I was about to finish my article for WFCD when I realized that I was talking about the same advices that Creative Directors usually give to people but using different words. Wait a second…I’m not yet a WFCD! So I should probably tell people what is happening in the journey to become one. Therefore, I will start my first article by telling you some of my true-life stories as a Creative.

This one has a good beginning.

– “Mom, I got a job in an agency in London”
– Martha Lucía reaaaally? Congratulations!!!! Glory to God!
– “Mom, in the coffee shop”

That was a phone conversation couple of years ago with my mom. Unfortunately her joy faded, although, for me it was a great new. Let me go back in time so you can understand.

I had been working at BBDO and JWT in Colombia as a Copywriter, had done some interesting campaigns and even had the chance to film a commercial in New York. Nice! Then after 4 years, I wanted to change my life for a little while and most importantly wanted to learn newer things. Therefore, I decided to come to London and learn English.

I was doing different kinds of roles during my first year: waitress, bartender, barista, cashier, etc. Modesty apart, I became extremely professional at opening wine bottles and taking wrong orders. But there was nothing like advertising to give me a sense of satisfaction with my job. Mechanical routines are not my kind of thing.

I wanted to join the ad scene in London while making some money to sustain myself. So on any given day the catering agency that I was working for sent me to Lowe to make some coffees. WOW! I was thinking. I am going to get to know Lowe in London. I was about to start an episode of my professional life! I’m going to meet a contact. 7 a.m. on Monday there I was wearing black trousers, a black shirt and black trainers, behind the cashier, making perfectly tasty coffees with no bubbles, as the manager insisted.

It was easy to identify the characters in the agency, Creatives with the colourful t-shirts and trainers, Executives with their eloquence and special requirements: “Skinny decaf, no foam cappuccino, no chocolate on top” or “half skim, half full milk with an extra shot, not that hot not that warm mocha” and the Creative Director, seemed to be the busiest guy ever.

I usually enjoy everything that I do in life otherwise I wouldn’t do it. So I created a contest among my friends at the coffee shop just for fun, I was in a very good mood, nevertheless everyday I was thinking: “I should be on the other side”.

My plan started, I became a friend to the influential people: secretaries. I got to know them and chat a bit now and then. Also I talked to some Creatives, sent my Portfolio to Human Resources, but nothing happened. I talked to a girl organizing creative meetings and events, participated in D&AD, talked to a Planner and so on. I did a lot of things there but the only thing I reckon I was missing, it was the most evident and also my first thought: talking to the Creative Director. I don’t know if that would have helped but you feel OK knowing that you have done everything. Not even 99% is enough, you have to go further than that. Moral: never leave a “What if…” alive.

I had my return ticket to Colombia so I left, back to my real world. You must be thinking it’s a sad story, but it’s not. It is one of those things that happen in life. You don’t get a job in all the places you want, but you keep trying and that’s the important thing.

Last year someone called me to join the team at Lowe (in Colombia). It was funny when someone asked me about London and my job experience. Did you work in an agency while you were there? Guess what I answered.

Martha Tolosa

2 Responses

  1. Neat! Great things happen when you are open to them, specially if you are travelling.

    I went from Buenos Aires (Argentina) to San Francisco to improve my English as well. The day before I had to go back to my country, in the elevator I heard a secretary talking to a HR woman about a job position in the creative department.

    I jumped on the conversation and I told them I was a copy back in my country I was willing to have and interview with them so.

    Next day I cancelled my trip back home, and I went to the interview. Neither I got the job, paper work is always a deal. But I can proudly say that I was at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners SF once.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

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