Archive for the ‘Careers’ Category

Flying Away This May

I got a job! Ahem..what I meant to say is I GOT A FRIKKIN’ JOB!!Sorry about that. I actually meant to say that I’ve got a job that I’m happy to take, a challenge even.As many of you may know, since September-ish I’ve been looking for a start in adland, something that I could sink my teeth into and all that kinda stuff.I did the whole graduate scheme thing, with some success (but nowhere did I get that ‘feeling’ that it was right for me), some ‘You’re not right for us Sam’, some ‘We just don’t need any planners right now’, some ‘We’re not brave enough to hire someone like you’ (which really, really, pissed me off) and some other things that I can’t remember. And though it may be petty and childish, I kept every single letter that they sent telling me I wasn’t good enough. Yes I am juvenile.So anyway in November Mr. Frith kindly passed my name onto TBWA Dubai, which is where I spent a few days last week.The long and short of it is that everything clicked there, everything. The people, the place, the Sam. So come late May I’ll be moving out to join these guys:


And start work as a planner. Whoo!Some people might ask why I’m foregoing the chance to live and work in the land of milk and honey that is London AdLand; for me it’s simple – I’ll be able to get much more hands on much quicker out there than I would have in the places that had offered me things here. And how many times will I be twenty-something with the chance to move to Dubai again? I really don’t know cause my crystal ball ain’t working. So I’m taking a chance. But I’m damn happy about it.This is the part of the acceptance speech where I thank a long list of people; I may miss some out, but it’s not like you don’t know and it’s not like I don’t love ya. So in no particular order, people who I owe particular thanks to for putting up with yours truly throughout this epic as well as those whose blogs have helped me keep going on:Anton, Will, Alex, The Kaiser himself, Charlie, Doddsy, Graeme, Eaon, Beeker, LaurenAdamLloyd, Richie B, Jason, Angus, Asi, Amelia, Piers, Hugh, Faris, Neil, John, Russell and everyone else whose name escapes me at 0740 on a Saturday morning when I haven’t slept at all.And to every ad agency that said no thanks: Thank you most of all.Of course special thanks must go to the architect of this story, Charlie ‘Pink shirts are pimpin’ Frith. Word.Thank you all. Seriously. And come May if you ever need a place to stay in Dubai…I’ll point you to a good hotel. Nah I’m just playin’ – Mi Casa Su Casa.Big love.Sam


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AdGrads is now live on Brand Republic. Check us out.

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How To Be Cool

A bit of an ambitious title huh? Yeah I think so too. But see, I’ve been thinking a lot about cool; not the word, maybe not even the concept, but the connotation. What is cool? It’s all so subjective right? But I think cool is pretty closely related to confidence. They even go together well in a sentence; cool and confident..see? I may be onto something. And you can make an argument about creativity being very closely related to cool and confident, maybe like first cousin-close. And then it’s pretty clear that cool, is well for want of a better expression, pretty damn cool.

What has really got me thinking about all this is the mad season that is graduate recruitment. I’m trawling through applications that ask me questions like ‘How do you sell coal to an eskimo?’ or ‘Which superhero would you be?’ and thinking ‘What the hell do I write here?’. That combined with something my main main Richy B said a while back, something along the lines of ‘We get along because we know cool when we see it’ got me thinking about what cool is and how you can be cool.It’s simple really, cool is inside every single one of us. Really. It’s about being self-aware, and being self-aware is something I go on about a lot to Anton, Will, Alex, all y’all who read the blog and pretty much everyone I know. But I’ll say it again, being self-aware, and really knowing what you’re good at and what you’re not is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your life, forget about career type things. So you’re self-aware and you know what you’re good at. Be confident in it, like really really confident. Ooze that stuff.

Confidence is one of those things that is really easy to see through if it’s false bravado, and confidence masked with arrogance is like me on a Sunday night in front of the TV watching the NFL: right in your face. So real confidence is easily spotted and comes naturally, because that’s what it’s the product of, being naturally at ease with something you know you’re good at. And that’s where creativity comes in. Think of everything you’ve seen that you consider to be creative. Was it forced? Awkwardly out of place? Not at all. It was really at ease with itself, natural even.

At this point I’m sitting here smiling because I think this post is coming together now, it’s a load of psycho-babble maybe, probably even. But I think it makes sense. And it’s right at this point where I can get to the crux of the matter, when y’all are sitting there trying to figure out a way to be creative and cool and original when answering a question on an application form / coming up with an idea for something at work / for anything at all, remember

  • The things that come easiest to you are the things that are natural. No matter how people will try and put you into boxes ‘numerate’ ‘orator’ etc, everyone is creative, every single one of us. So be natural and take yourself out of the boxes that you’ve been put into, sit outside, sit on your bed, sit on a couch, sit in the bath with a notebook – wherever you feel at ease is where you’ll be in the most natural frame of mind. Go to that place (be it mental, physical or both) and just zone. And you’ll find (and trust me, every single one of us will) that you’ll be more creative than you thought you could be.
  • Natural is confident, confidence is natural and both of them are pretty damn sexy.
  • Natural, creative and confidence are so intertwined it’s not a coincidence, they all stem from the same thing; being at ease with yourself.
  • Find out what it is about yourself that makes you without question you, like patent-pending you, what about your life has made you who you are? That’s your gold-mine and that is where you need to be knee deep in sifting for the nuggest of the good stuff, because that’s where you’ll be most confident, most unique, most effortless, most cool and most you.
  • Take this feeling of confidence outside the box of ‘work’ and things will seem almost effortless compared to what they were before.

So take it from someone who used to be so uptight about things I used to work myself into a frenzy about how to be original. All you have to do is be the thing that comes most naturally to you. I’m no good at being anything but me. To everyone that matters and in everything that matters, that’s always more than enough. And that is pretty damn cool.

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Race Is a Four Letter Word

I’ve thought about writing about this taboo topic for a while, but refrained because I was being a bit chicken. Two things made me do it. Sir Charles wrote a post about it, and this thread on the BR forums. In writing a reply to that thread, I got a little of out of hand on the word count front, so here we go:

In the last 50 odd years the ethnic makeup of the UK has been in the midst of an unprecedented change (this isn’t unique to the UK, generally after WWII the then colonial powers ‘encouraged’ people out in the colonies to move back to their respective motherships – particularly to help out with the workforce that had been hit by war casualties), this change has led to significant social upheaval as ethnic minorities move up the social ladder as successive generations become more prosperous / better educated. You can look at accounting and medicine as examples of fields where half a century ago, professionals were almost exclusively ‘ethnic British’ where now, as an example – according to unofficial research by the Student BMJ (British Medical Journal) London, Manchester and Birmingham universities have more than 50% of their medical students classed as non-white.

So this social climbing has resulted in today ethnic minorities have more spending power. More than 30% of Britain’s richest 100 are ethnic minorities. So the question is what is adland doing about it? To get a piece of their spending power are agencies really in the minds of these consumers? Do they know what motivates them, what they aspire to, what they value? Can they know this when the vast majority (according to the latest IPA Diversity reports) of agency staff are middle-class and white? (And I’m talking about advertising focused staff – not support roles) And I mean really know them, not just ‘oh I listen to hip-hop/bhangra music / I went to uni with loads of asians/afro-carribeans etc’. Because you don’t fully get afro-carribean culture just because you listen to reggae. Please.

And if agencies are smart enough and self-aware enough (George Parker will say no at this point) to realize that they may not necessarily know this group of consumers well enough, what are they going to do about it? Commission more research? Or maybe think about how to attract these types of people to work for them so they can start to pick their brains about how best to approach them with their comms? In order to do this, agencies have to look at their HR departments and as ‘What are you doing to attract the best people’ because if you are looking for the best – you’ll find them, regardless of where they went to university / where they’re from (this leads onto a larger debate about how agencies approach hiring new blood, which I’ll be writing about on adgrads). Ethnic minorities will have, by 2011 300 billion of disposable income. Surely someone wants a piece of that pie, and is smart enough to try and get themselves equipped to go after it.

I’m not by any means suggesting that agencies are racist in their dealing and practices, only that now a large percentage of the UK’s prosperous are of ethnic minorities, and by definition the communications industry should be going out and communicating with them. That’s my 4p worth.

Race is only a dirty word when you let it become one.

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A Good Excuse


Yes yes yes, we haven’t been writing that much recently, and no it’s not the yo-yo weather that’s the cause. I’ve been hard at work trying to come up with a better way of getting all career-related stuff in one area, just in time for the mad season that is graduate recruitment.

So now I can take the wraps off the best way to find out information about the advertising industry: AdGrads. AdGrads is a combined AdLads, Wannabe Ad Man and Jack Bauer production and is the one place to find the best bits about graduate recruitment all its trials and tribulations. We’ve got an all-star cast lined up to tell their stories about how they got into the industry, what they wished they knew then and a ton of advice about applications, interviews, work experience and everything in between. Myself, Anton, Will and Jack will be at your beck and call for all your career related stuff at AdGrads from now on. So visit us there, bookmark us, feed on us and when you get that job, buy us a fantastic dinner.

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It feels like I’m perennially building up the ‘blog about’ list and always leaving it to grow into a colossus that needs slaying. So from today I’m going to give the blog a little bit of time everyday and see if that works.

First off, I applied and got into (woo hoo!) Omnicom’s Summer School. So if you’re gonna be there drop me a line. My application entry thing is in the downloads pane on the left or you can find it here.

Secondly, Anton and I are about to start getting all of our career type posts together and giving it a separate page on the blog so as grad recruitment season begins, it will be easier to find what you need when you need it etc.

And lastly, well lastly was going to be something profound, but it’s almost 10am and I still haven’t slept. So it’s gonna have to wait.

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Omnicom Summer School

The deadline for the Omnicom Summer School has been extended to the 7th of July. So get your applications done and send ’em off to Steve.

More here.

Whack your questions in the comments.

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