Dear Junior Series // 01


New Series! Woooo! We’re calling it ‘Dear Junior’. It’s where we ask a prominent industry senior the questions of our audience. In this our very first, we’re kicking proceedings off by asking the burning question every junior wants answered – what will this recession mean for us? You may have seen him on the ABC’s Gruen Transfer (http://www, and when he’s not talking shop with Wil Anderson (http://www NULL.wilanderson, he’s busy being the CEO of Leo Burnett (http://www NULL.leoburnett, Sydney. Thankfully, Todd Sampson sets us straight on doom, gloom and when to have children.

Junior: As Gen-Y juniors, we’re yet to experience any kind of recession. With this one set to be one of the worst, what can juniors looking for jobs expect? Is it all doom and gloom?

Todd: ‘Junior’ is an odd term because it is not necessarily related to time in the industry or your age. Some of our youngest and least experienced people have created our best ideas. It is certainly not a time of doom and gloom – in fact for the creative industries it can be just the opposite. Now more than ever there is a need for smarter thinking and creativity in business – it may now really be the last way to get a competitive advantage. Will it be harder for young people entering the industry? Yes, but good people are always in demand. In fact, they are particularly in demand in this market because they are the ones that will help pull us out of our issues.

Jr: What about those with jobs already?

T: They should continue to make themselves indispensable through work ethic and ideas. One of the advantages of being at the lower end of the salary scale is that you are generally not the first to be considered for retrenchments. If a company is being forced to reduce the costs in the salary line they will look at the top level first because they can save more money by losing less people – this ultimately means less disruption to the business. Hardworking, dedicated and smart young creatives are the heart of our business.

Jr:How can they keep their job, or if they’re getting itchy feet, is it a bad time to move on or up?

T: If you are good and have options then go for it. If you feel you are not being appreciated and you are not developing well enough then maybe it is time to move. Leaving without a job in this market is stupid, leaving with one is still risky. One of the biggest challenges in managing Gen-Y is this inherent sense of entitlement and the lack of desire to earn their way. This recession will be a good thing for this generation because it will not only give them a very low interest rate (3%) it may also force them to settle down and earn their way. While experience is not a predictor of success in this business – it is still important.

Some final advice from Todd:

I am not big on dishing out advice, but for what it is worth here are some thoughts:

Build a brilliant book with diverse ideas across all channels, focus on digital, be easy to work with, understand how businesses work, get a great mentor, learn from those above you and your mistakes, maintain work life balance, slow down, PR yourself and your work, learn to present brilliantly, focus on the opportunity not the money, don’t move around a lot and have children early. Good luck.

If you have a burning question you want answered, send us a witty and interesting email to (

Written by Junior
Originally posted on: 04/02/2009