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If you work for a great company that treats you well, has fun, produces great work for great clients, and provides a positive career path for you, then why move?

25+ years working for one agency—how did that happen?

It’s a great question and one I have been asked plenty of times by wide-eyed Gen Zs and millennials, who often find the idea of staying put in one place tantamount to insanity.

The simple answer is that it wasn’t planned and has happened in the blink of an eye. It’s true time does fly, especially when you’re having fun (and even when the going gets tough, such is agency life). One minute I was making plans to travel and work in Australia post-finishing university, and the next my last CV application for a design role (genuinely) led to an interview at Outlook HQ in Northampton—and the rest is history.

Outlook as a business has always managed to meet my ambitions and provide a career path within a growing agency that has allowed me to grow and flourish, rising from Graphic Designer to Director and proud shareholder in the business. 

As well as my personal growth within the business, the transient nature of agency life has meant that I’ve been blessed to have worked with many exceptional designers, producers, account managers, and colleagues throughout the 25 years. This, combined with the opportunity to work with and for some truly brilliant clients and brands—including Silverstone, Twickenham, Club Wembley, GLP, Sacla, Fred Olsen, and Parexel, to name but a few—has kept the creative juices flowing. The satisfaction of seeing our talented team delight and inspire clients never ceases to put a smile on my face and keep the passion for my role burning brightly.

The evolution of the agency, its people, and its values over 25 years also plays a huge part in keeping things fresh and engaging. New opportunities, new people, new thoughts and beliefs, new client challenges, and new and constantly evolving technology mean we are never standing still. The highly competitive nature of the industry we operate in means there is never a dull day; we always need to be on our A game, even in those difficult times. In fact, the irony is that it’s the difficult moments on projects where both individuals and teams learn the most. If it’s easy, then you have to question whether you’re really nailing a client brief and putting in the extra effort to sprinkle that all-important magic that helps set you apart from the many ravenous competitor agencies that are waiting in the wings to swoon a client should you drop your guard and let your standards slip.

One of the most pleasing aspects I have seen big improvement in since I first started is the investment in our people’s welfare. Naturally we can continue to improve and evolve, but we have made huge strides forwards in terms of trying to find a much better work-life balance for our teams in what is a very high-pressured service-led industry where the clients and their deadlines are key. We recognise the importance of having happy, healthy, and motivated individuals at the top of their game and this can’t happen if we’re working them to the bone and not giving them any time to enjoy the fruits of their labour and spend quality time with their friends, family, and colleagues.

It’s equally pleasing to see that clients also recognise the importance of respecting a supplier’s welfare. We want to be an extended part of our clients’ teams and, for us to be able to do our very best work, we need the time and support to do this working in collaboration with a client’s own challenges and demands.

The role of technology has been the biggest and most visible shift in transforming our industry recently and this, I believe, is only set to increase massively. Personally, I find AI and all the benefits it can bring to our profession exciting and, if used correctly and morally, can be a huge benefit to both agencies and the end results we provide for our clients. The access to essential data, R&D, the speed, and the mega visual library at an agency’s fingertips combined with the expertise of a talented team of creatives can only bring positive benefits for all. It’s the equivalent of turbocharging a creative team’s experience and talent, which is incredibly powerful. As an agency we shouldn’t fear AI but embrace what it can do to improve the output and efficiencies of our industry.

So, to summarise: Is staying with one company right for you? I think it’s a very personal choice and there is no right or wrong answer. If you work for a great company that treats you well, has fun, produces great work for great clients, and provides a positive career path for you, then why move? The grass is often not always greener. But if any of these elements are missing or not putting a smile on your face then, yes, it’s time to move on—and this can also be a positive for your development.

What works for one doesn’t work for all, but don’t feel the pressure to move on just because you feel your CV demands it. Agencies now, especially with the advent of AI, are looking for integrity, loyalty, and positivity, combined with initiative and drive.

Being happy and motivated to create your very best work is the key, and this should be a core value to align with your personal ambitions. Whether this is with one business or several, the choice is yours. But whatever you do, enjoy the journey!

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