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Where do creatives go once they get old?


Most creatives seem to be young. Where do creatives go once they get old? Do they lose their skills and get fired? Or do they voluntarily seek happiness in another career? I’m assuming not all of them become CDs. I am just wondering what opportunities and prospects are out there for old creatives, particularly copywriters.

intro Where do creatives go once they get old?This is a question all ad newbies should think about and allow for from the beginning. We’d have to observe that there are parallels to being in pro sports or ballet. Most likely you’re going to need to move into another career when you’re getting into your 40′s. It sucks, but statistically it’s true. There are many reasons. You can eventually make a lot of money in advertising; if you don’t stay on your game, you can start to look too expensive (“To think I could have 3 less experienced people for the price of him”, thinks the CD). You can burn out—oh, the battle scars you’ll have by 40–it can all seem to be just not worth it. So your joy can slip away, your passion to do great work. If you’re a woman, twice the battles. If you have children, you literally have two jobs. (Sorry to the men reading, but society hasn’t evolved to the point that men are equal caregivers. Most senior male creatives with kids still rely on their wives to do most of the child rearing. Discuss.) So many woman find they can’t be superwoman after all (we both have one child—Nancy for one can’t imagine how she could manage with more). And of course, only a fraction of creatives get to the creative director slot, where one may be deemed valuable for longer—maybe even into their 50′s (a few greats make it all the way to retirement age, but very very few). The good news is (and we used to say this constantly to an enormously talented, obsessed 40-something copywriter), if you are talented and do stay fresh, you’re prized for a much longer time than the average creative. This guy will be highly employable for as long as he keeps writing as beautifully as he does now. The other good news is that advertising skills can apply to many other fields and interests. We can’t tell you a list of perfect jobs after advertising; your heart and abilities have to lead you there. May the ad gods bless you with an exceptionally long shelf life.

09/29/2003 07:57:33 PM

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About Jancy

'Jancy' is Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Co-Founders of Swim, a unique “creative leadership training lab for advertising creatives and marketers.” Prior to Swim, Jancy was globally renowned as the Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, a position they held for thirteen of the twenty years they were a creative duo at the agency. Over the years they've racked up Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show pencils and CA credits, and have lead their shop to two Cannes Lions Grand Prix and a Grand Clio. They've judged CA, Cannes, D&AD, the One Show, the Clios and other prestigious award shows. Creativity named them two of the top 50 creative people of 2008. Known for their outspoken, no-bullshit style and a passion for mentoring juniors, they're ready to give you advice if you're ready to take it.

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