Esprit de corps.
A love story of my last experience.

MEO Design et Communication_Floduardo de Almeida_Jeremy Powell_Louis Paschoud
Before telling this story, I will hide the real names of those involved, out of respect for them and privacy.

Spring 2020. I was looking for a new experience abroad and I was even looking at France, the country where I was born. I came across an agency that worked what I love so much to work - brands, big brands! I wrote the spontaneous email in French and sent it. Shortly afterwards they contacted me and I was amazed to find that it was an agency located in Switzerland (a country I never thought to live in, and don't ask me why). I came to realize that it was probably the best place I could have landed on.

I was hired (initially, for just under three months). They called me on an emergency mode - they wanted me there to be able to respond to a very important project. Obviously I said okay, and in five days I was in Switzerland ready to take action! When I arrived, it was 12 days of intensive work for this project campaign. We presented three proposals - me as Head of Design, in team with the Creative Director (“Lo”) and Client Service Director/Head of Strategy (“Me”). We ran against six other agencies that were also competing. Time and conviction led me to focus mainly on one of them, and confidence promoted success. Yes! We won! At the end of the three months, they gave me a second contract, and I remained happy with them.

From there, it was the beginning of what would become a passion that I only remembered feeling when I opened my own studio in 2013/14. I felt that the company was not healthy despite the struggle that everyone was having to keep it up. Naturally, I ended up approaching directors who had a very similar path to mine when they were younger. On one or another Saturday, and several times of my own free will, the agency turned out to be my refuge where I often found the directors working. I also never denied pleas for help, neither nights or weekends. Because if we are a team, we should act like one!

Anyway... We had another big project in the fall, which I was responsible as Head of Project. We made three proposals, and we were successful. But better than the ups and downs of any project that circulated at the agency, I felt several things. I was in a place where I felt respected, truly valued, where they encouraged me, and where I encouraged them. And there was "Me" (Head of Client Service/Strategy) who presented himself as a faithful friend to me, a source of knowledge (which was immense due to his vast experience, and which he transmitted to me daily, literally day after day untiringly). He was probably the best co-worker I could have had in my life and until this day, I really miss him.

A lot has happened intensely. Responsibilities were given to me seriously but not forced. If “Pa” was not at the agency, and if “Me” was busy in the next room thinking about strategy - as he sometimes did with a full dedication in his silence -, I spontaneously decided to take over the reins of the creative room and support the interns (something that I always loved to do since my 24th).

In Switzerland I put one of my native languages ​​back into practice - French. I made friends, especially Spaniards, where I was trying to eradicate my “portunhol” and I had one or another special friends. I lived in several houses (long history but the process was always complicated due the contracts and other conditions). I had easy mobility (a car that the company lent me frequently). I was responsible for the biggest brands. I heard phrases that filled my soul like “you keep this place alive”, “your personality is necessary for any agency” and so many others that made me like “Me”, “Pa”, and the whole team! I didn't feel anger. I didn't feel internal competition. I just felt love! And at the end, sadness for knowing that I had to leave at the end of the 3rd determed contract (and what would be, also by law, the last one)!

I left the company and some news came to me just a few months later. To my surprise, I was told that “Me” decided to leave after me and return to England. “Lé” (senior account for whom I also nurtured affection and who worked closely with “Me”) left the following month after him. And “Lo”, quit his project after 17 years. I knew more but I will keep it private. And having been aware of this very recently, it was like having one of the biggest punches in my stomach. Switzerland time has flown by. The nostalgia remained.

Because when we have it all: humanism, unconditional support, knowledge sharing, patience, understanding, analysis, warmth and not coldness, then an entire team will fight until the last minute. I don't regret what I did, or anything, cause regrets should be taken for what we didn't do. And I guess I've pushed myself to a limit only possible because at the end of the day... we were together, we were close to each other. And as “Me” said… “we never leave a man behind”! And at the end of the day, that was our philosophy. And I think we all tried, depending on the energies, as far as we could.

On the first day I heard “Nous, la Famille”. And I realised that. We were truly a family fighting, much for the love of "dressing the company jersey." And in my case, also for the greater respect for the legacy of “Me” and “Pa”. And that's why the expression "Esprit de corps" makes all sense here and I found its meaning in it;s pure nature.

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