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Secrets of success: how to get ahead in a creative career (part 1)

Matilda Duffecy

Catching snippets of the conversations happening around the office, I was struck not only by the warmth and willingness of Frameworkers to share wisdom, but also by the reality that so much of so-called career advice exists outside business conventions and could just as easily be filed under “life advice”. 

We’ve all taken different routes to the design and consultancy world. Here are some pearls of wisdom from Frameworkers, all of them relevant to life beyond the hours of business

Make your own luck
In whatever endeavour, it’s super important to surround oneself with curious, intelligent and remarkable people. To do that, you need luck. And, to an extent, you make your own luck. So take risks, stay disciplined and be kind (when you can). But also always find time to decompress with quality dog videos.
Sakiko Suga, Associate Strategist 

Build skills outside your specialism
Being good at writing is absolutely essential in my role – you wouldn’t get a foot in the door otherwise – but it ends up being a surprisingly small part of the job. Being able to come up with and build on other people’s ideas, present your work, form relationships and influence people are important skills that keep you going in any creative job.
Louise Sheeran, Content Director 

Seduce your reader
Write with a belief that your reader can be aroused to give a fuck about anything if you craft your writing with enthusiasm. Write about your subject as though you are trying to seduce the reader. If you’re struggling to imagine what that feels like, imagine you’re in a loud, crowded cocktail bar on Friday night, explaining to your friend why you care about this obscure topic. When you get it right, they are lifted out of the noise and into a clear world you have thoughtfully, powerfully and convincingly placed into their mind. 
Don Hoyt Gorman, Content Strategist 

Remember that you can’t control everything
Early in my career I had the chance to take a secondment in Oslo. On my last day, one of my bosses said: "You are like us, after all. You keep the sun inside." That comment made an enduring impression on me. In Norway, the winters are long and sunless. And the truth is, you cannot control the winter, the darkness or the tilt of the planet, but what you can control is how you receive these things – and the many challenges that come your way. How they affect you is within your gift to yourself. This independence of mind gives you the ability to choose your attitude in any situation. Because it isn't possible to control what we expect from life. It's what life expects of us and how we rise that defines us.
Sheri Brissenden, Partner, Client Services and HR

Value people and culture as much as salary
Don’t get caught up on salary when looking for your first job out of university. Make sure you value the people and culture of the place you choose to work at. There’s so much more to a job than the job description. The people you work with on a day-to-day basis can make a not-so-great job far better. And if you want to bring the most to every job, make time for hobbies and relaxing so you have a life outside of office hours. It’s important to work to live and not live to work. 
Ian Dykes, Digital Designer 

Don’t lose your craft
As a designer, having a hero that really inspires you is a must. It gives you a foundation. Designers should also be able to use and think with their hands. Whilst this digital world allows us to experience and bring things to life in exciting ways, you should always have a notebook and pencil handy where you can write and make quick drawings. Don’t lose your craft: the digital world masks that initial connection between head and hand. When you look back through your notes, those drawings and initial sparks can fuel great ideas. And, when you do find a great idea – whether it be yours or one created in collaboration with someone else – delight and revel in it. Grasp it with relish. 
Terry Brissenden, CEO 

Be open to learning
When starting out in any role, remind yourself that you shouldn't know everything. It's easy to fall into the trap of comparison, but remind yourself that everyone started somewhere. Give yourself enough grace to learn without pressure. Along the journey, remember that you were chosen for the role because of your unique talents. Take nods from others but find your distinctive style and own it. And... a little kindness goes a long way. 
Dana Globish, Account Director 

Don’t forget the value of experience
You can’t underplay the value of experience. Vocational experience really helped me in my career and meant I gained a lot of commercial experience quickly as opposed to spending more than three years studying. And... your personality and behaviour matters just as much as what’s on your CV.
Scott Harrison, Senior Developer 

Know you’re not alone
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You only need one friend to help you progress your career or give you a break. Also, in the long term, emotional intelligence, passion and honesty win out every time. Technical skill will only take you so far – the rest get you to the top.
Clive Stevens, Chairman

Be patient
I think it’s very easy to get caught up in the moment, as it’s human nature to react when something upsets us. I have always worn my heart on my sleeve and am very passionate about things but, if I have learnt anything, it’s that taking a step back and a deep breath allows you to reassess things and come at them with a fresh perspective. 
Dale Smith, Operations Director 

Treat others as you would wish to be treated
Whatever you do in your career, success and happiness will come from building strong relationships with people. Therefore, always be kind, be thoughtful, be helpful and treat people as you would wish to be treated. This will be paid back tenfold in the loyalty and support you will receive from others. It’s important to look to the future and be aspirational, but remember the future doesn’t happen unless you focus and work hard on the “today”. If you do that then the future will take care of itself.
James Trowman, Partner and General Manager

That’s just the start; there’s too much good advice to fit in one blog post. Stay tuned for part two of “secrets of success” from Frameworkers.