About one-hundred years ago I had an extremely close relationship with the man who was my boss. In those long-ago days of offices and doors, people used to hang out. You might have a question for a co-worker and find yourself spending 30 minutes or 45 in her office shooting the breeze.
Before Serfdom 2.0 became the modus operandi of every “modern” business, downtime used to be a part of business.
The great film director (perhaps the greatest) Jean Renoir once said, “Loitering is the foundation of civilization.” If you’re working all the time, if you have no time to think, laugh, chit-chat, see a movie, look at reels, go to a museum (loiter) the chances are you’ll grow about as stale as the bread in the Ogilvy cafeteria.
|Jean Renoir, son of Auguste, has three movies on the BFI list of top 100 films of all time.|
But back to my ex-boss. One day, he offhandedly asked me, “are you a first-born child?”
“No, I’m a middle child.”
“Good,” he said. “Children who aren’t first-born do better in advertising. Second children or third children are used to having to act up, to shout, to raise their hands to get noticed.”
Simplistic or not, that still makes sense to me. Non-first borns know, “attention must be paid.” In order to survive, they quickly learn how to get attention.
In advertising today, where ostensibly attention is the currency of our trade, attention is a bad word.
Some decades ago, David Ogilvy wrote, “
Don’t discount the misfits on your team.”
I read the article and liked it. Agency “career discussions” were going on at that moment and I thought the article was valuable enough to share with some people who had the letter “C” in their title.
How fucking naïve of me.
I particularly liked this passage, and underscored it in the note I sent out.
” might be great for a family vacation. It’s not great for a creative endeavor.
|Does it ever seem to you that every meeting consists of the same nine words just constantly re-shuffled?|