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Get me out of this job!


Dear Jancy,
I am an Art Director, went to Humber College for Advertising and then Miami Ad School, interned at places like R/GA SF, Lowe NY & CPB Boulder. I recently got my first job as a Junior Designer in Toronto. Two things about this, they are using me quite like a graphic designer because I end up doing production and design work on a junior level almost all the time. Secondly, there’s simply no concept-related work for me no matter what. No creative ideas, no fun while working, I ask myself for what am I driving an hr everyday to get to work?
All in all, I recently graduated, it’s my first job, I am more hungry for better work because I feel I can do a lot more. I tried telling them to give me some concepting work, something other than production and it just doesn’t affect them. I tried interviewing somewhere last week and all they kept asking me was why do I want to change my job so quickly? I think I am stuck in a vicious circle, willing to do better work but not getting any opportunity.

intro Get me out of this job!You say your job is “junior designer”. The job of art director isn’t the same. Not to say you can’t do both, but perhaps you need a basic discussion with your CD confirming your job description and your hopes for the scope of work you’d like to tackle. You may not be at the most progressive shop for use of new grads (we had fantastic results from giving our youngest hires big opportunities and responsibilities, and have always felt the majority of agencies that don’t do that are missing out on a way to up their game). However, here’s the reality check: it’s the way it works, generally, to start out at the bottom of the ladder, tasked with many, many less than rewarding projects.

You are poised to make two mistakes we hope you will avoid. One is to miss the fact you can learn from every experience thrown at you. You are not being taken advantage of, hard done by or in any other way being unfairly treated, from what you describe. It’s called normal. If you show attitude because you think the work you’re being asked to do is beneath you, you’re on the fast track to having people around you dislike working with you — especially your boss. You could find yourself out of a job — it’s common for the CD to let go of new people who don’t fit.

Second, it’s far too soon to leave the job you just accepted. They chose you over others and went to the trouble to bring you in. It’s very bad form to leave a job before a year has passed. CD’s are suspicious of people who quickly leave jobs for any reason short of an abusive situation. The obvious question they would have is, will this guy flake out on me too when the going gets rough? Resilience and a positive attitude are crucial qualities in people who succeed in this business. Flip your negativity into positive action today by behaving proactively. Do all that’s asked of you with a smile. And come up with ideas for accounts in the shop with spare time (ask account directors if they have accounts with business challenges you could think about). Show your CD, it could make him more open to giving you more opportunities, sooner. And/or make it habitual to offer to senior people to jump in on a project to help in any way, and especially conceptually. Be the one who’s always got their hand raised to go above and beyond. Not only will you be appreciated, you’ll have a more rewarding experience.

You have a great education under your belt. Don’t mess up now, when you’re just getting started.

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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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