OPINION: Is media just for the young?

Anathea Ruys
By Anathea Ruys | 14 March 2013
Anathea Ruys, Managing Director at Mindshare

Over the past couple of weeks I have been having conversations about women working in media, senior women working in media, mothers working in media and now older people working in media.

Clearly I am the most marginalised person in this business, as I have to tick yes next to all of those categories (although I caveat that the word older must have been selected by someone young because in my book 42 is far from old).

But it is all of those things that make me good at my job. Not better than anyone else in the agency is at their job, but at my job. For me that is the important thing to remember – we all need to be good at our jobs. I learn so much all the time from the people I work with every day and hopefully they learn things from me.

When I think about my career working in publishing, activation, advertising and now media, I think there are a few things I am definitely better at now than I was when I was starting out.

I stress less, especially over things that haven’t happened. When I was in my early twenties and even early thirties I used to spend hours thinking about potential terrible outcomes, that ninety nine times out of a hundred never happened. But I had to go through it to realise it wouldn’t happen. Now in my early fourties I have the history and experience to know I should only worry about it once it has happened.

I have a broader perspective. We work in communications so it is up to us to be able to reach, engage with and understand all sorts of different people. Since I started working I have gone through so many different things in life and met so many different people with different perspectives. That collection of experiences, which grows day by day, shapes how I think and act every single day.

I’m a generalist. I love being able to work across all facets of our business and I have loved working in different areas of the communications industry. I think that makes me strong at my job. When I was in the early stages of my career I was a specialist. I worked in magazines which I knew and understood deeply. I still have a passion for mags but now I see them through the lens of the rest of my career.

There’s no right or wrong age to be in media. We need all ages. And we need them to be interesting, interested, passionate, driven, curious, strong and fun. I don’t think we can over-estimate how exciting this industry can be for people at all stages of their careers. Even if you are a (slightly) older mother.

Anathea Ruys
Managing Director

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