A goat breeder.
A theatre stagehand.
A cafeteria assistant at a Network TV headquarters.
An Army Pfc.
A standup comedienne.
Before becoming ad agency professionals charged with working on multi-million dollar brands, many young people had jobs that were … well, you could call them ‘interesting’.
Their experiences were often as varied as working as a custodian in a natural history museum, doing a stint as a hop-picker, or training to become a shipwright.
Many went on to be hugely effective in top roles as account directors, creative directors, copywriters, art directors and planners.
In more than a few cases ad professionals credit their success to those first jobs and intensive training.
Having an understanding of life and the real world counts for a lot.
Most ad agencies realize that. Maybe that’s why, unlike some professions, they’re not wedded to hiring in their own image.
They don’t fill positions with cookie-cutter personalities. Thank goodness.
Not everybody in the office has to come from an Ivy League school or a middle class family.
Advertising is one profession where you’re not under instruction on how to think. Originality is valued and it can come from anywhere and anybody.
A case in point is a young woman who arrived with her family from Asia as boat people.
That didn’t stop her from learning English, training professionally and becoming a strong copywriter.
If you’re getting the idea that a background in the real world coupled with training is the key to success, you’re not about to get an argument on that.
You don’t need me to tell you that education can pay off in a big way when it becomes a habit of a lifetime.
That’s true in advertising and most likely in every other occupation.
Some years back in New York an ad guy called Joe Sacco encouraged young people to be all encompassing in their learning. To go all out for original solutions.
He summed it up with a thought that went something like this: ‘Look up though a telescope, look down through a microscope’.
Curiosity was his thing.
In his presence ‘the search’ for effective ideas was turned into an exciting challenge. He made it fun and he was always mildly surprised that you could get paid for enjoying yourself.
More on the learning topic, Joe Sacco said, ‘you don’t bet on a horse you hate’.
That would be right.
It was his way of saying you can expect little consideration from colleagues, clients and agency leaders if you don’t make the effort to know your stuff.
So whatever your level may be — from rookie to seasoned professional — in any career you care to name … study, learn, read, discover things, keep educating yourself.
Without that you could be left behind.
Even if you’re a goat breeder.
Share with us. Are you hiring young people? What are you doing to train and perfect their talents? Are they making a contribution from Day One? If not, why not? Thanks for reading Whybetonto.com. Regards, Steve Ulin