It took just over a decade for one of the world’s most magnificent cities to rise out of the desert. Dubai stands as a breathtaking monument to modern urban achievement. But even its most staunch proponents will agree, it would not have been possible without untold legions of low paid workers.
Sadly, this idea has filtered down into modern business, especially the ad industry here, which seems to have taken what might be called a ‘slave culture’ to its basic mode of operation: “We want people who are willing to work nights and weekends, people who come into work even when they’re sick.” The underlying message being that if you’re unwilling to do this, you aren’t dedicated to your job. You’re not ‘hungry’ enough.
I worked 13 years for J.Walter Thompson in London, 9 years for Grey Worldwide – you don’t stay in those places that long if you’re not dedicated. And I can count on one hand the number of nights and weekends I worked in those 22 years. Because we were Ad Masters, not Ad Slaves. We managed our time properly during normal working hours, we didn’t have to prove how hungry we were because we always gave it our best shot every day, and the proof was in the pudding, not in the clock.
You can argue that times have changed. But there are people in positions to change them for the better. People instead who perhaps, keep one eye on their bonuses and the other, a blind eye, on a department of Ad Slaves in the hope of building monuments…to what?