Dear Younger Me - by Director of Social & Mobile Gemma Craven
Dear Younger Me,
Likely you are reading this via an email account in a small PR agency in London. All emails are routed from one master email account to the computer on each of your desks. I know that technically, you are not allowed personal emails at work. In fact, your boss prints any personal emails out and reads them out loud to everyone in the room to stop this nasty growing habit in its tracks – but I think this one is worth it (and, hiya Alan!).
I am writing to you 17 years in the future, from a different country and city – New York City, actually. It’s great here. The food is waaaay better than the mixed bag you are dealing with. London food will actually get a lot better, but you will probably have moved away by that point. Sorry.
When I look back on where you are now, and where I am writing to you from, there are a few things I think you should keep in mind -- things I wish I had known when I was where you are now.
1. Carry on nurturing your love of tech and those connections. The developers you are learning from and the tech journalists you are pitching will connect you with online forums and communities, then an online community where you can talk to other people called MySpace (imagine that). I will not spoil the surprise of discovery of what comes after MySpace, but knowing these communities well is going to be very important in your later career, so continue being a curious tech nerd. It will pay off.
2. Don’t burn any bridges. I think sometimes you are scared of telling people what they don’t want to hear, which leads to unresolved issues. This ultimately burns some bridges in your early career. Don’t do that – it is such a small world you work in, and those people will end up being your boss or client in a few years. Grow a pair when you need to. It’s OK.
3. There is a place where you can wear your creative side to work. It’s called advertising. There are whole agencies full of people with the same passion for great visuals, beautiful creative, gorgeous fonts and right-aligned images in PowerPoint. These people won’t judge the fact that you host themed costume parties every weekend. In fact, they will love that part of you. Owning both your personal and professional sides as your entire self is important; you don’t need to shut down one part of yourself to go to work.
4. Be thankful for photo albums. Trust me, in the future everything will be shared online, including live streaming videos of what we all eat for dinner. I know -- sounds crazy. But without this sharing, you might not have the job from where I am writing you, and it brings so many more possibilities. Enjoy the moment now when you don’t need to worry about permanent records the morning after.
I could go on, but I don’t want you to go changing. The experiences you’ll have over the next years make you who you are and lead to working with an amazing group of people in a brilliant ad agency in New York. Yes, NEW YORK.
But one final word of advice – call in sick after the holiday party you will go to next year. Turning up to work the day after, only to turn around and go straight back home is not a power move. Just call it in before you leave home.
That’s all. Enjoy it - it is an awesome ride.