When Someone Else Takes Your Job

My first portfolio review was at the One Club. As part of the student exhibition, they used to bring in speakers to address the throng of students who traveled to New York for the event. The speakers my first year were Jamie Barrett, Mike Shine and John Butler. It was a pretty impressive show.

Butler and Shine were only a couple years into their new shop. I don't even think Greg Stern had joined them yet. They completely hypnotized us with their reel. They were this hot, boutique agency, started by a couple Goodby spin-offs who were doing phenomenal, edgy work out of a boathouse in the Bay Area. At the end of their presentation, all 200+ of us wanted to go work in Sausalito. So during the Q&A session, one bold student asked, "Are you hiring juniors?" Mike Shine said, "Yeah...In fact, we just hired Crockett. I think he's here. Oh, there he is in the back." And the crowd turned to see Crockett Jeffers, a VCU Adcenter student who was still a couple weeks away from officially graduating, waving and smiling in the back row.

I was a year behind Crockett, so I didn't loathe his fortune the way most of the graduates there did. I knew he had one of the best books in the school, and if anyone deserved to work at Butler Shine, it was probably him. Still, I think everyone saw it as a steaming pile of injustice. They'd been struggling for months - years even - to put their books together, and this guy somehow snagged a job before anyone had even sent out their minibooks.

I'm sharing this story because there are going to be people who get jobs ahead of you. You're going to have peers who land gigs at hot shops, while you're still waiting for someone to call you back.


Resist comparing yourself to your peers. Just because your roommate took a job at Crispin or Goodby doesn't mean your career is doomed. You will win awards. You will build a solid book. Your ideas will become nationally recognized commercials. You will make money. You can have all these things...If you work hard enough to get them. It doesn't matter when you get a job or where that job is. It only matters what you do with it. In the end, your work is the only thing that matters.

So be happy when your friends land some pretty sweet gigs. It just strengthens your network.