No, not how are you getting home after three or four too many, what is your plan once the advertising/media/marketing industry spits you out or you simply wake up one day and don’t have the patience to fight the good fight any longer. In my role as an executive recruiter & coach, I find myself providing a lot of advice that makes sense when I hear myself, the truth is I didn’t have much of a long-term plan personally. I used to be told I was good with people and therefore after agency life, executive search & recruitment / coaching was always in the back of my mind. Luckily, in the most part, it has fallen into place.
Daily I speak with great talent who are over it, burnt out or more and more so, becoming too old. It’s going to happen to us all, how you prepare for it though is something that seems to be regularly overlooked.
These are three things that I have learnt:
Client-Side Respect (the grass isn’t always greener)
I’d say that 75% of agency candidates over the age of 40 have the desire to ‘move client side’. I get it, I toyed with it briefly also. The fact of the matter is that very few manage the jump, and the grass isn’t always greener. What does seem to occur is a newfound respect for the clients’ own challenges and a far stronger understanding of why decisions take so long, why the eight rounds of changes happen and why the Sales division really wear the pants when it comes down to it. Still, if you can jump the fence, go for it!!
Very few careers in my opinion expose you to such a diversity of challenges, industries and opportunities. If you’re good at what you do, chances are you will adapt and be successful in another path. Sadly though, Australia can be quite narrow minded and recruit from within the same swim lanes (in my view the UK & even US are more open to experience in adjacent work environments and welcome new thinking). Back yourself and pursue that department change, industry change or Kombucha start up. Don’t wait for the Grim Reaper to come knocking.
Prepare (keep learning)
Over the past 12 months I have been undertaking the AICD, mainly because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, but also because I wanted to try and secure some sort of relevance / income as I become even greyer. I also did my Owner Builders course a few years ago.
Ongoing education and reading is essential. Many of us stop learning as we mature due to the hecticness of life, work and family, but investing in yourself and your education is one of the best ways to keep focus, provide a possible new direction, maybe get a promotion and heck, you may even enjoy it.
Simon Hadfield: firstname.lastname@example.org