Be compassionate

The problem in our fast paced, often self-centred world is that we don’t take time to step back and appreciate others, losing our sense of compassion for difference.  

Appreciate that people above you is not there to be a better person than you, or better at your job than you are, but utilising a specific set of skills.

Appreciate the people on your level for the diversity of interests, skills and experiences they have.

Appreciate people starting out for their enthusiasm, different take on the world and willingness to learn & make mistakes.

Appreciate people for who they are, faults and all – you’ll be better together in the long run and be happier in the mean time.

Fatherhood, Feminism and Equity

I don’t like the idea of equality of opportunity.

For me, it’s not about equal opportunities, but equal opportunities of results.

Equity, not equality.

My brother Nathan is three years younger than me.

When we were a lot younger and I was twice his age, I was naturally faster than him (now he’d beat me in any physical activity hands down).

Whenever we were put in a race, Nafe would always have a head start to compensate for my physical advantage.

An equal opportunity would be just putting us both on the start line and have us fight it out, but this is as unfair and more patronising than not being in the same race at all.

 We were given an equal opportunities of results.

 In January I am going to be a father.

The whole experience of being a father-to-be has really opened my eyes to the unconscious sexism that surrounds us in every day to day life but has also confused me about how to approach feminism as a man.

In Letchworth Garden City – not just my home, but also the home of the world’s first roundabout – there are two nurseries of note. Both have waiting lists longer than War and Peace and both need you to lay down a non-refundable £50 deposit to get on the priority section of the waiting list.

To get ahead of the game, my wife Emma and I took a day off work to go look round the two nurseries, with a faint, internet-guided idea of what is good and bad.

However, instead of preparing a future for my unborn child I was distracted throughout the whole experience by the fact I was simply ignored.

Everything was built for mummy and baby.

We can open early if mummy needs to drop baby off earlier than usual.

We have cameras so mummy can watch baby the first time she drops it off.

We have plenty of space for mummy to park the pram.

All of the discussion and language was directed towards Emma — I was an afterthought, if I was considered at all.

This hit me hard. It’s not that I was ignored by a nursery manager but it is distressing how natural this assumption of roles was.

In a very real way, I understood what it was like to be ignored for no other reason than my gender. I am not asking for your pity, I recognise how awful it is for it to take an experience like this for it to become real to me.

I had always brushed off Emma’s annoyance when I am always handed the bill, or when I am the only one being spoken to whenever we go on holiday, but now I understand how much of a problem it really is.

I recently interviewed Sue Unerman and Kathryn Jacobs, CSO at MediaCom and CEO of Pearl and Dean respectively, as well as authors of the brand new book, Break The Glass Wall: Success Strategies for Women at Work. (You can hear the interview on iTunes or Soundcloud )

 In the interview I was introduced to the idea of pragmatic feminism; a sensible, forward thinking branch of feminism that is against the Social Justice Warrior perversion of feminism that is sweeping the internet at the moment.

I liked this idea. I liked that I can be sensible with equality, not just subscribe to the idea of women first.

 It then got me thinking about how I see myself – am I an equalitist? A feminist? A masculinist?

With my upcoming fatherhood, I want to be the equity champion for my boy or girl so they naturally assume equity in their own relationships.

By its nature unconscious bias will always exist, however we need to recognise that the solution in the work place is not having a 50/50 split of men and women in interviews, or needing a certain amount of minorities on the boards of the FTSE 500.

The solution is to understand what is needed in each situation for every person to achieve the same results, putting them in to practice and – just as importantly – celebrating those differences.

I want to be celebrated for being home at six so I can eat with my family and read my child a bedtime story. I’ll be the most efficient worker you have.

I want to celebrate women, not least for their emotional intelligence and human understanding.

I want to celebrate difference, and use it as a strength to provide equal opportunity of results.

Equity, not equality.

You are not other people

Employ to fill gaps in your weak areas.

Work for people who will challenge you, inspire you, and demand from you.

If you have this balance, you’re in dreamland.  

Otherwise, be careful not to compare people to you for your standards of them.

Inevitably you will judge people within a frame of your own strengths and weaknesses. 

It will only frustrate you that they are not as good as you and you will perpetuate the gaps caused by your deficiencies. 

Celebrate difference instead, and learn from it.

Opportunity over loyalty

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Loyalty is often misunderstood.

Loyalty is showing support or allegiance to a person or institution.

Your values match and you get value out of each other.

One party gets to align to similar thinking individuals, explore more about themselves and the opportunity for (social) promotion.

The other gets support, work and backing.

If you are not getting anything back, you are not loyal, you are misguided and a being taken advantage of.

Be principled and be loyal to those principles.

Know what is good and what you want, and commit to that.

Opportunity then becomes part of your principles.

If there is an opportunity to follow something bigger, better, more right, then follow that.

If not, you are misguided and being taken advantage of.

 

Understanding Comics, The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud 

“I guess the basic difference is that animation is sequential in time but not spatially juxtaposed as comics are.

Each successive frame of a movie is projected on exactly the same space – the screen- while each frame of the comics must occupy a different space.

Space does for comics what time does for film.”

“Defining the cartoon would take up as much space as defining comics, but for now I’m going to examine cartooning as a former of amplification through simplification.”

“When we abstract an image through cartooning, we’re not so much eliminating details as we focusing on specific details.

By stripping down an image to its essential ‘meaning’, an artist can amplify that meaning in a way that realistic art can’t. ”

Work for people

The first time I moved jobs, I had a few interviews to see what was out in the market.

There were two job offers I didn’t take but I still clearly remember the people who offered them as I valued them.

The first was Matt Mint (then at Mindshare) and the second was Owain Wilson at Mediacom.

Fast forward to 2014 and when I spoke to my recruiter about moving from my last agency, the breif was:

  1. Not MEC as it’s south of the river
  2. Not MediaCom as it’s too big and I didn’t want to be just one of a number

The recruiter wisley ignored me and sent me a brief that was still at MediaCom but specifically working in Owain’s team.

I took the interview and got the job.

This is the second time I moved to work for someone specific (Clive Record in the first instance) and after he left I stayed specifically to work for a brilliant man in Malcolm Boxall.

I continue to benefit more from working with brilliant people than anything clients or culture can offer.

Work with brilliant people and you can be brilliant.

If you don’t, change your situation now.

‘What are you scared of?’ 

A few weeks ago there was a department social event, which I had cancelled other appointments to go to.

It was a boat party up the Thames, packed to the brim with colleagues, media owners, booze and DJs. 

My worst nightmare.

In the day, as the time got closer to leave, I was hit with a really feeling of anxiety that I haven’t felt in a long time.

It was like a weight in my stomach and someone pulling the inside of my throat down into my body.

Out of cowardice, I told my team I was too tired and was pulling out.

One of them asked me ‘What I was afraid of?’ 

I told her, as I tell myself, I’m not really afraid of anything, that my fearlessness is almost a problem.

But I was scared.

Scared of too many people.
Scares of no space.

Scared of building relationships and the opportunity to be hurt. 

This is something I need to work on and not be scared of.