Saturday, March 8, 2008

"Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow"

I fir
stan-richards, the-richards-group, advertising, marketing, wild-wild-east-dailies, david everitt-carlson, portrait, dallas, texas, rambler-road,st heard that in 1982 as words of advice for my career from my boss, Stan Richards at The Richards Group in Dallas, Texas. Believe it or not that company is an advertising agency and Stan still runs it daily, and he's into his mid 70s. Between that statement and the film of Leo Burnett on this blog, you might actually start to believe that the advertising business had some principles and some standards. And for the best people I've met in the business, it does.

Oh, I've met, worked with and worked for slimeballs, scumbuckets, sleezeballs, charlatans, hacks and downright liars as well, but it takes quite a bucket of idiots to make up for the few strategically well-placed souls in the industry.

For every Bernbach, Richards or Burnett there must be a thousand carpetbaggers, but trust me; these are not the voices you want to listen to. Not at least if you want to sleep well and lead a career of talent, inspiration and integrity. You can run ragged on the music business in the same way for all the criminals you'll find there but you'll also find an Ahmet Ertegun or Quincy Jones in the mix to balance things out – just every once in awhile.

The point was, is and always will be that doing what you love is the ultimate reward. It is the ultimate benefit of choices well made, of dreams well chased and of honour and honesty to oneself. If you can so much as continue to love the way in which you spend the majority of your time in the pursuit of a living, you will have succeeded at something that 99.9% of the population will go to the grave trying to grasp.

Excerpt from Wild Wild East:

"It was a Saturday morning and my father's study was next to my room in the partially sunken half of our suburban split-level home. In there Dad had his drafting table and what I thought to be exotic German instruments for designing electrical diagrams. On this particular morning he had a pile of drawings and was busy reviewing them and making corrections to his staff's work. I had never seen my father work on a Saturday before. As fascinated as I always had been with the mechanics of his job, this still did not seem to be an enjoyable passing of a Saturday when baseball and even lawn work stood as alternatives.

'Dad?'. I asked him, 'Do you like your job?'

The most quizzical look passed over his face. Obviously only a child could ask a question of such stupidity. And to Dad, a Korean war veteran and child of the depression, it was as nonsensical as could be.

'David', he said, 'It's not about liking something. You're not going to like everything you do in life. My job pays for this house and you, and your mother and your sisters. I never asked myself if I liked it or not. That's not how life works.' "

And that was probably the day I decided that it was important to enjoy what I was going to spend my whole life doing.

It was far, far later that Stan Richards would verify for me that I was not a complete idiot and that other people felt the same way as I did. Stan was both successful and happy.

Recently I left Stan's comment on a weblog called "MakeItbetter" under a post entitled 84 Things To Live By. To me it's still the way to sleep well each night.
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