Friday, December 11, 2020

A Friday rumination on Joy.


Since I began GeorgeCo., a Delaware Company after being fired by Ogilvy at 4:30 PM (the better to get a whole day's work from me) on January 14th, 2020, I have hired just one person to work with me full-time.

I've got a ton going on and sometimes I feel like a surfer surrounded by sharks. My associate, Hilary, handles that "you-look-like-lunch-feeling" for me.

There's more though.

And this is a bit of a rumination about the sorry state of our business today.

We laugh.

Whether we're speaking on the phone, texting or emailing, we laugh. 

Sure, sometimes we're all business. But we laugh.

Many years ago I worked with a very good and very senior account guy: Steve. He went to become CMO of a giant bank. Before going client-side was a thing.

The agency I was with was invited to pitch his account. It was probably a $100 million account. 

At the time $100 million was a lot of money. Now it's what the dry-cleaner finds in Mark Read's pockets each month.

We didn't get the account.

Afterward, Steve and I had a drink. (I wasn't involved in the pitch or on the pitch team. But we had a drink anyway.)

"Steve," I said, "How do you choose an agency?"

"George, essentially the work agencies present is the same. Occasionally someone does something incredibly good or incredibly bad. But usually picking an agency comes down to this: "Do you want to sit across a table from these people for 20 hours/week?" 

I think about this because it seems to me that so many brows are impecuniously furrowed on Madison Avenue, and so many sphincters are so furiously clenched and so many mouths are grimacing. 

Exactly how I would be if I were the business equivalent of the soft drink, Tab. And every year I had sold less and had less revenue than the year before.

It's no wonder people have forgotten fun. And laughter. 

It's fairly obvious to me.

When work sucks, the work sucks.

I used to write headlines for a living and that one's pretty good. I'm going to repeat it.

When work sucks, the work sucks.

Loving what you do--and doing it--is the key to good work. The key is not 17-rounds of excruciating revisions and nitpicking, so some small-penised fucker feels powerful and additive. The key is not dotting every I and crossing every T.

The key is having fun and doing fun.

Because that's how you do good work.


By the way, you might not know the song "Twisted," written and made famous by Annie Ross. Here, along with her partners, Dave Lambert and Jon Hendricks, and the Astoundingly good Joe Williams, the four of them sing "Every Day I Have the Blues." (BTW, Count Basie is back there, on the piano. Like no one else, ever.)

I saw this clip recently, and I said to myself, that's what work should be like. Fun. Free. Together. 

I'm not a Chief Culture Officer.

Or a Chief People Officer.

Or a Maestro of Mirth.

Or a Doyenne of Delight.

Or a Pasha of Playfulness.

But work should be as fun as the work they're doing in the clip above is fun. Joyous.

Because joy--at work or anywhere that matters--begets good.


My wife just went down a Joe Williams rabbit hole
and came back with this joyous gem. I'm more than a little lugubrious by nature, but we can all use four minutes of this about every four minutes.

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