There were a lot of reasons behind my decision. But one was I realized I was working in a kind of place that for all its mandated HR-fomented-work-life-balance-politically-correct bullshit, was in reality a nasty, brutish place.
One thing that brought that fact home was when we were moving from an older office building to a newer one. As the co-head of the office, I had to "bless" our new seating arrangement. What struck me was the general manager referring to seating arrangements as a "stacking plan."
People are not ergs, or units, or talent, or fucking resources, or even personnel. They are people. And should be treated as you, yourself would like to be treated. You know, that Golden Rule shit.
I'm flying from LA where I gained five hours sleep in an airport Hilton, back home to New York. Along the way, American airlines has blared a video on their new branding.
I'm sorry "brand identity" people.
Identity is a coat of paint.
Most actual passengers, that is people, would trade a gleaming new logo for three more inches of legroom.
What's happened all around us is that clients (and agencies have been complicit, of course) see advertising and branding and all that other communications crap as cheaper alternatives to actually doing a good job. To actually treating their customers well.
McDonald's for instance says "We love to make you smile." But not so much that they pay their employees a living wage--so they might actually have something to smile about. (BTW, minimum wage leaves a worker below the poverty line.)
And so it goes.
And so it will continue to go.
As long as companies treat people as things to be stacked like cordwood or treated as they have the intelligence of a tree slug.