As I was graduating from college, I had an interview with a successful Creative Director at an ad agency. I was interviewing for a creative position, starting at the bottom. In my mind, I was destined to be the next great creative in the ad industry. This dream of course, as a young man was based on nothing but youthful dreams, white privilege and naiveté. Call it youthful exuberance with a dash of ignorance!
This was 20+ years ago, and as it turns out, I didn’t become a great creative director. I’ve had a terrific and long career, but ran away from the advertising business when the Internet came around. But in truth, my dreams were partially derailed because of this guy’s comment. The guy on the phone, whose name is long lost to history and my terrible memory (as is the name of the agency) had one piece of advice for me.
He told me in no uncertain terms to “Go get arrested.” I don’t exactly remember what I said to him after that, but I think I asked if he was serious. He was serious, but not about me committing a crime.
I can remember getting off the phone and talking to my roommates about what a dick the guy was to me – his advice was out of left field. What’s crazy is that I’m just now starting to understand it.
Life is funny. It’s impossible to avoid having experiences that change you, both personally and professionally – and often those experiences inform each other. What you learn at work you apply in life and vice versa.
At that moment though, I thought the guy was telling me to commit a crime. He wasn’t.
“Go get arrested kid” as a life concept works on multiple levels. Looking back I can honestly say that I’ve lived a great life. That said, I’m not sure I’ve gotten arrested enough. There are things I’ve dreamed about that I’ve been afraid to try. Stand up comedy. Acting. Karaoke. Boxing. Jumping out of a plane. Going back to school.
Part of waking up has to be to get out of your comfort zone, try new things and dare I say it.. getting arrested. It’s about life experiences.