But Are You REALLY Ready To Work?

Originally posted July, 18 2011 
Felt particularly relevant to me today. And hopefully you, too.

Time to grind. Are you ready?

I hope I didn’t scare you off on Friday with some of the challenges of being a creative. I did it because I love you. Truly. I want you to be great. And knowing what to expect and how to prepare yourself for it is going to help you be great. (Also, I’m a bit of a bully.)

I just want you to be prepared to work hard and give 108% to be successful. 

You have to know the hours can be long and the projects can be hard and you will have challenges and sacrifices. You have to be willing to put in the work to get to where you want to go. 

No one owes you anything.

No matter how good your book is, what award you won, who you know or where you went to school. No one owes you a reply to your email, feedback on your book, an interview
Shoot I don't owe you this next sentence.

You have to prove yourself. You have to show that you are capable and worthy. 

It’s important to have your current/future coworkers like you (Read up on why you should go for a drink with them) but it’s even more important to have them respect you.

And respect is earned.

That’s why I’m always surprised (and turned off) by young creatives with egos and attitudes. Maybe you were the next best thing since wi-fi at home/school, but in an agency, you’re a small fish at the bottom of a big ocean and you have to show that you deserve to be here.

Can you deal with the pressure? The deadlines?  The process? The clients crushing your dreams? Can you work with a partner? A PM? Do you even know what a PM is?

This is why internships and freelance are so important. The more familiar you are with how an agency is run and the more intimate you are with the work process, the more successful you’re going to be. 

It's not enough to be creative (don't be a cliche.) You have to have an edge.

That's why posts like how to stand out and how to promote your personal brand and the art of emailing and books like Breaking In are so valuable.

That’s why becoming intimate with hard work is even more valuable.

There are a million juniors out there. Why should anyone pick you? And if they do pick you, why should they keep you?

People get laid off and fired left and right in agencies, how do you ensure that you are not called into that dreaded meeting? (Outside of putting on your invisibility cloak. I got mine on Amazon.)

And don’t get me wrong, advertising is fun. It’s a great industry to work in. When you win, you win big. But it takes a long time and a lot of work and a bit of luck to get that win. There are at least 4 failures for every win. And a lot of weekend work and missed lunches and cancelled dates.

So start working hard now. Put your all into school, into building your book, into promoting yourself, into your job hunt and into being a student of advertising.

People will see it and think, "Oh, she would put that kind of passion and tenacity into the work we're doing here."

Get internships. Get freelance work. Practice working with a partner. Working with limitations. Get involved in ad clubs and ad organizations. Get as much experience as possible.

Today is Monday. What are you going to do today?