Monologues: Mad Man to Rag Man

Jaheb Barnett at DDB advertising

Priorities and dreams. Sometimes they never meet. And that disconnect is exactly where dreams will live or die. When dreams aren’t escalated and put right up high on your priority list. When you don’t sacrifice comfort, routine and safeness then you’ll never move and the months and years will slip by and before you know it the dream may be abandoned or forgotten altogether. 

Nothing brave ever grows in the expected.

For many months now I’ve been going through an internal struggle which pitted my rationality against my hopes and aspirations. One side of the brain ways telling me to keep at what I’m doing, I’m confident in what I do, I work with a bunch of spectacular people for a great agency... but then the ‘what if’ side became more and more outspoken. 

I’m the type of person who has always been fairly calculated in my decision making, ensuring that the decision at hand made sense - that it ticked the right boxes. It had to be the smart move. But for this to change, I had to be the change. It became as clear as tropical Mexican waters what I had to do if I wanted to really give my dream a shot in the real world. I needed to make a big call on what I had spent a great deal of my adult life building. I had to leave behind what I knew, was comfortable in, that I turned up every day for. I had to hang up the hat and walk away from a really exciting, painful, challenging, rewarding rollercoaster ride that is called advertising. 

Some will say it’s pretty stupid what I’ve done, but I’m hoping more will say it’s brave.

And I’ve seen many a courageous person go before me and purse their passion, using their God given talents and do nothing short of amazing things. It’s never a question of why we can’t go and do these things, it’s the reality of you're likely to never go do that. It's stuck as a dream that gets left behind every day because other things take your time and energy. And slowly your dream will be left in the cupboard along with that ab-roller workout machine you bought back in '09. You wanted to do it... but you didn't want it bad enough. There's a huge distance and power difference between the two. 

I felt convicted. I was happy with my decision and the direction I know wanted to take. I felt the energy I was putting into my current job wasn’t reaping the rewards and satisfaction I craved. It's a fatal flaw for all of us that have been in or are still in advertising. It's a highly emotive job where each and every day we see beautiful works of love, patience and creativity get diluted or worse, die. It's heartache, and when you're spending so much of your time invested in these pieces of creative it does start to wear you down. How my fellow creative friends continue to wipe of the dirt on their shoulders, push forwardand produce more inspiring creative work is something I'll always be in awe of. 

There's been some truly outstanding moments and things I’ll forever be proud to be a part, and a good example of this was my last and one of the greatest emotionally charged pieces of work I'm thrilled to say I've had a hand in. But at the end of the day, the question remained, was this the best use of my energy? I've had this passion for fashion (yes that rhymes) and it was about time that I invested the same drive, energy and love I had for advertising into something that also excites me but hasn't been gifted the chance and opportunity until now. It's not going to be simple or easy, but then nothing great ever is, that's the challenge and I'm welcoming it.  

First place doesn’t just arrive in your lap, you need to run after it, push through hurdles and keep going when your knees get scraped.

I must admit, my younger self wouldn’t have done it, and I couldn’t have so boldly quit my job if I didn’t have the phenomenal support of my girlfriend who every day encourages me and gives me more drive to succeed. She even sent me flowers on the day I resigned. She’s amazing. 

So here I am at the start line and knowing there’s going to be a journey ahead that’ll see me run some miles and I’ll get some wobbles, but I’m proud to have made this step, to give it a go and to hold nothing back. The race is where all the fun is, so may as well get my shoes on and get running. 


Jaheb wearing // Tommy Hilfiger wool jacket, The Assembly Brand chino pants, James Perse crew tee, French Connection white leather sneakers & Illesteva Leonard sunglasses.