Monday, September 08, 2008

A New Beginning.

This morning, after going through my usual daily routine of showering and eating breakfast, I poured myself a shot. I have never done this before but it seemed like the right thing to do. It’s not every morning that one wakes up and decides that today is the day they will change their entire life.

The vodka was ice cold from the freezer, just the way it should be.
I raised my glass high in the air and toasted myself…"L'Chayim".
For those of you that aren't Jewish, "L'Chayim" (in my opinion) is probably the greatest "Cheers" worldwide. The translation from Hebrew is "To Life". After all, is there anything that we should be celebrating more while hoisting a glass? Is there anything more important?

Which has brought me to my decision.
This year, I had trouble celebrating my birthday. I kept asking myself, is this it? At 37, after acquiring everything I could ever want in life, am I stuck simply working in the same old way until retirement?

I’ve worked on everything in my creative career. In every medium.
I put in almost 10 years in ad agencies (on many prestigious clients) climbing the ranks to the position of senior Art Director, and I’ve worked for 5 years on the client side in a large corporate communications environment. For those that really don’t know me, I started working at the age of 11. I have a very strong entrepreneurial spirit. I have always been able to make money and even ran an extremely successful disc jockey company when I was in college.

So, I’ve been freelancing in-house for one of the world's largest companies (as a Creative Director/Senior Designer), 3 days a week, for the last 5 years. 2 days a week, I worked from home on other clients…and it’s been great. I’ve even won a ton of awards during this time (8 internationally (including a gold), and two consecutive first-place finishes nationally, beating all the multi-million dollar ad agencies and design studios in Canada that participated). I’ve been published, I had the Dean of a foreign University contact me to use an ad campaign I created in their curriculum. It’s all been good. But recently, around my birthday, something has been bothering me.

Today, after my celebratory drink, I went in and ended my in-house contract. I walked away.
I told them if they need me, I'll be available at home by the project.
I walked away from a guaranteed paycheck.
I'm gambling with my life and I just pushed all my chips on the table.
No more office structure and politics. No more 9-5. No more fighting heavy rush-hour traffic. I don’t want to relate to the “Dilbert” comic strip.
Life is too short to not enjoy going to work every not take chances and say "what if?"
If I don't go out and freelance full-time, on my own, playing by my own rules, at this age, I'll never do it.
After playing serious poker for the last few years, I learned one very important thing...
I want more. I want to concentrate mostly on advertising creative and logo design.
I want to go shopping when the stores are empty. I want to be at home in a great mood when my kids get home.
I want to play golf when everyone else is at work. I want a flexible schedule and the ability to decide what I am working on, from where, and for whom.
The future is completely virtual. I can work on a laptop from the cottage, while on vacation, or at midnight. The sky is the limit.
So I'm starting new.
My goal for 2007 is to find clients that see the value of hiring a creative guy with tons of agency and corporate experience without red-tape, bullshit, or overhead.
As of January, I'm back to hustling business full-time.
I’m regenerating my entrepreneurial spirit.
It’s time for excitement in my career once again.
I'm ready.
Here I come.
To Life.

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