“evil plans” are not products. “evil plans” are gifts.

You were given a gift by The Creator, God, The Universe, Whatever. Until you have returned the favor, Life will have a certain, feckless emptiness to it.

So sooner or later you’re going to have to explain to your friends and family EXACTLY why you decided to quit your stable 401K job and go off on some long-term ACT OF LUNACY i.e. your EVIL PLAN.

I don’t know what exactly you’ll tell them. I do know, however, that somewhere in the back of your mind will be a feeling that you have something you want to give to the world, something that you haven’t given yet, something the world needs but doesn’t quite know it yet.

Yes, you have already learned how to make a living and pay the bills…

But you know that’s not enough.

I’ve had my fair share of crappy jobs, as have we all.

You know what? I never hated a job because of what it took from me- ALL jobs take a lot from you, especially the best ones.

I hated a job because it never allowed me to give enough to the world..

That’s all I ever wanted: My best self, playing my best game. Being an advertising hack never allowed that, somehow. But I can now do that as a cartoonist. I’m damn lucky to have found that out, even if it did take me a painfully, embarrassingly long time.

I’m not the world’s most talented person at what I do. Neither are you. That doesn’t make the gift we have to give less valid.

Giving the gift is an act of love. And Love is the only thing that matters.

That’s why we have an EVIL PLAN. Because it matters. Because Love matters.

What else is there to say…?

[About Hugh. Car­toon Archive. Sign up for my “Daily Car­toon” News­let­ter.]


  1. Sweet post, Hugh! I have spent this Christmas Holiday talking to a lot of smart people doing interesting stuff with their lives. I see gift-giving in everything they’re doing. Happy New Year!

  2. Excellent, it is amazing how many people think leaving a job is crazy. Tell that to the thousands that come to our country looking for opportunity. They don’t sacrifice to come for a job, they want our freedom and a chance to “be their best self”, as you say. If you haven’t failed at least a couple times, you haven’t really tried your limits. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Alice Bachini-Smith says:

    Well said. Can’t add a thing.

  4. Hugh, what an amazing post. Straight from the heart, no love withheld. Incredibly honest and incredibly moving…

    THANK YOU for You! :-D

  5. Amen, brother. A wonderful post.

  6. karen linderman says:

    Nicely said. And if anyone is lost or not sure of what their ‘gift’ is, here’s something I stumbled upon and sent to a friend several months back. A nice little exercise to find your ‘purpose’.


    Thank you for this post. Reminders are good…all the time, not just at the new year.

  7. Lukas Hüsser says:

    hey hugh!

    i think you should stop your blog now.

    legends die in their brightest moment :)
    this time you put it down simple and complete. being able to give is the one best thing in life! let it flow…spread love as if it was butter!

  8. Hugh, thank you very much for putting the thought in words – it feels like it was lurking in my mind for years now, and I just couldn’t pin it down.

    Love. Giving. Purpose. So true!

  9. awwwwwww …big love ^i^

  10. thank you, this is beautiful.

  11. Great post!

    As a young professional, however, I’m struggling to find what I can/should do next. Any pointers or past blog posts to help me “find my way”?

    • Hugh MacLeod says:


      Short Answer: Work like hell.

      There is no long answer.

      Thanks for all the kind words, Everybody. I would’ve replied more but I was spending the day with my father…

      Happy New Year :)

    • Kristen Miller says:

      the best way to know what to do next is to know who YOU are. Experience things, try things, fall down a bit, learn about people, spend some time in solitude, come to terms with your ‘baggage’.

      And then – ‘work like hell’, like Hugh said.


  12. You nailed it, Hugh.

    One of the greatest wakeup calls was in 2001 (no, not THAT wakeup call).

    I just sold a biz I had started just a few months before. And landed a job that paid healthy 6-figures.

    And… sucked the life out of me.

    I was scolded for singing to the office staff as I cheerily made my daily entrance.

    I worked from 7AM until 9PM. Saturdays and Sundays my Blackberry played taskmaster.

    Change the world? Barely enough time to change my undies.

    We’re better now. We elect the people, deals and possibilities in every project we do.

    Unless we’re desperate. In which case we throw caution to the wind and grab anything that works.

    Beautiful post, man. Thanks for the wakeup this Sunday afternoon.

  13. Hugh, thanks again for yet another great heart felt post.

  14. I totally get this. I quit several jobs making 100k a year in medical sales before I was 30, that most of my peers were envious of and tsk’ed me when I talked about being unfulfilled. Gotta rage against the machine when your dreams dwarf others. And as Hugh puts it with zen like simplicity…”Ignore Everybody”

  15. Just what I needed to hear after I quit my job for a similar reason..came my way just at d right time:-) All the best Hugh.

  16. You nailed it Hugh, and not for the first time this month.

    Maybe there’s something in this ‘spend time offline and be more creative’ idea of yours. ;-)

  17. Well said Hugh. As a believer in the great creator being God, I believe that I do have a gift from Him to share. Right now I still hang on to my full time job because I love it too. But I would love to think that some day I could make a living off of painting. Right now, the commitments and responsibilities are too numerous to do so.


    • Hey Robin, the good news in your statement are the words “Right Now”. All human states are temporary, so here’s hoping some day you’re dream to paint full-time will become reality some day. Ya never know ;-)

  18. (originally posted this through FB – but thought it better here)

    What a wonderful, APPROPRIATE post. It’s exactly what I’ve been thinking about the past few weeks – casting off the ‘expected to do’ for what I’m ‘supposed to do’. Which is to be an animator. I really like that you put in ‘I’m not the best at what I do, neither are you’ – because that makes it OK for there to be people better than me. It was so… See More crippling, stifling, to recognize that I wasn’t the best. If I’m not the best, why do it? Because it’s the GIFT that matters. It’s showing up and doing it anyway – loving anyway. No matter the sacrifice, no matter the anonymity. Like you said, you do it for the LOVE that you give. Totally awesome, totally true, totally WONDERFUL!! Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

  19. Hey Hugh,
    awesome post, indeed!
    So true with working only at the place where one can serve his/her best.
    Same happened to me couple of times, when I quit well paid jobs, just because of feeling that my gifts are needed elsewhere.
    And I don’t regret any of those decisions and I value all the great lessons I have received during struggle time.
    As your book’s title says, the only way one can do it is by : IGNORING EVERYBODY and listening to inner voice and burning desire within to share;-)

  20. Happy New Year Hugh. Wish you the very best for 2010! Thanks for being the inspirer that you are! Thanks for coming with such heart felt messages. You are a gift for the world.

  21. Kathleen Overby says:

    Could I be so presumptuous as to say that this post is your best. You offer us all so much by shocking us out of our complacency, causing us to laugh irreverently at how messed up we all are, then offering hope that love is what matters most.

    I think you will hear ‘well done, good and faithful servant’ someday…….you used what you were given and multiplied it.

  22. Hey Hugh……you have such a wonderfully eloquent way of putting into words what i feel…….thanks so much for this lovely post……i could not agree more with you. I have to keep reminding myself that i do art and teach for the love of it…..when i fall off the wagon i just get back on and reconnect with the love.

    All the best,

  23. Am I wrong in thinking the mindset behind this in a way contradicts you’re “we’re all blogging for the money” post?

    I think many, myself included, blog or have blogged for other reasons, one of them being the one you mention here, i.e. sharing something you think you have to offer with the world. I’m not saying money is not important and not a valid motivation but I think people are driven by the drive you describe here at least as much, and often more so, than by the drive for more and more money.

    Either way, I sensed some contradiction here, maybe because I didn’t see much shades of grey in the post about blogging for money (no acknowledgment that many blog solely for other reasons or at least for a combination of desire for money and other things, but perhaps I am not in your intended audience and you were referring to a certain type of blogger only), but I do understand the two–desire to contribute something meaningful and desire for money/to support oneself)–are not mutually exclusive.

    I don’t quite share your focus on money (although that doesn’t mean I don’t value financial self-sufficiency, etc either, we are all driven by different things and I’m just not very money driven, but neither do I dismiss its importance) but I find lots to think about when I visit here, and for that I thank you.

  24. I love it when you get a message as just the exact moment you need it. I’m very much in my EVIL PLAN phase- and I am seriously not feeling the love from those closest to me, with a few exceptions. I’m the wolf Hugh! Thank God for YOU. Keep it coming. I really need it.


  1. [...] “Evil plans” are not products. “Evil plans” are gifts, “Fight like hell. This is it.” and More thoughts on “evil plans”. If you like his work, [...]

  2. [...] “evil plans” are not products. “evil plans” are gifts. (December 27, [...]

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Hugh MacLeod is a genius.  Genius.

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His work acknowledges the absurdity of workaday life, while also encouraging employees to respond with passion, creativity, and non-conformity...   MacLeod’s work is undeniably an improvement over the office schlock of yore. At its best, it’s more honest, and more cognizant of the entrepreneurial psyche, while still retaining some idealism.

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