His Portfolio Reflects Creative Slump

Guy writes:
A headhunter called me out of the blue and asked me about my interest in an
associate creative director position (I’m a senior art director) in Florida.
Frankly I like where I work now although I admit it is about time I got that
promotion I so richly deserve.
Anyway long story short I got my “book” together and updated my resume
and went into a funk. I realized that all the time I have been here I have not much
but dreck to show for it.
Oy vey! I was determined to put the best spin on it but I am really worried. My
previous portfolio was creative and colorful and varied. Now my recent work
seems to show nothing but plain-vanilla design. Part of this is the fault of the
client’s taste; part is the fact that my superiors at work have kept me on such a
lackluster account. But more importantly I have to accept some blame for it.
I feel my skills are being squandered. This job possibility has opened up a Pandora’s box.

The Career Doctor responds:
You may not be enjoying what you perceive as a creative funk but I think this
call from the headhunter is the best thing to happen to you and your career.
Most talented people do not enjoy doing bland uncreative and uninspired work.
Consider the headhunter’s call as your wake-up call to reinvigorating your career.
A lot of times in our careers we end up staying too long in one position or with
one employer — because it’s the safe thing to do — and our career stagnates
because of our fear of change.
So what are your options? Well you can try and close the lid to the Pandora’s
Box that you opened and go back to enjoying your current job with its boring
client taste and vanilla designs. Or you can embrace the frustration and dismay
you are feeling and take charge of your career. If it’s time in your career for a
change and a promotion make the commitment to go after a new job with vigor.
Headhunters are one avenue to pursue when job-hunting but there are many others.
Use your network of contacts to announce you are seeking greener pastures. Take
advantage of your professional association to network and search for jobs.
Research and develop a list of companies where you would like to work and
develop a direct mail campaign to each firm’s creative director. Consider using
some of the many job sites on the Web. Contact your old teachers professors career and alumni offices of your former schools or colleges and solicit their help
in your quest.
As for your portfolio — remember that there are no rules that say your most current
work has to be showcased more than your previous work. A portfolio is all about
showing your entire range of creativity from the bland to the exotic. So rather
than organizing the portfolio by job organize it by categories of style and design.

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