Because I belong
Written by Phil Borge-Slavnich
Our agency is 25 years old. For 20 of those years, I’ve been part of the Eulogy story. And the question I get asked the most is why. Why have I stuck around for so long?
There’s plenty of things I say in response:
“Because I get to work with a brilliant bunch of people, who are doing amazing work, in ways which keep it fresh and fun”.
“Because I struggle with terrible imposter syndrome at times, so it’s easier to pretend I know what I’m doing in a space I’m familiar with”.
“Because Adrian, our founder and chairman, is one of the most brilliant people I’ll ever get to work with, so why cut that short”.
“Because once Adrian knows you, he can never technically ‘un-know’ you, so when you think you’ve got away, he’ll reel you back in eventually”. (True story – it was only supposed to be a coffee and a catch up. But then he bought me a slice of cake, and the rest was history).
“Because if I hang on until retirement age, I will definitely get a gold carriage clock”.
But there’s been no grand strategy, no master plan or Machiavellian scheme in my wanting to stay (although I do know plenty of stories worthy of a blackmail attempt).
The real reason I’m still here is simply because, at Eulogy, I found a home where I feel like I belong.
From day one, way back in Spring 2002, it was clear to me I would only ever need to be myself here. If I gave it my best shot, was open and honest, got stuck in and worked hard, and was kind and supportive to everyone else, it didn’t matter if I was different from everyone else.
It didn’t matter about my educational background (A-levels, no degree).
It didn’t matter about my work experience to date (18 months in a five-person specialist agency, half of which was running the paper office diary, setting up for meetings and doing the coverage books).
It didn’t matter about my sexuality (fledgling gay, years away from actually being comfortable in my own skin) or my sense of style (let’s not talk about the bleached blonde mohawk or faded double denim).
All that did matter was that I showed up and put the success of our clients, and our team, first.
I was welcomed, nurtured, given space to learn, to develop, to fail and to pick myself up again. And I was trusted to do more and get involved. I’ve also been unconditionally supported through tough personal times and guided during difficult professional periods.
Most importantly, I was respected, protected, and loved, because I was different. After all, we all were.
Over the last two decades I’ve had the pleasure of working with countless Eulogites, each given the same welcome and opportunity to bring and celebrate their own differences. Of course, how each of us reacts to any situation is down to our commitment in the moment; and it goes without saying that we don’t always get everything right.
But at its heart, from when we started 25 years ago, through to right now, Eulogy is simply a group of people who, in the same way, respect and champion one another for precisely what makes them all different. If I’ve played a part in making that our story, then the last 20 years have been more than worth it.
Another 20 years then? Let’s see – there’s a wonderfully twisted irony to think that if I stick around long enough, someone at the agency might end up penning my own eulogy.
And if not, I’ll be happy to know that because of the impact this place has had on making me who I am today, at the very least the name Eulogy will feature in the first line of my obituary.