Restless leg syndrome.
A few years back a guy sitting opposite us had it in a big way.
It was his way of calming himself.
He had just been shown the door as an art director, let go, thanks to ageism.
It’s sad and infuriating, of course, made even worse by a question he repeatedly asked.
Whaddya do when you’re still brilliant?
One thing is to prepare for ageism, keep it from surprising you.
So before you get to the borderlands of your career, have a care and start planning for your next gig.
As a push in that direction, here are two role models for you.
The first is Geoff Stevenson, a cartoonist.
That’s his work you see here.
Geoff was a copywriter in London and Sydney.
He did the kind of ads people in agencies like Collett Dickenson Pearce admired.
He also wrote on a sitcom, did Nickelodeon episodes, illustrated a dozen kid’s books and had an animation pilot.
More than a few strings to his bow.
Including working as an extra on Scrubs when he arrived in LA from Sydney.
You probably saw Geoff as Dr. Beardface.
He was such a strong draw in the show they gave him more than a few lines of dialogue and made him a regular.
Geoff went on to swap making ads for doing cartoons.
He wasn’t pushed out by ageism and neither should you be.
It’s worth taking note of something David Ogilvy said on the subject.
Advertising is great training for a second career.
In fact, he went further.
Ogilvy thought everyone should have two careers to get the best out of life.
Getting the best out of a second career is another role model, Mark Denton.
After being a top creative guy for decades, agency principal and D&AD committee member he’s doing it all again.
He applied for and landed a position as an intern at St Luke’s in London.
Yep, intern — no word of a lie about it.
So, how do you square starting at the bottom at age 65?
Well, for starters, everyone benefits.
Mark gets to contribute to what’s next in the business while everyone at St. Luke’s gains from his infinite experience.
Both these guys, Geoff and Mark, seem to have a mindset that’s ideally restless.
You don’t see them being cowed by anything.
Who’s to say you can’t improve on that with your own individuality and talent.
So have a go.
But meanwhile, before Day One of your second career, do one thing.
Do great ads, knock everyone’s eyes out with surprising work and enjoy doing it.
Because in its pure form – without ageism — there’s no career like it.