I’ve been a bit quiet of late, apologies for that, but I’ve had a very good reason for it. A while ago, when I said I decided that I was going to go contracting, I was half right in what I said. I did plan on it, but the sheer agony of dealing with recruitment agents really wasn’t making me feel like it was something that I was going to enjoy very much. There’s nothing worse than someone with a couple of years recruitment experience trying to tell you that you’re not experienced enough for a job (18 years industry experience would suggest they’re full of hot air most of the time).
So I decided to try something different. For a long time I’ve been unhappy with the way agencies work. It’s a service based industry and it’s all about getting the jobs through the door to either pay the bills or please your shareholders, with little consideration for the people doing the work. It’s become like battery farming for people.
In the last couple of years I found myself in a position where, after a lot of years experience I wasn’t getting the roles that I wanted, even though I knew I was experienced enough to do them. Then came the breaking point at the start of this year when everything went belly up. I had to stop and think ‘was it really a job title I was after or the work and the experience?’ Quite a bit of thinking later I realised actually, job titles aren’t really that important, or they shouldn’t be. They become a label that we apply to ourselves and then mould ourselves into it. Think of them as a badly fitting pair of skinny jeans, when we gain a bit too much we look hideous in them and are desperate for a bigger size.
I was becoming a version of myself I didn’t really like all that much. Work, or my career, is quite literally the only thing I’ve got that I can invest me in. It felt like other people were playing god with it and failing to take it as seriously as I do. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I hated who I was. Things got really dark and very scary for a few weeks. I questioned if I was good enough to do anything, because that’s how I’d been made to feel. I felt I simply wasn’t good enough for anything. It really was not a nice place to be.
The thing was, I really didn’t want to go back to being an employee. Through a great deal of thinking, I’d worked out that both office politics and being an employee really weren’t working for me. It was making me miserable, and worse, ill. Call it an existential crisis if you will.
Not one to do anything by conventional standards, I really felt a change was needed.
When someone says to me ‘you can’t do that…’ I’ll respond with ‘watch me’.
So I’m saying this, the current agency model is broken in a lot of ways. I want to try something new.
The thing is, it’s not really that new, companies already do what I want to do, just possibly not agencies and not everything I want to try in one go. Somethings may work, others may not. Yet as the wonderful Ed Catmull and wise Eric Ries both say, we shouldn’t be ashamed of failing. At least we’ve given it a try instead of standing around complaining about everything all the time. I’m tired of listening to people complain and I’m tired of being unhappy.
So I guess I’m officially launching Oubliette* onto the world. At the moment, it’s just me. Yet with all things you have to start somewhere and have something to aim for (like fixing the bugs in the build of the site for starters!).
So in short, I’m aiming for a flat structure agency without a fixed office space. Short and sweet. To those of you who wish me luck, thank you. To those of you wish me the opposite, you’re entitled to your views but it’s not going to stop me.
*Oubliette, pronounced ‘ooo-blee-ette’ it’s French, it’s literal translation is ‘the forgotten place’, and yes I know many of you will think of it as a dungeon, but that’s not how I think of it. If you know me, you know I love words and how they sound, this is my favourite. It has a lot of different meanings to me and it really fits what I want my company to represent. Also, I work in the creative services industry, I’m allow artistic license.