I was horrified to be asked the other day for a CV. I thought everyone would have read the 30,000 or so words in People who made my life interesting, which encapsulates the entire 72 years.
OK, here’s the shorter form:
1949: Born Springwood, NSW.
1954: Started at Springwood Public, which, amazingly, two of my grandchildren now attend.
1957: Moved to Sydney; lived and attended school at North Curl Curl and then Seaforth (from 1959).
1961: Started at Sydney Grammar School, missed most of the first year on an overseas trip; required to repeat first year. Parents split and...
1962: Started, again, at Sydney Grammar - this time as a boarder. After several attempts to escape…
1965: Moved in with my Dad, in Woollahra.
1966: Started following the Roosters.
1967: Finished the Higher School Certificate (the first year of the so-called Wyndham Scheme, so seven years at high school!), won a Commonwealth Scholarship and…
1968: Started at the Australian National University in Canberra. Lasted six months, mucking around in student politics and on the student newspaper, Woroni. Came back to Sydney, looking for a start in journalism, and won a cadetship on The Australian.
1969: After six months at The Australian, with inflated views of my journalistic ability, left to set up a magazine, Dimension. Produced one edition and, soon after, was asked to do the publicity, advertising and campaign material for the Australia Party (a sort of forerunner to the Democrats and Greens, established by the entrepreneur, Gordon Barton). Aged 20, I’d just moved in with Jennifer who had two kids (we went on to have six more). The job was paying $100 a week; Dimension was paying none. I said “Yes”.
1974: After three federal elections - 1969, 1972 and 1974 - a bunch of Senate, State and by-elections with the Australia Party, I was invited to join Gough Whitlam’s staff and in October moved to Brisbane to start a sort of decentralised prime ministerial media office. It didn’t work.
1975: In July, Whitlam asked me to move to his Canberra office, as one of several private secretaries. I was there for the 11 November Dismissal, and was the “advance man” on the deeply unsuccessful 1975 election campaign. I stayed on Whitlam’s staff in Opposition, as the Private Secretary, in a smaller office.
1977: Joined the Labor Party’s advertising agency (Forbes Macfie Hansen) in July, to work on the equally unsuccessful 1977 federal election campaign. We had a better time of it with Neville Wran’s campaigns in NSW in 1978 and 1981, and a much better performance under Bill Hayden in the 1980 national election; with several other state elections (Tasmania, Queensland, Western Australia), by-elections and a NSW referendum, in between.
1981-86: Worked for myself, as a corporate communications and political lobbying consultant, leveraging the good connections I’d made in the ALP. This brought me into contact with Mojo, an ascending advertising agency which had clients who used my services. Among other things, I introduced Mojo to Tourism Minister John Brown, which gave rise to the Paul Hogan “Shrimp on the barbie” campaign.
1986-91: Joined Mojo full time, through a merger (with Monahan Dayman and Adams) and listing on the stock exchange, then the sale to the US agency, Chiat Day. Ran the international operations, opening offices in New York and London, and then became MD of the Australian business. Hit by the recession at the time, joined a big group of senior people who took redundancies. Aged 41 and out of a job.
1991-2000: Resumed freelance consulting, in advertising, marketing and corporate communications, but mostly long-ish term contracts with one business at a time - a couple of ad agencies, and Sydney Airport (in the lead up to the Olympics).
2001-2018: A recruiter, Kris de Jager, asked me to join him to set up a practice, recruiting for advertising agencies. It didn’t work well, not least because we had a formidable competitor in Margot Davis & Co. Luckily, they asked me to join them and soon after, in 2002, we became Talent2. Specialised in recruiting corporate affairs, media relations and government relations roles. In 2015 Talent2 was sold to an American business, Allegis, who renamed us Aston Carter and , for me, a good run came to an end. In late 2018 I had an unexpected surgical adventure involving a long-ish recovery (but no lasting consequences) and decided to retire.
2019: Set up this website in April, wrote more than anyone will ever read, made some freelance contributions to the Sydney Morning Herald, Pearls and Irritations and Inside Story.
2020: Set up the website https://sayyesorno.com/ to see if it makes a difference to anything. The jury is out.
NB: this “CV” breaks all the rules I’ve outlined in the section on Recruitment.