I wasn’t too sure if I was going to post this. Slightly through embarrassment and partly through sheer defiance and pride, but I was made redundant from my job last week Thursday. At first I had some grievances towards my previous employers that I wanted to air but after a weekend of conversations with those closest to me and working on my next short film with a friend of mine, I think a clearer head prevails.
It has however, put me in a strange place. I’ve spent the last eight years working in the advertising industry, and for the majority, with individuals who have helped guide, support and influence my career — shaping work which has helped shift the culture on brands such as Nike, Facebook, RayBan and Apple but for the first time in a long time, I’m faced with the question: so what now?
It takes me back to the day I was released from my professional football club Crystal Palace, eighteen years old with zero experience of what the harsh reality of business looked like and what the power of an opinion can do to a person. I was also given an insight to how people would view me as I continued on my journey and eventually landed in the corporate space. “You’re excellent at a lot of things, but we just don’t know where to put you”.
Being multi-dimensional in the creative industry is something I feel sometimes is glamorised by agencies and organisations, to attract individuals when really the industry isn’t quite set up for people who can actually play between the lines. Who manages them? What department do they sit in? Who even gives them a review of their progress?
Too many times have I been faced with the conundrum of trying to figure out where I fit into a structure of a business after being told your talent, skills and insight are needed, when all I want to do is be part of a process and deliver good work — it’s disheartening and stressful and it shouldn’t be a crime to able to think laterally.
The truth is, if you look around at the next generation of talent coming up, they’re not just one thing. Many of them are skilled in areas beyond a job title and pigeonholing them into a box right for you may cause more hinderance than help. But some of them want to work in the creative industry, in your companies. What are you going to do, take away the spark that made them who they are? Tell them, we love you but only for this one thing? Use their talents and discard them when you’re done? It’s not sustainable.
I believe there needs to be more transparency between prospected employees and agencies, especially those who are recruited in hybrid positions, about the true desires of the business and whether they have the capabilities to support these individuals as they progress through the company.
That being said, I’m taking a break. With redundancy comes opportunity to think openly about the next moves I want to take. I’ll be open to freelance work at the end of February, mid March so recruiters if you want to catch up for a coffee, I’ll be open to a chat.
Here’s some work to noodle over in the meantime.