Ask Esther // 61


Hey Esther,

I’m a junior writer at an agency I once thought was one of the best agencies in my city. I started here 9 months ago as a contractor, and was hired on full-time after just a couple of months.

I interviewed and was hired with an art director as a team and things have been rocky to say the least. I’m in no position to judge his ability or work ethic as an art director, but I will say that I don’t think our skills compliment each other. Like, at all. Somehow though, we manage to pull it together on the daily.

I’ve also started to notice that things around the agency are falling apart a bit. A lot of people have left, morale is really low and everyone is overworked.

On top of all this, I feel like the work I’m being given isn’t anything I’d want to put in my portfolio. Some if it’s alright, but most of the briefs I end up with are telco sale banner ads or print sale ads with briefs so specific it’s hard to get a headline with any sort of concept in. I’ve done a few things that I’ll put in my book but

I’m considering leaving for a better opportunity and the opportunity to work with an AD that I connect with better. Am I your garden variety whiney copywriter or do you think it’s time for a change?



Dear Confused,

You’re batching a lot of issues here. Best you tackle them individually and in the order of priority. Firstly your Art Director. That’s reason enough to move. Find a partner who is going in the same direction as you are, and at the same speed.

Secondly the work. You’re a junior. Not all the briefs are going to be great an any agency. What CDs look for is an effort to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. Even if it’s just a concept and the client ended up buying something that you wouldn’t put in your book. Show thinking, show enthusiasm. Show great ideas or great writing.

Thirdly the agency. You are part of the morale problem. Either it affected you first or your issues with your partner and your attitude to the work has made you a gloomy person to have around the agency. Leave. It will be healthier for you and for them.

If you feel your book is ready, and you have the confidence to get freelance work, or you’re prepared to work in a bar while you look for another job and partner, it would be healthier for you to resign and start afresh.

If that’s not possible as we are coming up to the end of the year and you can’t get a job outside the industry while you look, then you need to get out there talking to agencies and potential art directors about a change.

Be careful how much you tell them about the current situation. It doesn’t look good to openly whinge about your current or previous partner or employer to your future partner or employer.

It definitely sounds like you should find a new agency and I hope it’s a healthier environment in which you can flourish.

Good luck

You can ask Esther Clerehan anything about putting your book together, getting a job, what salary to ask for or what to do when someone steals your ideas. Go on, Ask Esther. There is no other creative recruiter with more experience to educate us on the art of the job hunt. You can email her here at junior at (wtf null@null lifeatthebottom

Written by Junior
Originally posted on: 27/11/2014
Category: Ask Esther
Tagged: .