When I started my career at Leo Burnett, I was fortunate to be assigned a great mentor. At Burnett, they called the mentors Yodas. My mentor, Dave, has a voice that sounds a little like Yoda, so that was a bonus (You can hear him in this spot for Heinz ketchup).
Greg wrote awhile back about The Mentor Effect. And as a part of Ad Age’s series on the best places to work, they ran this piece by Celeste Gudas the other day. In it, she points out how important mentors are to creating a great place to work. She also points out that the more senior person can learn from the junior person, which is important.
So as you’re looking for a job, maybe add to your list of questions, “Will I have a mentor? Who will it be?” The agency might not assign someone officially. If they don’t, see if you can find an unofficial mentor.
An article that began with a survey we conducted here is in TalentZoo.com today. Check it out. And if you’re not familiar with TalentZoo.com, check them out as well. Their Salary Monitor is down now, but once it’s back up it’s worth a look. It’s accurate, and I’ve never made a job change without consulting it first.
Having taught a lot of portfolio school students, I can say that what most junior creatives want – almost more than anything else – is a good industry mentor.
And having worked in advertising agencies for a long time, I can say most junior creatives aren’t really getting what they want.
So several months ago, I started talking to junior creatives, students and creative directors about their expectations of each other. Turns out there are some gaps no one’s really addressing. That’s “The Mentor Gap,” and you can see what I mean in the SlideShare presentation below. And having a good mentor (or being one) is more than just lucking out or being a good person. There are some ramifications for entire agencies. I call that “The Mentor Effect.”
You can read the whole report here, or just watch the intro below. Since these points apply to portfolio school students, junior creatives, CDs and even agency principals, I think it’s worth discussing. So if you like what you read, feel free to tweet it, post it, share it. Thanks.