Even as recently as 10 years ago, I used to argue against the notion of "strategic communication"—that every hour and budget dollar spent needed to be justified as contributing directly and robustly to the stated aims of the mother organization.
I'd point out the impossibility of reaching such a rational ideal, and I'd laugh at the square-headed, straight-laced nature of the desire for perfect productivity.
Why can't we just be, man? And I meant that. I still do. Sometimes it's good to have communicators—and friends—who are just there, ready to handle that which comes down the pike. The idea that every corporate communication need—or every human need—will fit in your PowerPoint deck and align perfectly with management's goals and objectives—well, that's silly.
Still, I argue less often these days against the stultifying strategists.
Probably, that's because I am 42 years old now, and just about every blinking moment of my life is now strategically justified.
If I am running, it's because I am taking care of my body.
If I am reading, it's because I am taking care of my mind.
If I am cooking, it's because cooking is my new big thing.
If I am napping, it's because I believe napping keeps me from ever getting colds.
If I am playing golf, it's because I need to enjoy myself sometimes.
If I am riding my motorcycle, it's because I need to feel young sometimes.
If I am drinking—and my drinking these days is usually strategically planned, with plenty of time built in for recovery—it's because I need some time away from the Goddamned strategy table for a few hours, to communicate on a purely tactical basis.
The only moments in my life when I don't feel the need to make every moment count for something strategic is when I'm working, or on the bum with Scout and her mother. Those in themselves are strategies—they come close to the ultimate purpose of the enterprise—and so inside that time and space, I feel, comparatively, like I'm following my bliss. Otherwise, though, it's a lot of heavy fuckin' planning.
Here's my dad at about the age I am now. I think I know how he felt.
I reckon the 20-year-old me would read all this and feel sad. Or more likely, be determined not ever to become so rigid.
Well, good luck, young man. Good luck.