek out new cheese/sex/career moves before you actually have to, you can usually find some mouse/person/company willing to give you MORE cheese than the one before.

So now I have a new, better job. Downtown (which is obviously better than the head-in-hole suburbia of former job).

More responsibility, happiness, collaboration, vision, creativity, money. More cheese, more sincerity, more work, better results. Why didn't I think of that?