McNUGGETS to McCARTNEY
The story of how one day job and a few dozen Chicken McNuggets led to a new chapter and a new blog.
"Fashion is like life. It needs fear and uncertainty if you are to move forward." - ALBER ELBAZ
It only takes a minute in adland to realise that it’s no Madmen.
Mad men by the plenty, sure; a bit of a boys’ club, maybe, but the offices aren’t lined with mahogany and cigar smoke and lunches don’t (usually) come in the form of three martinis. And as a member of the high-heel wearing species around the agency's corridors, I was actually respected for working hard and what’s between my ears, not made to work harder because of what’s between my legs.
Had that all been different – had my nine to five reflected Madmen’s fictional reality (in every way apart from that last one of course) – my next move wouldn’t have been any different. It was never the mythical ‘glamour’ of adland that lured me in, and nor would it be what would make me stay.
So I packed up my desk and I exited the world of advertising.
I quit my job.
Those were four words I certainly never thought I’d say – or in this case type – because;
1. As an absolute perfectionist, giving up or giving in just isn’t something I know how to do – God help my poor boyfriend.
2. They were six words which, at the time, I couldn’t follow with the tale of another job contract already signed, sealed and delivered.
As of February 19th, 2016 I had no job, only one that I had left behind. I was no longer a ‘Planner’, just a girl with a dream – or perhaps a few loose screws as some people thought.
On February 19th, I walked out of that seven-storey ivory tower once and for all. The place where I had spent as much of my life over the last four years as I had my own home.
Call it a quarter-life crisis, but I think all of us mid-twenty-something's hit that point where we start to question what we’re doing with our lives. As fresh-faced uni grads we’re all lured into the workforce by the novelty and the security of landing that first job; the relief that we've climbed onto the first rung of the corporate ladder. That, and the unfamiliar luxury of having a bank balance that's actually in the black. Well at least on payday anyway.
But it's when that newfound existence becomes your ‘normal’ that you begin to ask yourself whether that’s what you want your 'normal' to look like.
Don't get me wrong, my stint in advertising was great. It started off by one little lady, atop of big heels and a big personality, taking a gamble on me barely out of my last uni lecture. Alongside her, an amazing planning team - and with the added assistance of ping pong breaks, a fully-stocked drinks fridge, moments of collaborative genius and even more moments of stress-induced delirium - I helped to lead the strategy side of things for some of New Zealand’s largest advertisers. It was an invaluable opportunity, I got to work with some of the industry’s most inspiring minds, I had a great run; I learnt a lot.
But ironically, perhaps the most important lesson I learnt was that I was chasing the wrong light at the end of the tunnel.
I had spent the last few years inching myself towards advertising’s glory of winning a Gold Lion at Cannes*, when really, it turned out that I wanted that glimmer to be from the golden sequins hitting New York's runways. Whether observing the magic play out from the front row or being thick in the madness behind the scenes and seams, fashion was the world I wanted to get lost in.
Advertising Big Macs and BMWs was never quite the same as obsessing over Balmain and Burberry. McNuggets could never compare to McCartney.
So back in February I quit my job and left adland. Nerves by the plenty, sure; a bit crazy, maybe, but I have now officially left that chapter to start this new story. The Blondini Chronicles. And if I’m lucky enough that it leads me past or to golden sequins in New York and Stella McCartney, I’ll be one happy (and well-dressed) girl.
Wish me luck and watch this space.
j a m i e x
*Don’t get me wrong, still very proud to say I picked up a bronze Lion this year. Nice work team!