Claire Hynes: Are marketing careers becoming more Squiggly?
“The world of work sometimes seems divided between those who like to stick, and those whose career is more, well, “Squiggly”. I’m firmly of the former category. I’ve worked with the same group of people through various incarnations of agency life for what seems like a lifetime. The businesses are different, but there’s a continuity that goes back almost 15 years and there are advantages to that. For me. But this isn’t the reality for everyone. And for whatever reason, a far more squiggly approach to careers and progress is the new normal, with people staying in their roles for a much shorter period of time.
As an agency leader, I’ve had to get used to this. In the early days of Mr President, every time someone left, I would be bloody furious and take it as a personal affront. But now, we factor personal evolution into our planning and see it as a positive. Once you drop the pretence that everyone is going to stay forever, you can have much more honest conversations with people about their aspirations and help them on their journey, even if that ultimately takes them outside of the organisation. That honesty allows us to get the very best from people when they’re with us.
Rather than forgetting about leavers, we now actively celebrate the achievements of our Mr President alumni. Some have become clients, some are collaborators. We’ve turned a source of angst into a source of joy. The concept of Squiggly Careers helps us all not just to expect but to welcome change, and to stop seeking guarantees about the future.” – Claire Hynes