Monday, January 30, 2012

Aspiring Creative Directors

I feel funny that I even have to write this, but it's come up enough to warrant a few words.

Y'all know that in order to be a Creative Director, you have to start out as an actual creative person. Like an art director, designer or copywriter. See you spend a few years as a junior, a few as a mid level, a few more as a senior, a few years as an ACD, then you get to be CD. There is a logical progression here folks.

I am continually surprised by students or entry-level people when I ask 'what do you want to do?' They answer I want to be a creative director. Then I counter with 'well, first, what do you want to do?' And they answer creative director. By this time it's clear they don't understand that's not an entry-level job.

Think of it as school. You can't be a college graduate without going to grade school, middle school AND high school first.

It worries me that students aren't learning (or understanding) the progression of titles in advertising.

The students must pick a discipline first: art or writing for instance. Spend a heck of a lot of years learning and growing in that discipline. Be good enough to be promoted. Learn how to manage people and departments (we often forget this one). Then, maybe, you become Creative Director.

Just remember in order to direct creative, you have to have been a creative first.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It just takes a little

This advice may be more for senior folks, those who have been in the business for a long time. But, as a junior, pay attention.

Sometimes it just takes a little thing - define thing however you'd like - to make someone feel appreciated.

It might be saying thank you.  Or buying them a coke from the soda machine. Or acknowledging long hours. Or calling them out in front of the agency for a job well done.

Sometimes that one little thing makes a person feel appreciated. And I can tell you, that goes a long way.

As our days get more hectic and we are cranking on more projects, the niceness and gratefulness get forgotten. We forget to say "thanks" and "good job" and "you are so great at what you do" cuz we're just too, too busy. Well, be as busy as you want, but when someone gives their notice I'd bet that makes you stop for a second. Why not stop for a second while your valuable employees are still with you?

Because these little things add up. Either in a bad way, when time after time an employee feels slighted because no one is appreciating them. Or in a good way, when an employee feels great about what they do and they become all that much more committed to the company and the job they are doing.

Today, I was genuinely and wholeheartedly thanked by someone for showing them an ounce of appreciation on a project they'd worked their ass off on. Genuine proof that small gestures have big impact.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Taking a Dose

This week I am heeding a dose of my own advice. Taken from my one of my favorite posts I've written, titled "QUIT." In that post, I say that quitting is a fantastic way to grow yourself (and your career).

"It’s not quit in the sense of giving up when things get too hard. This isn’t about hopelessness or a sense of failure. It’s quit in a much bolder sense. Quitting to try something new, to gain a fresh perspective, or to embark on a new endeavor. Quitting is risky. And risk is an exact expression of your courage."

This week --after 13 years-- I am quitting.

My time here at Y&R/Wunderman has been amazing. I can't even being to capture it in words. It's not just years spent, it's people met, skills learned, positions held, problems solved, networks expanded, fun had, people recruited. Good times all around.

So though the venue may change, my passions remain.

I will continue to author this blog and provide advice and snippets of counsel to those fresh to our business. I will continue to mentor young creatives seeking advice on their portfolios. I will continue to dedicate my time to those who'll be the future of our industry. Those are my passions and I am so lucky to be able spend time doing them.

I hope you'll all continue to read and, when the time is right, do some quitting of your own.

"By exposing yourself to change, by making the tough decision to switch jobs, by testing your courage, by quitting – you gain so much. And if you truly believe in the choices you make, there is no question you’re making the right decision."

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I always say the “ABOUT ME” section is really what gets you hired.

I truly believe this. It’s certainly what gets you the interview in the first place.

I’ve said this before: You MUST differentiate yourself from the other candidates.

First assume everyone has a good book -- everyone that is your competition vying for the same job. If all the portfolios are good and make it past the first round, what is it then that gets someone selected for an interview?

The ABOUT ME section!

Here are some that have got my attention recently:

When I was 8, I trained myself to do the Vulcan Salute by duct-taping my fingers (both hands) together for an entire day. I hope I'll get the chance to meet you someday and show you.  (melissa ploysophon)

When you look at me you see Cary Grant, but without the height, handsomeness, acting talent, or overall pleasure of being around.        (jon miller)

A ginger. A copywriter. A regular writer. A former Swiss farm hand. A thinker. A big fan of Nicholas Cage movies. A former furniture delivery guy in Denver. A soul searcher. A former small time Chicago music critic. A former college boy; twice. A comedian / improv performer. A storyteller. A pretty cool guy.   (dave fox)

While I’ve never been a huge proponent of astrology, I was once presented with a horoscope that read, “You have a champion’s heart with the wanderlust of a gypsy.”  Truer words have never been written.
   (emily papp)

I leave you with some simple facts that you may not otherwise know about me.
1. My love for Coca-Cola outweighs my fear of inevitable diabetes.
2. Milk does a body good, unless it's mine.
3. People say I say funny things, I think they just misunderstand me.
(douglass huber)

Interests: Classic Nintendo games, rollerblading like it's 1995, gardening, cooking, kerning and obsessively watching The Food Network.                (shivonne miller)