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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > ask jancy >  After a career of freelancing, going full-time at 50

After a career of freelancing, going full-time at 50


I’m a copywriter, started in ’95 in SE Asia and returned to Canada in ’99. I’ve freelanced the entire 15 yrs. Credited on a couple of awards, nothing too fancy, for work clients entered that I wrote for them. Have a vast body of work spanning print, DM, radio, TV, web videos, websites, blogs, TV show ideas, plus stacks of corp. brochures, annual reports — I’m up for anything. My art direction ideas get used regularly, though I have no artistic talent through hand or Mac. I didn’t finish high school, but am well-read, well-traveled, have worked in many fields. I’m on a roll, creatively speaking — the products are selling, clients are smiling, I’m stoked.
The dilemma: I’m 50 and I want an agency job. Am I insane? I’m happy to start humble, prove my worth, and work my way to CD and beyond if possible. I still look young, have heaps of energy and ideas, am itching to work with sharp people who love the industry. Starting to put my name out and want to get it right.
In my shoes, what would you do to get a respectable job and turn it into a late, great career? How to write a resume when you haven’t had a full-time job since 1988, but have worked and done good work during that time?

intro After a career of freelancing, going full time at 50You describe a person who should have their own enterprise. Your achievements and broad experience in traditional and digital space set you up perfectly to hang out the shingle and go get business as your own brand. Outsource to trusted vendors for production needs, partner with a “business” person—could be a planner. Create relationships with ad schools for good access to bright, inexpensive junior talent to augment your own creative output. Why ‘step back’ into an agency job when you’re so well poised to run a nimble, successful small business yourself?

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  • Anonymous

    Jancy, you really shied away from reality on this one. You know that it is next to impossible for anyone over 50 to get a creative job in advertising. You know that advertising equates creativity with youth. You know that ageism and sexism still run rampant. You know that creative directors won’t hire someone older than they are. You know that this person will be working with people half his age. Be honest.

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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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