A backwards jump to nowhere

Every day they feed the puppy, he is 11 years old now and he looks tired. He always went on his walks with a dog lace so he was able to enjoy the muscles in his legs just twice or three times per week. When they let him go freely it was only for 15 minutes and always on some fenced park.

Laura Viera A © Solkes

The dog doesn’t have much to do: just breath, wag his tail and show his tongue; bark to the next door cat that bothers him when going close, for achieving all those tasks he was the winner of a foods portion, the same sandy food as he had for all his fucking life, the same amount, the same whole shit created chemically on some lab.

Laura Viera A © Solkes

The dog has forgotten that he was able to hunt, he doesn’t have a clue of that. Certainly if they leave him on the street he would starve in 5 or 10 days because he is incapable of catching a good source of protein.

If he’s lucky he would find an old piece of hamburger in the trash, but for sure it is not going to do well for him or the boss in the dogs gang would take the bit from him.

That’s what is happening to me, I am that dog that I’m talking about. I was an employee for 12 years they cashed me a grant every 15 days, not one dollar less not one dollar more.

I never ran out of money, I couldn’t spend all the money they pay me, but I was fully aware of the salary of those who earned the less on that same company that I Worked for and that made me so angry about non taking a firm decision before.

At 4:00 o’clock on October 8, 2013 I was 36 years old. I just had finished another meeting in which for the fourth time the marketing Headquarter for Latin America from a Global brand from the financial industry screwed the whole campaign in which all the team has been working for more than 2 months.

All our faces seem tired and angry, it was also easy to conclude that all of our lives were going to revolve around this brand; if it falls down we certainly are going to fall down too.

It was the closest concept to God, I opened my eyes in the morning and my first and only thought was always their slogan, a sort of thankful pledge for giving movement to the world.

Five years before I thought that my job in the advertising world hasn’t been the best decision of my life but I have been working in this sub world for 6 years so basically it was the only thing I knew.

Laura Viera A © Solkes

I decided to soften the negative impact of working on that kind of work that I did, volunteering with foundations and raising money for different shelters.

Two years after I realized that it was not going to work, it was just soothe the pain with warm water, and I started to volunteer for companies and institutions in which I was reflected and identified for the work they did so I walked towards the joint between my working experience in communications and advertising and the previously established missions from NGOs and Foundations, locally and internationally.


Something else was missing

But something else was missing. I was realizing that life was not about telling the people that the redemption was to have a Volvo car and that happiness was to pay everything with a same credit card franchise.

I was realizing that the most beautiful thing in life was to share the “x” brand pasta with mom or that if you bought the electronic lotto you would be able to achieve all your objectives and that all your dreams would come true.

I started myself to search for the projects which captured my attention, those that were focused on having a positive impact in small scale communities but with potential to become massive.

When I was on that search, I found a friend that created the project Habitat Without Frontiers and  he also generated ideas with the Casa B (House B Project) and worked pro – bono for an UN office in Colombia.

It all started to sound very good, but the sad side of this story was that until that moment I was never able to quit my corporate job on the agency, in which for that moment, year 2011 I have reached 9 years of full dedication.

Laura Viera A © Solkes

Doing “everything for the money”, that money that financed my life as I had designed, life in which I do need the money to afford the life in the expensive side of the city.

In the middle of this process, Habitat  Sin Fronteras (habitat without frontiers) took its own course and grew exponentially. Today they work from Panamá and Medellín with great success.

From the relationship with Casa B great satisfactions emerged, those alliances continue nowadays. The workshops and the union with the community are advancing incredibly, now they are recognized in the Belen neighborhood in which the project was founded.

I signed a contract with the UN for being an external consultant to set the communication bases for an important law that aimed to repair the damages that the armed conflict has left in different ethnic groups. Explaining it briefly, the UN contract was an opportunity to demonstrate how valuable it is what the knowledge in communication has to contribute in developing and progress affairs.

In 2 years I generated the impact that I never achieved in the previous 9 years. Each and every project mentioned had put a grain of sand in a complex state that for some opinions and some groups was a state with no possible and positive exit. Those projects had lit a tender light of hope and maybe some smiles and some others honest “thanks”!


They could think I’m crazy

I had channelized some of my efforts into my true passions. But, on that day, October 8th, 2013, sitting on my desk, on that big advertising agency in which I worked. It was a great agency that belongs to one of the biggest networks in the whole world, and I writing a document that was not just a complaint to myself but also would start one of the biggest bets I have done in my entire life.

I knew that some of my friends would be proud of me for doing this, also some few relatives would be. Probably most of them would say once again that guy is nuts. But fuck them all, I told to myself, at last I was not doing this for them I was doing it for me.

On that October 8th, I decided that I was going to leave the corporate world. I was going to abandon marketing advertising. I would ignore all corporations that have fed millions of dogs with non real food for decades. Those corporations that had walked over people who gave them their lives, those companies that had put economical gains and profitability over real people. I decided not to share the same table with them. I stood for it and shouted out loud on that day, and I decided and since I was 36 now which made me older enough, and young enough, I knew that I would have to assume each and every one of my words and their consequences.


It’s easy to fall in love with the advertising world

After the world didn’t come to an end with the millennium change –Y2K- I returned from living a year abroad in the United States and I found myself job hunting in Bogotá.  So, in order to make some money, pay the rent and afford my college studies I started as an English teacher in some language institute down in Chapinero.

Laura Viera A © Solkes

It was funny because the headmaster was a British guy and my accent was the first of many reasons of jokes and mockeries. After a few months I realized I wasn’t going to fit there and I had to quit.

My doubts were fresh and clear. Those same doubts that made me travel before. I decided to travel as a desperate action because I was incapable of answering myself the most important questions in life, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be an Engineer so I quit the faculty, I wasn’t sure either about the roll I wanted to have for the next years, I was full of questions about what I really wanted to learn. But then, I wasn’t able to find myself there either, definitely I didn’t like the America’s life style and the solitude and the indifference of theirs turned me apart.

The trip was useful to discover myself in extreme situations that I had never imagined before, to serve and to clean tables at a restaurant was not the same as working as a consultant in some banking office, I don’t think it was necessarily better or worse, it was just different. But once I thought I spoke the language properly I thought I had accomplished my mission there and something made me come back.

I decided to join the Business Faculty, although I thought I was going to quit too at some time, but when I started my fourth year, in year 2003, I ran into a friend who told me they were looking in her company someone good for numbers, someone who knew how to analyze them and that knew how to manage databases in Excel.

I didn’t ask further questions or analyzed if I had or not the necessary conditions. I decided to attend an interview in a company whose business was the advertising investment. They did rigorous analysis of the market. I didn’t understand quite well what they did, but I did know I needed a better job for finishing to pay my business studies, so I decided it was the perfect choice.

During the third year of the new millennium on May 19th, I sat on an uncomfortable metallic bench, one of those created to make you leave soon, to sign an indefinite contract. “Indefinite contract” was the most envied phrase back then. Every Junior or recently graduated professional dreamed about having a serious contract with an important company. That was the guiding star of every sailor, the biggest celebrating reason in every Colombian working class family (such as mine) because it was not an easy moment in economic matters for the country and the unemployment rates was deepened to chilling limits. So I posed with my happy and proud butt on that little chair and signed all sorts of documents during an entire hour. Lots of pages that I had not even read but that certainly were not fully charged with bad stuff because today, eleven years later, I can say I never had any kind of problem, not in contractual terms.

My father was so excited, he couldn’t believe that his son had a serious, dignifying and honorable job. He didn’t understand either what was that investment advertising concept, but who cares, his son worked for a prestigious company. The phone lines in Pereira, the city where I had born 25 years before collapsed: it was my father calling my 11 aunts and uncles and his retired friends from the bank in which we worked for all his life, all of them should know his son´s big step, I didn’t understand quite well why he was so thrilled, but ok it should be good enough so I joined the celebration

On my first day of job I had to wait until my boss, someone who was going to exercise as a boss for the very first time, had the time to sit with me and tell me in detail what I should be doing, he did it quite well, it was clear enough for me now, it all made sense what all these was about.

I was working for a company that managed the money from the biggest companies in the country, it made consumption studies or in other words human beings and their buying tendencies studies and they analyze market numbers and the investment numbers of the competence, so they were able to make recommendations to optimize the investment in the different mass media, in charged of expand the messages that the biggest corporations had for consumers.

I thought that was great! It was an unknown dimension, I was a complete stranger who didn’t spoke the language of a world in which everyone seemed main characters of Mad Men. On the same floor around 60 people coexisted, the offices were luxury and shone daily, thanks to a ladies patrol most of them named Mrs. Rosita, they had the most important objective of all: to keep everything spotless and perfect.

My new working station was a table with six seats, there were other 8 tables like mine. They were working teams, in which the accounts were distributed, the brands. Each one of the 6 people had different responsibilities, mine was the quantitative analysis, add and subtract numbers in magnitudes I had never seen before and that made me feel important. I was analyzing, controlling and following up thousands of millions of pesos which was daily invested in this market.

Miriam Alvite B © Solkes

As I was fluent in English, my level of utility grew daily in a company that had the headquarters in New York City that also wanted to expand in the international advertising and creative festivals therefore having a good writing skills in English was a plus for them.

It was a virtue that few had and between this and my efficiency with numbers and my skills for mathematics I made myself very visible, I was doing very well on my new job. In the meetings that we held with the managers I had the best grades and compliments.

Sometimes I, got surprised about them but I enjoyed the triumph sensation, although there were always ups and downs and sometimes they rejected the presentation we made. The final balance was always positive.

If the success was rated by the amount of pats on the back that the chiefs gave, I usually receive several, maybe 8 per month, I think that’s a high standard, sometimes I found sad work mates, I used to think that it was because they just receive 1 or to pats in the back for the whole month.

I used to leave the company early because I had to attend classes on campus at night. I arrived home late in the night exhausted maybe as thousands of Colombians did, my father was always expecting me with a warm plate of food, and then I got to sleep the few hours that were left.


The comfort zone would arrive sooner or later

A year after I had started, they had changed my work already. Now I was a qualitative data analyst (they changed me to the “nt” for the “l”), a brief shift that helped me understand the business quite better and my empowerment for this new world was just beginning. I felt triumphant in foreign lands. When in my third year working there I got graduated from college and they began to pay me a little better.

I bought a car with some savings I had and I asked for a loan in the bank where they kindly filled out the forms for me and did everything I needed they just said: “Mr. Diego don’t you worry at all”. My happiness increased. I also could go and live by myself, my father came back to Pereira where my mother had return a while ago, and I was here, without my parents or siblings, traveling to visit them back at my city once a year and leaving behind every time I went there, the message that I was doing extremely well.

In the year 2007 I had been working in the advertising world for more than four years. I just had blinked once and was already deep in the depths of this new world of commercial campaigns, those that do the impossible to sell every kind of products to all the consumers, better called as human beings, those campaigns that made them feel the necessity of buying lots of things, things that most of the times are completely useless.

I started hopping around different activities and in-house agencies within the group, I changed continuously my rolls and adventure myself changing from place to place, the ones I tried the most were the media agencies and there was a discipline that called my attention more than the others: it was the strategic planning and most all applied to advertising investment.

That was the reason because I really enjoyed what I did. It challenged me to think solutions outside the box for the different problems of those big companies and tried to solve them from communication strategies, I found my path there, I found the real value to my work while proposing solutions using what communication taught me.

Laura Viera A © Solkes

For the next three years I was busy doing planning, finding structured solutions to dramatic and millionaire problems that were insignificant in human terms. I had to train different people, taught them what all of this was about, explain them the different processes and business that were involved with it, the different business from different brands and in different economic groups, airlines, communication and mobile phones companies, electronic lotto, payment methods and even coffee brands or country brands.

Although most of the people ignore it, Colombia and most of the 35 biggest economies around the world are considered as brands to the foreign investments area and in the huge and great tourism global industry, which moves millions of dollars per year, only that us, the mass, don’t perceive them, we help to analyze and to understand them, to count and to keep but we never receive them, we never enjoy that money.

In 2010 I was working as the Director of a strategic formulation in advertising investment g team from the same holding, other advertising agency but from the same owners as the previous company. But for the whole year I started to feel different, my eternal courtship was entering a new slow and slumber phase, we were not the same as before, I stopped feeling those butterflies on my stomach when my boss compliments me for the goals I had obtained and I was not fully aware of the reason why this was happening. I didn’t know if it was disappointment or if it was a tricky moment between the two of us and perhaps we should have some time apart.

Since I was 20 years old I started to develop an special interest in the numbers that describe Colombia’s situation, I was always aware of the numbers and rates of economic development, of unemployment, of access to education and of everything that let me map my country in my mind.

When I was 23 I began to read the UNHDR report every year, I was always trying to compare this data with the rest of the world data, that’s why I have always known how behind and under developed we are in comparison to other places. Today I ask myself why I never establish relations between what I did for a living with the consequences that those kind of decisions left to the Colombian socioeconomic system, if I worked and 20% of the working force of my country didn’t something was so wrong.

The sum of all the lessons I had learned and the critical points about Colombian development and progress started to interfere with my work on that 2010, so in the middle of my confusion I decided to take a break from my job and take a breath and I decided to opened my bank website to know how much money I could count with. I realized that it wasn’t much but when I took my car to go home I thought that I had enough money between what I had in my bank account and the money I would receive if I sold my car and perhaps and extra hand from my Visa credit card. That amount could take me somewhere.

María Ines Roa © Solkes

A year ago I had visited Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and I liked them so much than when I returned I started taking Portuguese classes. I got all decided, I was going to travel around Brazil for 5 months, but I knew me very well and I was not going to be able to travel light and do nothing, it wasn’t my way of seeing the world, I would not have been able to be a bum for 5 months!

I would have to be doing something so it occurs to me that if I was going to keep working on the advertising world I would be doing from its heart, so I enrolled in a famous marketing school, the most famous one do Maior país da América do sul! And took one of those cherished courses from my specialty, Communications Planning.

Those 5 months were extremely useful for me because not only to take my life calmly and made me pay more attention to little details in life.

They also made me a tasty bite for the Colombian advertising market, because on one hand they are not more than 30 planners (communications and branding strategies) in the whole country a studying and traveling around Brazil.

I decided to accepted the one who I was more attracted to, working as a planner for the biggest advertising agency in Colombia, that was also part of the same group in which I started working 7 years ago, being one of the planners for this agency and this group implied being in the Big Leagues of this little world.


The idea of taking the leap and jumping off

I was back in Bogotá with the idea of a corporate chair waiting for me in an agency, a former boss who was truly outraged about my decision and according to her I was a betrayer and a new commercial advertising discipline to be known. One year after my return I was focused on learning from the one of the biggest, Marcelo A. That was one year in which I was beginning to recover a little piece of my passion and loving for advertising and a year in which I spare many of my free hours working with foundations and organizations in which I volunteered.

Organizations well known by taking place in different social problems that I knew well, I wanted to feel part of them I wanted to feel myself active. They were 12 months were devastating and crucial for my life, because although I had reached an important and well desired position in the Colombian advertising world and I always received a juicy payment, envied by many, for reasons non different than we are the 12th more unequal country around the globe I realized that all that was not what I wanted.

It would be ridiculous to work on socio economic projects on my free time, while I spent the rest of my life creating advertising campaigns which ultimately succeeded with feeding behaviours that were often the cause of most of the problems I was trying to solve by other sides.

But it was not so easy, it was not as simple as giving my boss a call and starting shouting out loud that I had taken my life’s biggest decision. It was not as simple as that. I sat again on my chair, I returned to my bank website and searched for my bank accounts information but the news were murky.

Laura Viera A © Solkes

I was owing millions of pesos, several thousands of dollars as a consequence of have been working for years in a comfort place, that offered me all the possible guarantees to buy all kinds of stuff paid in the long term, for example stocks for a hotel, deferred in 36 months, all the expenses from my last trip paid with my credit card, I had also opened a restaurant that was a failure and that only left me a banking debt for 24 months that I would had to pay soon so I decided it was better for me to take some time to sleep on it and to ponder on. I would need to structure a strong plan for my exit.

The next morning, I arrived to the agency and after 3 different meetings I had totally forgot the stupid decision that I had thought I could make, I couldn’t be so naïve to think like that so I went on with the same old routine.

I continued on the same easy road that I had always took, that road in which wen just lift the feet slightly, you also accommodate the buttocks on the float and you just let yourself be going with the flow.

In December 2011 I met with one of my great and dear friends from live, a charismatic guy who had lots of friends and hundreds of ideas in his head, ideas of which we spoke for hours sharing some beers and while the cold Christmas breezes were blowing around us.

We spoke about everything, we even talked about our shared desires of running away from corporations, from the short time that we had to think about and to understand our conditions as individuals and our rolls inside the society. The short time we had to be with our families, restricted time to travel, to got to know the world, restricted time to develop our hand crafts ort artistic talents, precious time to think about ourselves, lastly it was a valuable time that we invested with our employees.

My friend introduced on that December to one of his best friends and partners in some projects that they had held together in Berlin, they were shaping a brand new idea, they wanted to create a place to promote arts and culture in downtown Bogotá, they were also looking for a house to share so we went to live together on a flat in Chapinero, 220 square meters of friendship, ideas, shared breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Two months after, an additional friend, she would be working on a full time with them building the House B, a project designed to promote the cultural access in a neighborhood in Bogotá which had been marginalised by the same local public institutions, the name of the neighborhood was Belen.

I always had a recurring question: what do these people do for a living? I never saw them working continuously, but they made some money for organizing parties, playing music on them, taking photos, translating documents or whatever they didn’t had economic needs, they were always dedicated to house B and they always had lots of free time, perhaps too many.

Living with these groups of friends, added to the previous desires I had about running away from the corporate world and investing more time in my interest in development and progress and to contribute to the building of ideas that aimed to improve my life conditions and the life conditions of those who surrounded me, I began to rant. On the weekends I worked full time on House B as a volunteer and from Monday to Friday I plunged into the world I already repelled.

Perhaps there was then when my reformulation process begun, that influence from restless, intelligent, dedicated and devoted people, who were also joyful and positive, those friends that never stopped creating events, workshops, gatherings, trips and rides those who were truly restless something that on the corporate world tends to fall asleep: ideas for life not for business and for money making, money that should be visible on the final balance of the fiscal year.

The plan

The plan was basically to train myself to live in a different world from the employees one, while I paid the debts I had. Being unemployed and debtor at the same time was not a good mixture. I first had to add and subtract, understood how much I owed, to whom I owed and the correspondent concepts. The initial calculations were:

Banking credits: $9,600,000.00
Credit Cards: $11,800,000.00
Employers fund: $3,362,000.00
Hotel invest: $6,180,000.00
Plot of land invest: $20,000,000.00
Total: $51,000,000.00 // USD$26.000!!

With that scenario I made the according balances, my deadline was October 7, 2014, I would have to pay USD$ 2.200 per month for being able to complete the payments and quit my jobs without a debt. My salary was enough. The problem was that I was quite messy so I would need to take the necessary actions to organize it and to report everything while it was happening.

The second part of the plan was about thinking about what my new labor was going to be, really it wasn’t clear at all. Consult and advice communication projects with social impact was a strong option, it mixed what I liked to do and was outside the commercial scheme. This should be what generated me incomes for a living.

Laura Viera A © Solkes

As a part of understanding how I would make a living I would have to calculate how much this new life would cost me, which of the expenses were inevitable and which obligations I could have monthly.

The numbers scared me, they generated a terrible sensation of money dependence as a part of that system that we invented, it wasn’t important anymore, the only thing that mattered me was how to found the incomes from November 2014 when I would be earning anymore my biweekly salary that I was so used to.

The potential works would be the consultant jobs and perhaps all the projects that would come from public or international investments in Casa B.

When that first day ended, after having made this decision I felt as if I was going to jump from a rock into the water, absolutely unsecure. My palms were sweating. I felt panic to think that maybe a month in which I wasn’t able to pay for my parent’s health insurance, I had been an employee for more than a decade and I had never, never stopped to receive my salary, I felt like my haunting instinct was fully sleep, I was that dog who had been fed on the mouth, castrated from any survival instinct for 11 years.


Assimilating the decision

Day 2:
October 9, 2013

I woke up happy because of the decision I had made. I was positive about what would come but some news was about to get the morning even better. I was invited to give a conference about the impact in social transformation in marketing, it was going to took place the 24 of that same month, October, at the university of Santander in Bucaramanga and in that same afternoon I received an additional invitation to travel on November 22, a month after, to Belo Horizonte Brazil.

A young entrepreneur group had read an article that I had written a few months ago about a project that emerged at Casa B with the group Community Brand who organized the famous events creative mornings and thought this was a great idea to communicate on their forum.

If the things were going to be like that, the fears and the doubts would decrease gradually.

At 8:00 in the morning of the next week we should have presented for the eleventh time the campaign to the Marketing Director from that global brand from the financial business, but since her chief cared so little, the meeting was cancelled, we all woke up early for nothing.

The day before when I thought this was only about paying debts and speculate about what would brought me new incomes, I didn’t considered that I would need to train literally speaking to live with less incomes, the employees who earn good money never thought about it, we don’t give money the proper value. A coffee that can cost $1000 on a downtown quarter, costs 300% more around my office and we don’t care to pay for it everyday because we don’t appreciate the money as we should, we don’t need it so much.

I thought about that kind of luxuries and how I would not be able to afford them unless having a regular job, I would start thinking much more in each and every expense since that day, just to being aware of what I was going to face 12 months after.


Day 55:
December 1, 2013

The process was loaded with multiple emotions and feelings I felt strange, that past Saturday I had woke wondering if this decision would be or not the last word. I was convinced that it was but the doubt came and went and I was sure I was going to feel these sorts of internal questions again. It wasn’t easy to think myself restricted from money, what I doubted the most was if I was going sometime to have things which I didn’t want to restricted working on my own as an independent. I thought that perhaps if some day I wanted to own a house it was not going to be piece of cake.

It was December 2, everyone around me was planning what they would give to their relatives and friends for Christmas, what their budgets were and where they going to travel, but I was just hoping very reluctantly that my family would understand the reason why I was not going to give presents this year.

56 days after I started to feel some kind of a solitude freedom that just I understood. It was like opening a plane´s gate and descend the stairs to an unknown land, it was all thrill and was a kind of uncertainty that I didn’t knew.


Christmas and family talks

Day 86:
January 3, 2014

A new year had begun and it arrived with me stuck to the decision, it felt ok, like a positive vertigo. I was strong but anxious about that moment arriving. I took advantage of the family gatherings to talk with my parents; we talked about life, about the different options and about the reason for my decision.

Laura Viera A © Solkes

My mother as many other mothers showed herself proud of her son, she raised her head to affirm she was with me in this and in all decisions I would take, It should be that they see in us the one chance to make it happen, everything that they could not come to reality.

With my father things went a little different, his look on me went further, perhaps he wanted to said that he was seeing a nuts guy in me and he was not totally wrong, but at the end he patted softly on my back and that awkward silence told me what I wanted to hear: Go on, son you rock! At least that is what I hope he meant.

The debts have decreased from USD $25,000 to USD $ 17.000 a 32% reduction, it was magic, they faded in my hands I started to feel like it was going to be a piece of cake.

In late December I received a call from the same UN office for whom I had worked few months ago, they wanted to understand in depth the process that we had been holding in Belen neighborhood in Bogotá. It occurred to them that our idea of creating a brand for that neighborhood could leverage some processes that they were developing with an other southern Bogota community, so we were going to begun with a pilot program on march and what was the better news, they were going to pay us!


Paying the debts is orgasmic

Day 115
February 2, 2014

I had a financial orgasm. I paid the last fee of the hotel investment that I had started years before. I killed the first of my big debts literally speaking, this simple fact meant a whole new step towards the idea of saying farewell, for good, to the corporate world.

I received the payment for a consultancy I gave to a yogurt’s new brand as a freelance and that helped me virtually eliminate one of my bank loans, the one that supported the previous bankruptcy for that antique restaurant idea, this meant that in a month I committed two slow payers murders.

Why no one taught me to think 7 times and think carefully before acquiring a debt? I have known different people through out my life that looked straight into my eyes and proudly said they finally own a house. But, ten seconds after their faces transformed when they told me they have a debt with the bank for the next 20 years.

This made me get a chill through out my spine that blocks me thinking how this is the same of giving your life to the bank as a mortgage. If the money that we have is not enough for paying something in a maximum range of 5 or 6 years or at least in a time that we can dimension, we should think it twice and just understand that we don’t have the enough money and no more. It´s unnecessary to spend all our lives to pay a debt, only for having a bigger house than we can pay for.


The time to talk with my boss would arrive

Day 222
May 19, 2014.

Seven months and 11 days ago I took one of the most important decisions of my life or at least the one that grayed my hair and aged me the most, it also got me chronic gastritis. It’s true that the first great moment had to be making the decision and taking the risk but the second great moment would be talking with my boss, the agency strategic planning VP and telling him about my decision.

I have thought about it carefully to speak with him 2 months so he could took the necessary actions and I would be able to pass the torch and give my responsibilities to someone else, that was the way in which I thought I would cause the least possible trauma in the management of his accounts, at the end of the day the only person who was guilty to be working for a corporation was no one’s different than me possible. But on that day at 4:00 o’clock that said: “Parra I need to talk with you, I need to make you a proposal”.

Marcelo, the planning VP didn’t use to write me unless it was too urgent. We walked crossing the office to the coffee which had served hundreds of cups coffee for helping me keeping the energy high to deal with each day of workload, the way down to the coffee was uncomfortable because he was nervous or I felt him so, we took slowly steps like without any rush but they were also stealthy and careful. After saying hello with a little head shake to some of our coworkers that was around we finally arrived to the café´s waiting line, Marcelo asked me once again something pointless that had nothing to do with what was coming.

Finally we got a table and smiling very nervously, Marcelo told me what is all about that I will have a heart attack. He begun to explain me that the holding would be needing a guardian of their culture and an organizational executor, that he was being talking with his brother, the company’s CEO and they have decided to offer me that position, so it would be a Presidency and 3 main leaderships in the company, The Digital, The Creative and which be mine from now on.

At the same time that he was moving his lips, there was only a question one my mind was how to explain to him that although he was considering me a key tab for his corporation, right at that exact moment I would have to tell him that I was going to quit in exactly 4 months and 10 days.

So I lost the thread of the conversation and I started to build my speech on my mind. Marcelo is one of the few people that I admired significantly in this world, and I couldn’t tell him about my decision in a rough way simply because he didn’t deserve it.

I heard the words what do you think? And I had no choice but to jump, I told him step by step all the rocky road that had led me to make the decision, I didn’t deny that I had been shitting on my pants for 7 months when thinking about my future but I also affirmed the self pride that it had generated.

That was without a doubt the second most important moment during those 365 days, all for the conclusion I made, I didn’t care about being offered the most important job proposal of all my carrier but I didn’t had a doubt and I ratified what I had decided, I aimed to tell the only person I cared in this corporation that I was going to “abandon” on October the 7th and I convinced myself once again that that was exactly what I wanted and needed to do.

Laura Viera A © Solkes

The “old buddy”, that guy who taught me more than a half of the things that I know about the communication world, that guy who wear the same old tennis shoes everyday, that could be riding a Ferrari drove the same station wagon that years ago they made him shield.

During our farewell me saying that he had never held a conversation before in which he had no remedy than telling someone who was so appreciated by him that he let him speechless, thus he would let me go, with longing, maybe the same longing that I was saying goodbye.

I believed him for my own safety and for my ego. It was so valuable to conclude once again that my discomfort was with the corporations themselves and not with the people who worked there, there are so valuable people in front of our noses it is always worthy to open our eyes to them.


When you are about to jump you hear voices saying no!

Day: 297
July 29, 2014

The planning Director for the Americas from another global agency wrote me at 13:00 hrs. with a new proposal that literally said: “Hi Diego, what’s up? Everything ok? I wrote to you because I am looking for a planning head for the operation in a country from the region. I would like to know if you would be interested in…”

60 days before quitting, on the exact moment when I was feeling more vulnerable, more afraid would be normal to feel provoked leading an area like mine in another country would me a bigger checkbook, more benefits and more name. But I quickly thought that I wasn’t interested but thanking for the opportunity, I had made the decision to jump.


The load becomes heavier

Day 320
August 3, 2014

The last days were the most intense, the workload seemed to be taking revanche from me, my head had to be able to solve every client’s requirements that for a cosmic reason had exploded all at the same time. But it was not only the internal pressure in the agency, but also my interest for finishing on the best possible way the contract with that ONU agency, finish the consultancy for a brand of a new restaurant that some friends were opening soon, and the House B projects that never stopped. For all that reasons I felt trapped on a very complex maze.

Laura Viera A © Solkes

I also had all the physiological charge of knowing that I was about to jump, and having certainty that I would not have reverse and that being sorry would be more expensive than not being, my legs were trembling, I could’t handle one more knot on the back.

Each coworker that I ran to made whether made a joke or a question about my new condition. Outside the agency I had lots of calls from my friends asking me about the farewell party plans and the date.

My family asked me if I was fully convinced, if I was calm, happy or whatever. I was never able to answer one of that questions I didn’t know how to feel, for the first time after 11 months of taking the decision I was afraid of quitting.

For 11 years I ran into people who served me hundreds of glasses of water, that cleaned the bathrooms day I used daily. Some of them didn’t knew that I was going and they greeted me with a big hug, I looked at them and knew that I was leaving incredible people behind, wonderful and magical people. For the first time I felt that when I would have to go I would leave a piece of my heart on that building. Day 365: October 7, 2014 – I jumped!

Translated By: Laura Viera A

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