5.25.2012

Chase Your Own Fucking Cars

If you're an aspiring artist, developer, sales person, marketer or other big dreamer, you need to know something, and it's very likely going to sting. And I'm not sorry.

When you get out of art school (or college or the training course you're taking), you're going to have aspirations. Aspirations are great things to have. They give you a goal to work toward. They drive you to work hard. They make you question your own work and strive to make it better.

But you have to pay your dues and work your way up the chain. Period.

If you want a job at Coke doing design, or DC Comics doing illustration, or Ogilvy doing marketing campaigns, you can't just find someone you know who works there (or knows someone who does) and say "Hey, can I have a job?" ESPECIALLY when you have no demonstrable track record to point to and show why you deserve one. To do so is like sending this letter:
Dear Ferrari,

You're one of the greatest designers and manufacturers of cars in the world. Can you please send me one of your cars, even though I don't know what to do with one when I catch it? I don't do very well chasing them.

Sincerely,
Dog

You not only look foolish, amateurish and egotistical, you annoy the fucking shit out of the people you're asking.

That's not to say you shouldn't take risks. Be bold. Go after what you want. Kick a LOT of ass and don't even bother taking names. Network. Get to know people. Make them aware of what you do and what your dreams are.

But know the difference between being bold and being a pest. Do your research. Know the quality of work coming from an agency or company as well as (or even more than) you know the prestige and paycheck. Have work that equals or surpasses that work. If you're good, trust me, the opportunities will find YOU.

Be so good you cannot be ignored. If you can't do that, be good enough to justify why you should get the work overs someone else. And by all means, show your work around and get critiqued. But know this, and know it well: When someone sees your work, the first question they ask themselves is "Is this any good?" and if the answer is yes, the very next one they ask themselves is "Who should meet this person?"

If the person you're asking is qualified to give a good critique, chances are good that they have STACKS of work that they have to pass on. They would love to help out their clients and customers by introducing them to talented upstarts that produce good stuff and just need an opportunity.

Furthermore, they need to know that putting you in contact with a client or friend with whom they have a relationship, won't make them look like an idiot for suggesting someone unreliable, false, untalented, or otherwise a bad fit. Sometimes, that's ego -- they don't want to look bad. But the vast majority of the time it's because they want to take care of the person to whom you are being referred. They need to be sure you will take care of their client / friend -- that you will keep your word, deliver what you're asked to deliver, on time.

If you have to ask, you're not them.