Blue Monday badly needs a rebrand. And I’m not talking about butchering New Order's 1983 anthem; I’m of course talking about 21 January. For today is officially the saddest day of the year, and I’ve stolen an equation that proves it with science and maths:
[W + ( D-d ) ] x Tq
M x Na
To explain it: W = weather, D = debt, d = monthly salary, T = time since Christmas, Q = time since failing our New Year's resolutions, M = low motivational levels and Na = the feeling of a need to take action.
Or, as I understand it: the weather’s shit, we’re all skint, it has been ages since Christmas and we’ve failed most of our New Year's resolutions. Combine that with feeling at our least motivated, but at the same time having a strong sense that we should be bloody well doing something about it, and you’ve got a fantastic formula for feeling sad.
Fuck that for a game of soldiers. There’s no better time to take charge of our personal happiness and make a change for the better. While the rest of the world mope around in their pyjamas, let’s build a brighter future.
And I’m going to suggest we start by renaming today Big Happy Bright Yellow Optimistic Day. It’s catchy, it’s the length of a half-decent headline and it subtly captures the general feeling of the industry at the moment.
After all, we’ve got a lot to feel good about, especially us lot in the new generation of independent creative shops – we’re faster, nimbler and more adaptable, we have more fun and march to the beat of our own drum. In short, we’re perfectly placed to take advantage of a world that has seemingly lost its marbles.
But it’s easy for me to be happy and optimistic. I work with a ferociously ambitious crew of creative people who dazzle us every day with brilliant ideas, I get to put my kids to bed most nights and I’m lucky enough to work with some of my best friends. But what of those of you reading this who aren’t happy? Those stuck in a rut, who can’t seem to muster the energy to drag themselves into the office today? Well, this is aimed squarely at you:
You don’t have to be unhappy.
You don’t have to be uninspired.
You don’t have to put up with lazy people around you.
You don’t have to make boring work.
You don’t have to work in advertising if it doesn’t inspire you.
You don’t have to work with arseholes.
You have the power to really change things.
And the sooner you make the decision to make yourself happy, the better.
When Stu and I were leaving our previous agency to go out on our own, we were understandably shitting our drawers. We were comfortable, and making really good work, but our ambitions had got the better of us and we wanted to see what it was really like out there on the battlefield. That’s when a friend who had already left told us not to worry because: "On the other side, it’s golden." I remember feeling reassured by those words and subsequently excited that we’d decided to change things up.
To stress, your next step may not be as dramatic as what we did, but rest assured – those nervous feelings that come with change often subside, leaving you feeling so invigorated and excited that the disenfranchised contentment you felt before soon disappears like a fart in the wind.
Hopefully, this will inspire those of you who are nervous about speaking up to do just that – those wanting to move, to call that headhunter – or those of you who want to make sure you only present the ideas you fucking love to start doing that.
It’s an exciting time for our industry at the moment and today’s the day that you can start to feel like that too. So go out there and find your "big happy bright yellow optimistic" place, and if you’re looking to move, we’re always on the lookout for good people.
Ben Middleton is chief creative officer at Creature