Taking Yourself Out of the Game?

Every year I speak with a student or two who's offered a job somewhere and then begins wondering whether or not they should take it. Often, it's because it's their first offer, and they feel like they might be taking themselves out of the game too soon.

I recently exchanged some emails with a really talented student who was contemplating a job. She said she was getting mild interest from a lot of places and didn't want to make herself unavailable.

I told her interest isn't good enough. At this stage of the game, only offers matter. A few years ago, one agency showed interest in me for a long time, waiting for a hiring freeze to thaw. In the meantime I lost interest. That was a luxury for me because I already had a job. But if you're a student waiting for interest to mature into a solid offer, the delay only gives the agency time to find someone they like more or who will work for less.

The same student said she was afraid that if she took the offer she'd be taking herself out of the game too soon. She forgot that taking yourself out of the game to take a great job is called "winning the game." You've got to put yourself in a position to start doing great creative as soon as possible.

It's a fantasy every portfolio school graduate has to be courted by multiple agencies who get in a bidding war over them offering more and more lucrative opportunities. But the reality is it's incredibly tough to get a job at a top-tier agency. The best thing you can do is have your 5 Criteria for choosing an agency and stick to it.

That art director, by the way, took the job. And I'm very excited to see the work she starts turning out.

Go. Fight. Win.