Savage counsel: A crisis of career confidence

Chris SavageIn his monthly Encore column, STW’s Chris Savage answers your career and agency questions. 

Dear Chris,

I’m having a crisis of confidence. My job, and the marketing industry, just seem to be getting harder. I’m not sure if I have what it takes to be in this business anymore. Will this feeling pass or should I cut my losses and get out now?

A friend of mine started a business. He went to see the ‘Frank Lowy’ type equivalent business leader in his country. “How is business?” asked the tycoon. “It’s really tough right now,” replied my friend. To which the tycoon said: “Young man, remember this – business is always tough.”

My point? Do not think any alternative industry path you take is not going to be really, really tough. It is. Focus your attention first on what it is about this industry that you love. For me, I know I love work; I love challenges; I love working in the creative industries: and I love working with young people. I cannot imagine a life not in this industry. I want to work in it ’til I die. Get clear about whether this is the industry for you. Do the ‘loves’ outweigh the ‘hates’?

If yes, then work on making the grass greener on this side of the fence. How can you ‘sex up’ your current role to make it better for you? Or, if that is still not enough, find a new role somewhere else – but in this industry – that gives you the juice you need. In evaluating your current role, ask yourself these five questions. Score each out of 10, with 10 being ‘brilliant/could not be better’ and one being ‘this is a total, unmitigated disaster and just terrible’.

1. I make a valuable, powerful difference.

2.  I continue to learn and grow.

3.  It’s fun.

4.  It’s good for my life and my family.

5.  The rewards are fair.

My scale is this. Score 35 and above, it equals a pretty good role. Below 35, there is work to be done. Whatever the score, see the low numbers and work on whether you can improve them over the next few months.

Last week I heard a great insight from a culture expert. He said the companies that do the best at retaining the very best talent have three things going for them:

1.  Leaders worth following.

2.  Work worth doing.

3.  A culture worth investing in and contributing to.

Make sure you’re working for that sort of company and the industry won’t matter. I hope it is in our industry though, because we need you. Keep the faith.


Encore issue 36This feature first appeared in EncoreDownload it now on iPad, iPhone and Android tablet devices.



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