Breaking Through.

What A Time To Be Alive.

We live in an age where the answer to frivolous arguments can be settled with a device that can fit into your pocket. An age where sickness can be diagnosed and cured faster than ever before. An age where cars can literally drive themselves. An age where people are living longer, healthier lives.

All of these advancements around us and the ad industry still can’t find a way to solve two of its biggest problems.

Creating a path for the next generation and diversity.

Now this isn’t some, “whoa is me. It’s so hard being a millennial,” piece. It’s just an observation that I’ve seen many times throughout my short, yet long, travels.

If you’ve followed this blog then you know that its main purpose is to give me platform to talk about advertising. The goal when I started this two years ago (it just hit me how fast time flies) was to show agencies that though I don’t have the experience that doesn’t make me incompetent and talentless.

During my Odyssey-like journey in the job market, specifically advertising, I’ve noticed that agencies have this habit of only opening jobs that require someone with some sort of previous experience. Most of you have seen these postings. “We’re looking for someone with 1,500 years of experience, two left feet, a cartwheel expert, and can juggle apples while singing Yankee Doodle.” I’m speaking in hyperbole but the postings might as well read the same thing.

Agencies suffer from a disease and there’s no cure on the horizon. I believe it’s called perfect candidate syndrome. They create this long list of requirements and if a candidate doesn’t match every single one then they’re not considered for the gig. The irony of this is that there’s no such thing as a perfect candidate.

I’ve seen jobs stay open on agency sites for months because of this. The frustrating piece of this puzzle is that people who have 5-7 years of experience already have a job…..and aren’t looking.

Why can’t agencies figure that out?

If they’re really serious about filling jobs that require experience then why not look in their office? There’s bound to be someone there who at least has potential to fill the position. The benefits of hiring from within is that employees are empowered to take control of their career paths. If they want to move up then they’ll work to get there. If they see someone else work hard and receive a promotion then they will follow suit. Another benefit is that it opens lower level jobs for, you guessed it, the person who doesn’t have the experience for higher positions. A pipeline like that is efficient and can almost eliminate those, criminal, unpaid internships (see my rant on that here.)  

The second part of this problem is the lack of diversity throughout the industry. Now I know some of you will start to tune this out or come in hard with your, “why does everything have to be about race?” view and that’s fine. I’m not a gambling man but if that’s your stance then I’m willing to bet that you’re the one who’s benefiting from this “boys club” atmosphere. This isn’t an issue that only hinders minorities; women feel the effect of this too. I can’t tell you how disheartening it is to go to an agency’s site and not see anyone that even remotely looks at me.

Does that stop me from applying? Absolutely not, it’s just disheartening.

How does the industry solve this problem? I don’t have an answer but the person who does is going to get a nice Christmas bonus.

As always, thanks for reading.

Can I Pay With Experience?

If you’re under 30 and been in the real world (or about to enter it) then you’ve noticed some disturbing things about the job market. I know when you graduate you’re full of hope and wonder. You’re excited about the journey that’s to come and you view life with a glass half full mentality.

That’s a great thing, don’t ever lose that.

I think this goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway. The job market is rough. Every opening requires 1,000 years of experience and martial arts training, (I’m exaggerating but jobs do ask for unrealistic qualifications). Employers expect candidates to come in and, with no formal training, execute at an efficient level. I could go on and on but there’s one aspect about the current job market that really ruffles my feathers.

Like I said before, jobs in today’s market experience is the most valuable asset. The riddle of the century for current grads is how does one get experience when every jobs requires experience? It’s a question so simple, yet so complicated. Entry level jobs are all but obsolete, especially in the advertising industry. If I had a penny for every entry level job opening at an agency I’d only be able to buy one piece of penny candy.

So how are grads supposed to start their career?

The answer might be the two worse words in the job market.

Unpaid Internship(s)

I’ve had many rants on Twitter about, in my opinion, unpaid internships are borderline criminal and need to be eliminated. Some people have compared it to slavey but I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration. I do believe that unpaid internships alienate a large group of people who don’t have the luxury of having someone else pick up their daily tabs while they work for nothing. Experience isn’t an acceptable form of payment……for anything. Bills still have to be paid and necessities still need to be taken care of. I can’t walk into a grocery store and pay with experience. That’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works.

An unpaid internship is just a way for companies to get extra work done for no costs. I’ve always believed that if you can’t pay an intern then you don’t need an intern.

Life isn’t free.

As always, thanks for reading.