The problem with experience

ARRGGGHHH! I’m frustrated. Like really frustrated.

If you’re young and ambitious, it’s one of those things you go through. Just coming up against brickwalls.

Like I’m looking for some freelance work at the moment.

So there was this recruiter, I was talking to earlier. Lovely lady. Really lovely lady.

She says: “There’s all these new senior roles in content which means there’s junior roles opening up for people like you.”

I’m silent on the end of the phone.

“So let’s talk money. What kind of thing are you after?”

I met Doug Kessler, the guy who runs content marketing agency Velocity Partners, last week. He said he knows I’m less experienced, but I’ve got that entrepreneurial spark and the maturity of someone much older. He’s looking out for projects for me.

He said his freelancers charge £250-350 a day, and that I ought to charge £250. So I tell her.

“Well I’d be amazed if you could earn that!” she says.

I stay silent.

“For someone with your experience… we had a brilliant job the other day. They were looking for a content writer. 20K. Not a really challenging job”

I wasn’t looking for something easy. Nor was I looking for a full time job. I stay silent.

“The people who earn £250, 300, 600 a day. They’ve got more experience than you.”

I appreciate that experience is important. But she treats me as any other person, who has 1 year’s experience.

It’s irrelevant that I was leading the content marketing somewhere. It’s irrelevant that I got PR coverage with Social Media Examiner, and got several hundred signups from that. It’s irrelevant that I’ve written for the Content Marketing Institute. It’s irrelevant that I’ve written a book. It’s irrelevant that I want to grow, learn more and be fucking brilliant at something. *excuse my swearing*

But it’s this corporate mindset of – he’s got 1 years experience, he knows nothing. She’s got 10 years experience so she knows everything.

There’s more numpties in senior marketing jobs than you can shake a stick at. But they’ve got there because they have experience.

In these corporate companies, there’s no way to shine. There’s no way to be exceptional. There’s no way of being amazing. You’re part of one homogeneous glob of “talent”.

They ask: how long have you been doing this?

They don’t ask: what have you achieved? How much potential do you have? How good are you?

It’s like measuring how tasty a meal is with a tape measure.

They value the wrong stuff.

“I’m sorry, this haute cuisine is awful. It’s small. Can I have a McDonalds burger instead. It’s much bigger.” said no person ever.

Grrr. I’m frustrated now.

You might think I’m an arrogant twat, with over-inflated expectations at this stage.

Maybe I am.

Maybe you’ve stopped reading.

But I want to be bloody excellent at whatever I do. I’ll make sure I am. I’m 19 and I’m precocious and ambitious.

In fact, it just feels like I need to do something entrepreneurial. If other people can’t appreciate what I can do… then I’ll make myself a business where people will. They won’t say “you only have 1 years experience.” They’ll say “you’re awesome, thank you.”

What really matters to you?

When you’re at school, university or in a job. It’s like it’s your central focus. Your aim is to learn more. Or get more done. Or work harder. More. Better. Work.

But at the end of the day, does it really matter?

Like, if you’re working for a startup, and the product is flawed.

Or you’re creating marketing collateral for a company who are too stingy to print it.

Linds Redding, an advertising veteran, worked in the ad business for 30 years before getting terminally ill. Then he asks himself this:

So was it worth it?

Well of course not. It turns out it was just adver­ti­sing. There was no higher calling. No ulti­mate prize. Just a lot of faded, yello­wing news­print, and old video cas­set­tes in an obso­lete for­mat I can’t even play any more even if I was inte­res­ted. Oh yes, and a lot of fra­med cer­ti­fi­ca­tes and little gold sta­tuet­tes. A shit-load of empty Pro­zac boxes, wine bott­les, a lot of grey hair and a tumor of inde­ter­mi­nate dimensions.

So what really matters to you?

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