11 Lessons in 11 Months.


Getting into the creative industry is becoming more and more of a challenge, the market is swarming with professionals and graduates all applying for the same job. I have read countless articles about ways to stand out from the crowd, how to ace an interview, etc. And so you’ll be relieved to hear I’m not writing about that. I thought I would write an article about what happens when you do get the job.

For the past eleven months I have been working at Wonderstuff, a Brand and Design consultancy based across London and Newcastle. This is my first experience of working within a creative agency, and my role here is very varied which has been great as I have gained experience in a number of different areas.

So here are 11 things I have learned in my 11 months as a Project Manager/Account Manager/Team Lunch Organiser at Wonderstuff:

1. Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude.

We all have those days when we would like nothing better than to pull the duvet back over our heads, it’s how we deal with this that allows us to move forward.

A positive attitude is not just about displaying a smile, a happy face and a perky disposition. A positive attitude enables us to make a difference in the environment around us because when we are able to see things in a positive light, we help to influence and shape other people’s attitude as well.

2. Pick up the phone

We all seem so keen to communicate by tip-tapping on a keyboard. More often than not a quick five minute phone call with the client or the developer on your project will solve your query ten times faster than that long email thread.

3. Learn the Lingo

One of the biggest challenges I found was just understanding what on earth everyone was talking about. Picking up the phone in my first week to print companies and discussing how we can print hundreds of acrylic labels with copper foil that are of professional quality but suitable for hand application, certainly taught me that.

Don’t get me wrong I’m still very much learning, but I’d like to think I know my CMYK from my RGB.

4. Look after your Project Management System.

With something like twenty different projects running over twenty different timelines, your project management system is key to keeping track of it all.

If you don’t have one, get one. And if you do have one, keep it tidy.

5. Internal Relationships are just as important as the external ones.

Whether you are a Project Manager or an Account Manager, developing a great relationship with your creative team is so important. They need to understand you and you need to understand them. Clear communication will be the solution to the majority of your challenges.

6. Purple fish vs Blue Elephants.

Get to know your client, if you do this right your going to know that when they say they want a “purple fish with orange stripes” what they actually want is a “blue elephant with green spots”.

Being able to foresee this, is going to save a lot of time, effort, and money. Not mentioning you will have a happy client and creative team at the end of it all.

7. Take notes

Wherever you are, Whatever you are doing take notes. 

You’ll thank me later for this one.

8. Feed the Creatives.

This is not a joke, sandwiches, crisps, chocolate, miscellaneous waste you found in the back alley… You name it, they’ll eat it, and they’ll love you for it.

9. A new definition of the word Urgent

Everything is always ‘urgent’. That flyer that the clients known they needed for three months but haven’t told you about until the day before the deadline? Urgent. That new visual identity for a brand that is due to launch next year? Urgent. That cup of tea the Creative Director asked for? Yep, that’s urgent too.

Understand this and prioritise everything and everyone accordingly.

10. Shy Bairns Get Nowt.

This is one of my favourite sayings and one all ‘Juniors’ should take note of. Whether it be looking for your first role within an agency or how to survive when your in one, don’t be shy, speak your mind, and get involved.

11. Enjoy it.

Well done, you got the job. Now actually try to enjoy it! 

Ask questions, stick your oar in and get to know the amazing, ambitious people around you. 

You’ll make mistakes, everyone does, but remember that it’s how we move forward from those mistakes that makes us who we are.