Twenty-five is a unique age in the Media Industry. For many people there’s been a straightforward path up until this point. School led to university, university led to a first job in the real world. And then in your mid-twenties with 3-4 years of experience under you belt there are many choices to make. There’s often no obvious direction from anyone and sometimes the options can seem overwhelming. Do you think your career path have been altered if you had leveraged your twenties a bit differently? If you could go back to your younger self and whisper some words of wisdom into your ear, what would you say?
We asked some of our senior clients what key piece of advice they would give to their 25 year old self…..
Dino Myers-Lamptey, Managing Director at MullenLowe Mediahub
“Jump deep into everything and continually keep learning how things work. You’ll quickly find that it doesn’t take much to be a relative expert in most things, as most people get to 25 and slow down considerably because they feel the system should take them forward. Truth is that the system will make you average, but brilliant is within reach, and there’s a massive demand for brilliance”
Steve Chambers, Sales Director at C-Screens Ltd
“I would say don’t be afraid to fail. By trying new things and seizing opportunities you ultimately define the direction your career path takes. And have a bit of fun and learn a lot along the way”
Stephen Green, Territory Lead at HYFN
“Roll with change. Our industry keeps evolving, your situation might change, that will always throw up opportunity. New roles and environments will benefit you in the long run and make life interesting! Talk to people, listen and get perspective from those outside of your immediate role. Be nice and help others, and they will help you along when you need it”
Isabelle Baas, Managing Partner – Digital, SMG London
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s only by understanding the detail and context that you can truly help others and grow”
Mark Jackson, Managing Director, MC&C
“The best piece of career advice I’ve ever been given is ‘You’ve two ears and one mouth’ and ‘Always focus on making your boss redundant”
Celine Saturnino, Chief Commercial Officer at Total Media
“Two key components of building long term success are confidence and the strength of both your professional and personal networks. Always push for the next challenge and don’t be afraid of what you don’t know”
Davina Barker, Sales Director, Digital Cinema Media.
“I’d tell my younger self to throw out the career plan. Don’t focus on the detail or worry too much about knowing what you’re good at or where you’re going. If you’re enjoying yourself, just go with the flow. Ask questions, pay attention and be open to every opportunity that presents itself. And the more open you are, the more opportunities that will arise.”
Chris Walker, Head of Banking & Financial Services, Advertising at Financial Times
“Nobody expects you to know everything, so ask questions about everything; you’ll win more friends and ironically, look smarter”
Yasser Hussain – Director – Mapp Media
“Always do what you say you will”
Farzad Jamal – General Manager UK and SVP of Global Demand Partnerships – Mozoo
“Don’t be easily seduced by more money and your own ego as where you are could be better!”
Phil Daniel – Managing Director Sales and Marketing at Admedia
“Rather than focus on how things used to be, embrace change. Look to find the opportunities that change inevitably creates and keep looking and moving forward”
Ian Anderson – Founder/Director Awaken
“Learn a skill and ensure you recognise it yourself before you expect others to do so. Design, editorial, planning, digital, sales … whatever it is, chose it because you enjoy it, don’t let it chose you, as it will be the heartbeat of your career; your default skill in addition to the others you learn over the years”
Rupert Staines – Managing Director, International at RadiumOne
“Work smarter, look at the bigger picture, learn from those who are more experienced but not necessarily better, and adopt your own style. You cannot pretend, so follow your beliefs….with humility and passion”
Jamie White – Head of Agency Sales at Pearl and Dean.
“Meet as many people as possible and treat them with the same respect you would want to be treated yourself no matter what level within a company they are, as you never know when you may cross paths again on the way up or down”.
Guy Abrahams – Global Strategy Lead at Zenith
“I would recommend watching the documentary ‘Fog Of War’. It shows that despite being the most intelligent man in the room, former U.S. Secretary of Defence Robert S. McNamara by his own admission made the wrong call in the Vietnam war because he failed to see the situation from the other side’s point of view”
Alice Waite – Agency Group Head at Clear Channel
Don’t be in a hurry to live your life and to “achieve”. Enjoy every moment, every twist and turn your life and Career throws at you as you never know where it could lead you. In doing so don’t be so resistant to outside advice, your opinion can be wrong (sometimes), so accept and listen to the differing advice. Oh also, that text at 3am? Don’t send it.
Dan Locke – Chief Agency Strategy Officer at ESI Media
“Think what you can do for the business you work for, not what the business can do for you. It’s a mind-set that pays dividends. Or better still….Get into digital!”
Lindsay Turner – Managing Director at Blue 449 Luxe
“Take risks and embrace ambition. I have always been a ‘planner’, meticulously researching places, things and making rational choices. I was certainly risk adverse in my mid-twenties. Younger self….. Be brave! Stop scenario planning and go for it. You won’t have realised it yet but you are ambitious and that is a good thing. Be ambitious!”
Matt Fuller – Managing Director at MJ Media
“Be passionate and enthusiastic about your career, and create your own opportunities in your place of work”
Elliott Millard – Managing Partner, Planning at Starcom UK
“Take more risks. Right now it feels like a diverse CV is a dangerous move but having breadth of experience will be much more powerful than having done the same job for years. Don’t stay for the wrong reasons. If it feels wrong it probably is. Go somewhere else and have fun. Follow innovation but don’t allow it to be overwhelming – innovation is crucial to success but sometimes the new shiny idea can be distracting from the right idea”
Craig Tuck – Managing Director, UK at RadiumOne
“In over 20 years in the industry, I believe in getting your head down, and doing your job the best you can do, rewards will come soon enough. There is every temptation to want to run before you can walk in all areas of life, but professionally, in order to succeed at a higher level, you really do have to have put in the groundwork in the early years or you will fail should you be given more responsibility. So, behave like the leader you aspire to be, and be supportive and kind along the way”
Bruce McGowan – Head of Broadcast Content at Zenith
“Prioritise what is really important and what is not, we’re not saving lives. Make what you do count, add value and help transform our client’s business & our own. Brevity is king; don’t spend all those hours writing 100 page presentations”
Emily Stala – Head of Business Development at Wireless Group
“Always have sight on your next promotion. When in your current role, make note of what is needed for the position above your role and make sure you get the relevant training/help in order to be in the best possible place for a promotion, when one becomes available!”
Tim Samuel – Business Director at Smithfield Agency
“The one thing I would tell myself at 25 is to tell people your opinion. This industry is not for shrinking violets, and neither is it a precise science. Not everybody is right, and nor is there a clear right/wrong of doing things. What’s important is to have an opinion and voice it. But be quick to learn when you were wrong and move on – we all need to adapt to survive and be able to listen to the opinion of others too”.
James Weinberg – Head of AV at MSix Agency
“Ensure you look out for the people around you and ensure you are looked after yourself. What I have seen in my career is many people who are unhappy at work but don’t do anything about it. Make a stand to change this, or your progression and enjoyment of work will be inhibited. We work for a great industry with lots of opportunities so ensure you find ways make yourself indispensable!”