According to Maureen Dowd's op-ed in today's "New York Times," Rachael Ray (I know she's famous, I don't know what for) recently asked former president Bill Clinton what superpower he would most like to possess. Clinton answered thusly: “'I would be able to enter the minds of people who were about to do really stupid things' and stop them."
I thought about that a bit--about all the stupid things I have done in my career, all the times I have--in the parlance of child psychologists and the like--"acted out." Cursed and quit and said fuck you when I should have, if I were wiser and maybe stronger, bided my time, collected my paycheck, kept my thoughts to myself until I found something better.
Once I quit an agency because they hired a creative over me who tried to wrest control of my account from me. She expected me to hand her the reins (and my power) without a fight.
I quit. Just like that. Packed up my things and went for a long walk during a snowy January.
I was young then, or relatively so, having just turned 40. It was a different, pre-Great Recession era when jobs were easier to come by. After a couple hours of petulance-based retirement, I checked my voicemail and had a message from the head of HR, a friend, asking me to come in and talk.
I probably shouldn't have, but I did. And they lured me back. Eventually for more money.
I'm not sure if I was dumber when I quit or dumber when I came back.
Another time I quit because an account guy insisted on a concocted and made up pitch for a giant piece of business. The only time the client would concede to see us was over dinner the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
I said that's no way and no time to present work and I wouldn't do it. I said to the agency president, if that's when we're presenting include me out. And they did.
Of course, they went ahead with the pitch which earned them nothing but lost weekends.
The third time I quit was the most recent and most painful. The president of the agency of which I was ECD had a mild crush on a creative I didn't think much of. She mandated that I put him in charge of an account and I refused. They insisted. I quit.
Overall most of these quittings have cost me money. One or two have made me money. All have caused me stress and strain.
In aggregate, I'm not sure if I'm better off or worse for acting rashly.
I'm stupid that way.