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The Job Of The Creative At W+K

Our CDs on the job of the creative, and what they’re looking for.

October 18th 2017

If you spend enough time in any W+K office, you’ll hear it. And if you don’t hear it, you’ll feel it: The work comes first. In other words, a heavy premium is placed on ideas, and the ability to bring them to life.

But if the idea of what constitutes “work” is changing beyond recognition, what does that mean for the job of the people whose job it is to conceive that work?

Below, the experts on what it takes to work as a “creative”—the senior creative directors and ECDs who have done that job, and are now responsible for mentoring new talent—share their insights about what the job is all about, what we’re looking for, and what people should know about working here.

What's the job of the creative?

To make things that matter. (CD, Amsterdam).

It’s truth in storytelling. It is authentic. Interested. It is grounded even when it’s insane because if you tell a story that's true, you can tell it so many different ways. (CD, NYC).

What are we looking for?

It’s a range; you want the weirdo irrational thinkers, but also those who are interested in building a business. People think of a creative as an artist-but you can be an entrepreneur, too. (ECD, Portland).

We want a point of view. It may only take one thing to show it. There are a lot of people out there who know what’s happening in the world, but it’s giving a point of view on the world that’s new, different, awkward, funny, or strange that’s valuable. (CD, NYC).

It's the person in the end. The personality. That's what we want, both in the work and, ultimately, in how that person can make work feel less like work and more like getting to hang out with a load of really interesting and inspiring characters. (ECD, Amsterdam).

An interesting perspective on the world, and a unique voice to share it. (CD, Amsterdam).

It doesn't hurt to be a fairly decent human being, have a willingness to believe anything can be amazing, and to listen when other people are talking. That helps. (ECD, Amsterdam).

I’m looking for creatives who love their job, know their classics, and understand how important it is to listen. (CD, Amsterdam).

It’s their contribution to the culture of the agency as much as their genius ideas that make this place what it is. Which is hopefully a really safe place to be as dangerous and dreamy as possible. (ECD, Amsterdam).

What should one know about working here?

Expectations are high—they are high on people who are here and they are especially high on people coming in. (ECD, Portland).

What I realize when I watch the creatives here who are full of enthusiasm but also realistic and willing to challenge clients is this: if you cant find joy in it, don’t do it. (ECD, Portland).

Come here if you believe. Don’t act big. Fail harder. And the work comes first. And it means something that this place is not and never will be part of a holding company. The heart leads. (CD, NYC).

Having been at a lot of places, I can say that at W+K, I’ve seen more things actually get made that are passion projects or things people believed in. I truly believe there are more opportunities at W+K to do things that you could never do anywhere else. You should feel the freedom to go find the opportunities. It’s “give me the thing nobody wants; I’ll go make it something great.” That’s what W+K does. (ECD, Portland).

To be honest, even if creative is not in your title or the name of your department, my expectation is that any and everyone can, and should, contribute to the process. (ECD, Amsterdam).

  1. It's a roller coaster ride.
  2. The roller coaster ride is equal parts exciting, terrifying, rewarding, and frustrating - and all the seats are filled with smart, good people who will scream with you, and cheer with you, and even vomit with you.
  3. You might never want to get off. (CD, Amsterdam).