In a pointed post via medium, Firstborn ECD, David Snyder has written an extremely insightful post entitled "Dear Jr Creative…Earn Your Place. You’ll Be Better For It."
Snyder points out in no uncertain terms that a lot of juniors aren't willing to happily put in the grunt work to succeed. They're looking for a short cut despite being completely oblivious to business realities.
This is my favorite passage from the post:
My advice is simple: don’t be the entitled kid. The kid who over indexes in ambition but lacks any real passion—any real drive other than a new title at a new agency.
Be the kid who wants to learn even when he doesn’t have to—the designer who wants to learn to write, to code, to understand business because it makes the design better.
Don’t be an industry douche. They call themselves ninjas or gurus…even evangelists. They’re the ones who will tell you, to your face, that they are smarter than the other guy. They’re the ones who have stopped reading by now.
Just this week I interviewed a recent portfolio graduate for a junior copywriter position. Their attitude was bad and defensive. When I asked what the portfolio school was like, they shat on their classmates and teachers. When I asked if they had an example of long copy since their book was short on writing, they answered "No one reads long copy anymore, when's the last time you've seen long copy? I don't even think you should even need to show it."
Had this junior worked in an ad agency for a month they would be writing brochure copy, scripts for radio spots, (and the necessary casting specs for the producer to find voice over talent to read their copy) and typing up words for print ads and banners. If they scored with a TV spot or "digital film" they'd be in the weird position of writing a longer than tweet length script. And had this person somehow come up with a 360 campaign idea (which in addition to all the above also requires writing a big idea rationale in a deck that averages 30 pages) they would have to do a lot of fucking typing for someone who believes long copy isn't necessary.
It really takes an idiot to be such a know-it-all.
The only thing I would add to his post is this: Keep following Snyder's advice even when you're no longer a junior. Hold on to the humility. Never let awards, accolades, raises and titles warp your sensibility or close your mind. We're never as important as we believe. And I think the sooner we start to embrace that notion, and get out of the way of ourselves, the sooner we might start doing great work.