Recent Posts




This article is not for everyone.

It’s not for the people who are loving their careers, working with people who inspire them, challenge them to push beyond their comfort zone daily, making the salary they feel they rightfully deserve, getting seductive calls from their favorite headhunter every six months or so.

It’s for the other 83% of you. (Yes that’s the number – according to our recent survey of over 10,000 creative people across North America who were asked to rate their current career and job satisfaction and gave it a rating of Good or less. Grim.)

That 83% of you for whom the alarm goes off every morning and the first thought you have is “Ugh.

It’s for those of you who work with people that you’ve fantasized about punching in the face. Even once is too much.

If you’ve somehow landed in a job in a city with a boss on a piece of business that is sucking every last morsel of self dignity out of you, what I’m about to say is for you.

If, to survive your ‘fate’ you have convinced yourself that this is it, as good as it gets, and fame, creative expression, being valued and appreciated and understood is for other people with other careers – then what I’m about to say, is also for you.

In other words, it’s for those of you that have careers that suck. Or those of you who wonder if you suck. If you’ve been wondering for some time, you may have progressed to the next stage: Believing you suck.

Have I got your attention? Let me challenge your belief.

You don’t suck. You’re stuck. Stuck because you believe you suck.

Sucking is something that’s pretty hard to fix. It’s like your skin color or your height. It’s a dangerous belief because it gives all power or control over your current set of circumstances (which, by the way, you chose and created) away.

It’s also a great way to avoid taking any responsibility for your current circumstances. Believing you suck is akin to saying, “It’s not my fault. I suck. That’s why I’m at where I’m at.”

Being stuck, on the other hand, is completely fixable. I believe in focusing on all things that are fixable and within your control. That’s how we create results and cause change in our careers.

As we go into 2016 and wrap up another year of being stuck, I thought it might be helpful to share some tips to help stop sucking and instead, get ‘unstuck’ in 2016.

Correct that little voice when it says you suck. Tell it, “I don’t suck. I’m stuck.”

Set a Quit Date for between three and six months for now. This will be the first step you take in getting unstuck. This is when you are going to Quit your soul sucking job for one that you love. Which means, you have to get bi-zee.

Stop letting random calls from recruiters determine the trajectory of your career. Stop convincing yourself that whatever cruddy job they are dangling in front of you is the right next job for you because you’re too afraid (or don’t know how) to do the work to figure out what you want, get your brand in shape, learn how to interview, or in other words, get your sh*t together.

Stop being flattered just because a recruiter calls you. Or for that matter, surprised. It doesn’t mean anything. It means a recruiter called you. It’s not a barometer of your success or your desirability any more than NOT getting calls means anything either.

Stop believing that you can’t understand money, or business. Every creative director I have interviewed for my book Diary of a Creative Director is equal parts business person and creative person. Do you think that’s a coincidence? I don’t. Money is easy. 2 + 2 always equals 4. Creativity is hard. One headline, a million different opinions, people who don’t study creativity allowed to have opinions about your work.

Compared to that, learning how an agency makes money is a piece of cake. Learn.

Stop believing that it’s all about the quality of your portfolio. 93% of creative people believe it’s all about the portfolio. 100% of them are wrong.

Stop believing in luck. The more successful a person becomes, the smaller the role they believe luck played in their success. Losers believe in luck. It means the responsibility is not theirs. “Nothing I could have done about it. Just bad luck.”

Start investing in yourself. Hire a career coach. Think about it. The people in the best shape usually have personal trainers. Athletes have coaches. Singers, musicians who have ambition to be in the top percentile, all have private instructors. Tiger Moms hire private tutors. 87% of Fortune 500 CEO’s have coaches. Why don’t you? Is 5% of your salary a year to get unstuck and stay unstuck too much to spend? Ask any of my clients. They’ll tell you it’s a bargain.

Stop comparing yourself to people in worse jobs than you are to make yourself feel better. Instead, dare to dream. Find people who have your dream job and figure out how they got there, what it is about them that got them that job, then do that.

Devote one Friday a month to having lunch with someone who can teach you, inspire you, scare you, challenge you, or make you spit take across the table. During lunch be that person for them too. I promise you’ll both walk away with smiles on your face.

Learn how to say ‘no’ to things that aren’t advancing your career. Crash course. Like this. No. Stuff the guilt. It’s a waste of time. Have another Scotch instead.

Stop taking ‘no’ for an answer. Everything we read about people who inspire us begins with the moment when they had a dream and someone in a position of influence said ‘no’. But what did they do? They didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. This is the best example from 2015. Click to view Misty Copeland commercial for Under Armour.

Start reading books that have nothing to do with advertising creativity. Broaden your horizons. Increase your skill set. Develop a P.O.V. Learn how to talk to the corner office and hold their attention. Have something to say that’s worth listening to.

Stop believing that flying ‘under the radar’ is somehow good for you, the company you work for, your boss, your partner, or the project you’re working on. It isn’t. This is an A.D.D. world, we are being screamed at from all directions 24 hours a day by everyone in every business and umpteen social media platforms. Flying under the radar accomplishes nothing more than making it super easy to ignore you. We are not spies. We’re advertising people.

Start being a creative person again. I mean a creative person who is doing something creative that doesn’t have a client or a purchase order or a creative director attached. Creativity that is yours alone, and is done to please your soul. Doing so will reconnect you with the creative person you once were. Schedule a once a week date with yourself. Julia Cameron called it The Artist’s Date in The Artist’s Way. Google it to read some more, do it and find yourself light up again. The reason I put this in is because I want you to fall in love with being a creative person again and remember why you are here. I want to wake up your heart.

Stop hating your portfolio. If you hate it, it probably sucks. If it sucks, fix it. If you don’t know how to fix it, hire someone who can fix it. I know people. Email me.

Get good at presenting. If you think you suck at it, you probably do. More on that here: Click here to visit Last Hurdle website.

Learn how to dress like you mean it. Hire a style consultant. Get it together in the style department. Make your next presentation looking like everyone with any smarts should care what you have to say. I have connections and referrals that I can vouch for in New York, LA and Toronto. Email me I’m happy to share their info.

Lastly and most importantly:

Stop playing defence when it comes to your career. Stop accepting what you have. Figure out what makes you happy, create a plan, execute the plan and GO FOR IT.

Happy 2016!

Thank you for all your support, your enthusiasm, your thought provoking conversations, your honesty, your vulnerability, your courage, your rainbows, your magic moments, and for believing in my belief in you in 2015.

~ heidi