Holy shit it’s been over 4 years.
A phrase I think best summarises how I felt when I begin to write this. As my previous ‘autobiographical masterpiece’ started – ‘the past 4 months’, life after uni – was the last blog I wrote about myself, being the new kid on the block and just beginning my creative career at bbd. Fast forward and that kid wouldn’t have known how fortunate of an opportunity he had just been given.
Like the Olympics I seem to make my appearance every four years, so trying to decide how and what to write about for my sequel has been no easy venture. As someone who struggles to write about themselves or is too naive to think anyone else cares, I have decided to write it as a retrospective on how things are going.
A lot of people choose to write daily journals for a number of beneficial reasons, and though not something I do, I thought this could be my Quadrennial entry and whether it helps reassure, makes just the one person smile, learn something new, or breathe some quick exhaled air from their nose then I think this is a success. At the very least it gives me a moment to reflect.
That moment of reflection
I think it’s fair to say that I can no longer be classed as one of the ‘new kids’ – no matter how hard I try to get invited to the new starter lunches. So where does that leave me?
I’m far off referring to myself as one of the old school (especially to bbd standards – shoutout Sue) – Instead it feels more like this terrifying unknown with new responsibilities, constant learning, self doubt conflicting with overconfidence, leading me to an uncertain path somewhere. Not that I’m an over thinker…
What’s exciting is that I believe this is how I thrive. Being uncomfortable isn’t a bad thing if it’s making me better. It assures me that I care – sometimes maybe too much, but that’s what pushes me to keep improving. If I didn’t care for the work or the bbd’ers I am constantly surrounded by, it would diminish not only the quality of the ideas, creative and relationships but that ability for me and others to thrive.
I’m fortunate enough to work somewhere that lets people thrive by being themselves, finding their own path and shaping their own roles, in the end creating a bunch of extremely smart humans making pretty amazing work.
So I think it leaves me in what I’m going to call, a ‘sponge stage’… Soaking in as much experience and learning as I can, growing within my role. Inspired not only from the talented people with more years behind them but also the fresh ideas from the newbies that join. The analogy gets weird if we try to start talking about squeezing the sponge.. But maybe that’s where everyone’s favourite hated term of ‘Creative juices’ comes into play…
I wrote in my previous blog how I stayed in Bournemouth because the idea of London didn’t feel quite right. As time has passed, including a certain pandemic, my opinion hasn’t changed. If anything London seems less of a necessity. It echoes my beliefs that it’s more important to be somewhere you enjoy, feel appreciated and are continuously challenged, than somewhere you just feel comfortable, or because its the thing to do. Fortunately, I’m in a position to currently have all of this in Bournemouth and with bbd.
As long as I keep feeling pushed and making sure I’m always searching to find sources of inspiration I am heading in the right direction. Trips to the ‘big smoke’ for friends, exhibitions or courses – to being lucky enough to go back to visit AUB and the students – or even a quick ‘meeting’ with an Aspall at Brewhouse – helps keep my mind open to what this creatively fuelled industry has to offer and what is going to be important for my next stage of progression.
There is also something motivating about being the smaller agency on the South Coast that I think drives me and others to want to do better than a ‘good job’. Even though this is already something bbd have been doing for over 60 years, I think more people are realising you don’t have to be from the big city to find incredible talent. I’m part of that responsibility going forward to help create the standard of work you expect from bbd, and hopefully, helping push it even further to new qualities I know we are capable of reaching.
Therefore the question of ‘what next’ is something I struggle to answer. I’m not someone that plans ahead and whether Im still here in another four years, been suckered into London or managed to convince Jess & Laurence to open a bbd towers in New York – as long as I’m still being challenged, pushing the limits on the work I’m creating and surrounded by smart and inspiring people, I think I’ll be in a good place.
So let me begin by saying
I think I’m just getting started.
Fortunately not the blog, that is nearing an end. But I’m excited to see where this ever changing and fast moving role takes me, as long as there are a couple ciders along the way I’m sure I’ll be fine.
Apologies for the length of this blog, for someone who doesn’t like to go on about themselves, I seem to have written a fair amount. But if you have made it this far I greatly appreciate it, even if you did think it was a load of waffle. The aim was around 450 words, but I think I hit that benchmark back at my sponge chat.
At the very least this is something I can refer to when I come to write my next memoir in another 4 years.
To help with future reference I will leave you with a few highlights;
- Challenge and responsibility only benefits progression.
- London is great, but that doesn’t mean it’s right.
- Surround yourself with people who make you better.
- Be a sponge.
- And an open bar at the Christmas party does have its limits!