Stop Being Such a Baby

At some point in your career, you're going to be a junior creative who no longer wants to live under the title "junior creative."

Maybe it’s wanting to shed a label you think no longer applies. Maybe it’s wanting more of the creative opportunities that usually go to the senior creatives. Maybe it’s just about ego. Whatever the reason, getting people to see you as something more than a junior creative can be harder than it should be.

Here are a few ways you can stop being a junior. With two caveats:

  1. This has nothing to do with politics, brown-nosing, or acting like someone you’re not. That stuff will get you nowhere.
  2. Reasons for advancing vary from agency to agency. The size of the shop and your relationship to the people in it have a lot to do with it.

Work hard.

Duh. If you produce great work, it will be recognized. By your bosses. Your peers. Headhunters and other agencies. Just make sure you don’t confuse working hard with treading water.

Stay at the same place for a long time.

Some places may promote you eventually. This requires patience and the afore mentioned “hard work.” But when you’re not only invested in the company’s culture, but you’ve helped maintain and build it, you should be bumped up eventually.

Ask for a promotion.

Tell your CDs that you want to advance. That you want to spearhead a pitch. Or have more facetime with the client. Don’t expect it to happen immediately. But let them know where you see yourself in five years. Then do what it takes to put yourself there.

Be lucky.

You have so little control over this, it’s almost not worth mentioning. But there it is.

Get another job.

This is probably the most effective way for junior creatives to become non-junior creatives. New agency. New faces. Suddenly no one knows you as a junior. It's also probably the most effective way to increase your salary. Just remember, the better your work, the better chance you have of getting the job and opportunities you want. It always comes back to the work.