#Sabbatical – so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu

TEAM_XMAS2014

I thought that a fun way to start this blog post would be to dig back in time to find the very first email that I sent when I arrived at All about the Idea HQ in June 2010. But then I remembered that the IT masters delete everything beyond a certain age and trawling through the backup cloud is not the way I’d like to spend my final day here.

I say ‘final day’ because I am heading off on sabbatical for 9 months.

Sabbatical: From Latin sabbaticus, from Greek σαββατικός sabbatikos, from Hebrew shabbat, i.e., Sabbath, literally a “ceasing”. (Or, in the context of Tim Firth’s latest play Neville’s Island – a hilarious story about a team away day that goes awry – a sabbatical can also be synonymous with or the antidote to a ‘crisis’… Check it out – very funny and on at Duke of York’s Theatre until 3rd Jan.)

Anywho, here are my All about the Idea Greatest Hits…

As it’s that time of year, I couldn’t leave without mentioning the annual All about the Idea ‘Christmas card‘. Good grief. A Herculean task each year to get the addresses for around 200 of our favourite people, put together the contest mechanic (‘cos everyone loves a competition), then individually wrap and handwrite each person’s card and present. In fact, I remember on one occasion – it may have been in my first year here – a to-remain-nameless now Managing Partner sauntering past my desk, as I was sinking beneath mounds of fake snow and silver ribbon, remarking “I bet you’ve got a degree from Oxford haven’t you?”

Ahhhhh, the Event Awards 2010. Now that was a night and a half. I hadn’t long been in the job, but I was invited to go along to the awards ceremony, as we were shortlisted for Event of the Year for the work my predecessor and the team did for Coca-Cola Enterprises’ ‘Creating the Extraordinary‘. Since I was taking the place of one of our lovely client contacts that couldn’t make it at the last minute, my place name still read ‘Peter’. An entirely unremarkable fact, but a small detail that resulted in the longest standing in-joke, possibly, of all time. Since the now global CEO of the group of which All about the Idea is a part was sitting next to me all evening, I became and have been referred to ever since that day as Peter.

I wouldn’t say it was a highlight, but dressing up in a dirndl (traditional Austrian dress) was one of the more unusual things I’ve had to do in this role. Moving swiftly on…

Working for the University of Warwick, putting together their ‘Warwick on Wheels’ engineering roadshow, we were bowled over by the work they were doing in the field of Additive Layer Manufacturing (3D printing to you and I), and since the campaign was all about inspiring the engineers of tomorrow, I gave Blue Peter a call. Whaddaya know, they thought the 3D printing was pretty cool too and – Bob’s your uncle, Fanny’s your aunt – the client’s appearing in the Blue Peter garden before you know it, printing out Blue Peter mugs for Andy Akinwolere and the rest of the team. That was a good day.

More recently, there was the time that I spent at sister company, Truth, over in Farringdon, which exposed me to the notion of ‘failing fast’ – try something out, if it doesn’t work don’t worry about it, move on to the next thing – data and insights, but more importantly pornstar martinis…

But the best thing about working at All about the Idea has been the feeling that I’m part of the family. Yes, the FAAAAAAAAMLY. Derrick and Tom Tuke-Hastings, father and son team, welcomed me with open arms, handed me a microphone and thrust me into the ring of a client Q&A (yes, that was my first day on the job). I can say, hand on heart, that noone throws a party like the Tuke-Hastings clan, and our team away days to butterfly sanctuaries, the Shard viewing platform, the theatre and all manner of wonderful food establishments – all in the name of creativity, you understand – will sorely be missed.

To my comrades Nick, Lloydy, Alice and Emily, I bid you a fond farewell. Thank you; and in the words of Vinnie Jones in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, “it’s been emotional.”

If you’d like to keep track of what I get up to over the course of the next 9 months, you can find me on Twitter @jojofurnival and subscribe to my Huffington Post blog feed: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/jojo-furnival

Ciao Carbonara. x

AATI_XMAS2014

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