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Be Perfect at Making Mistakes

2 min read

I'm Jeremy Carson, and this is everything I wish I knew about the advertising and creative industry when I got started. And everything I'm discovering as a Creative Director today.
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This one is a simple, but easily missable lesson for all you junior creatives out there. And really, for any junior. Anybody starting out in a career, hoping to make that jump from lowly grunt to omnipotent, director-level, head honcho.

Don't be in a hurry to be perfect.

As a junior, you have the luxury of being allowed to fuck up. In fact, you're expected to. Nobody hired you, thinking they could hand you the keys to a project, send you on your way, and get gold in return.

No, we brought you on for your potential to grow. Your potential to learn. So, take advantage of that.

Nobody learns from getting it right the first time.

Don't hurry past the era of doing things that maybe you shouldn't be doing, but nobody really thought about why. Don't be in such a rush to get out of the phase of your career where you get to throw out crazy ideas that other disillusioned creatives stopped thinking about years ago. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, because nobody learns from getting it right the first time.

Growing Up Too Fast

If you're into trashy American reality shows, there's this one that shows these midwestern mothers who groom their toddler-aged daughters into beauty queens. Aside from the sadness that is these women living vicariously through their children, you notice that these kids don't get to enjoy the freedom of being kids. You know, just being stupid.

We're Covering for You

You're a junior. That means that there are several levels of people above you, whose job it is to make sure that whatever you do won't ruin everything.

When in doubt, remember this: right now, you should be asking more questions instead of expecting to know the answers.

So, take some risks.

NOTE: Don't be completely idiotic. Make sure that buffer is between you and the client (usually that's your creative director). But put some crazy ideas in front of your creative director. See if they'll let you make some mistakes, learning along the way.

Don't Lose Your Hunger

No junior should have the immediate goal of becoming a creative director. You have no idea what a creative director does, you have no idea what that job entails, and you haven't even mastered what your current job requires. That's a long-term goal, not one you're looking to get to tomorrow, so stop acting like one.

Ask more questions. Don't expect to know the answers.

On the flip side of this whole thing, remember not to lose your hunger. I love when juniors have a fire inside them. When they know what they want and are working their ass off to get there. But with that hunger, you need humility, because there's where you'll find patience.

And when you have patience, you'll realize that you don't need to fill the shoes of others before you've grown into your own.

Thanks for reading!

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