Being 56 at an agency these days, it's as if you were born in the Pleistocene epoch. Not only do you know things that other people simply don't, you've been through things, as well, that they haven't yet experienced.
Foremost among those things are the inevitable career setbacks you've reckoned with during your 30+ year career.
Of late, a horde of 40 somethings I know who have had good, steady upward climbs have suddenly been shit-canned. Tossed to the curb. Axed. They've been crumpled up like an old sheet of paper and tossed into the ashcan.
In other words, they've gotten their comeuppance. They've been riding high in their careers, haven't faced real setbacks and now, all of a sudden, they're on the beach.
Over the last decade or so--and it's been a decade since I left Ogilvy--I've been through a lot career-wise. I've been brought in to help try to resuscitate a dying agency. I've been brought in to try to help make an agency more creative. And I've been brought in to try to help stabilize an account.
Along the way, of course, I too have earned my comeuppance.
People used to hang on my every word.
I used to be treated well.
It's tough when it happens to you. Because until it does happen you never think it will.
You walk around thinking your career is a bowl of cherries.
Comeuppancing is damn hard. It's no fun dealing with the slights, over-sights, put downs and more that you have to accept. There's a lot of shit that all of a sudden you're forced to eat. And there's nothing, really, you can do about it.
You can show up every day. Be yourself. Double down on what made you successful in the first place. Work hard. Try harder.
You might still have a lot of shit to eat.
But at least you're trying, fighting, and working toward something better.