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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > ask jancy >  We want additional projects, but our group CDs say no

We want additional projects, but our group CDs say no

This is, I’m sorry to say, a question about office politics.
I’m early in my career at a very large office of a very large global advertising agency. For the past year or so, my partner and I have worked almost exclusively on one account. The client is complicated so our creative directors appreciate that we have a good feeling for the brand. The account is small but growing in fits and spurts, so some weeks we’re there all night every night and some weeks we’re twiddling our thumbs.
We much prefer to be busy. I’d rather spend 14 busy hours at work than 8 idle ones. When things are slow in our group we’d like to be able to work on side projects from other accounts, not only to stay occupied but also to gain broader experience.
Unfortunately our group creative directors are very reluctant to let us do work for other groups even when we have little work on our primary account. We don’t want to defect; we like the group otherwise. We just want to pick up the odd brief from another account when things are slow.
How can we discuss this with our creative directors? Or is there someone else we should be talking to? Should we start asking forgiveness rather than permission when other opportunities come up?

intro We want additional projects, but our group CDs say noGo to your creative director and tell him or her what you just wrote—that when you’re not busy you’d really like the opportunity to pitch in on other projects that could use the help. No decent CD on Earth would say no to that. Your group CDs are idiots. Put another way, they are not interested in your development as much as making sure you are always available for your primary account. No need to bring up to your CD the reluctance of the group CDs. Just be positive and your proactive move can only have a positive outcome. If you find your CD in fact doesn’t want you to work on anything else, take that as a sure sign you should start looking for a new experience elsewhere. Getting pigeonholed on any one type of account will limit your growth and bore you. And who wants to work at an agency that won’t encourage your growth?

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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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