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A Tell-All: The Worst Career Advice These Industry Insiders Have Ever Received

Forget what you heard; here’s what they have to say to young creatives instead

 

 

When I first signed on with the magazine I used to work for, I was out to impress. Running on a high-adrenaline concoction of first job jitters and a constant desire to outdo myself, I took on task after task with signature fresh grad fervor. In the thick of the fast pace and photo-finish outputs, I remember when a senior member of the team commented on how busy I’d become by the time I closed my first issue and how I responded with an all-too-eager “I love work! I love being busy.” Even clearer in my memory: when my editor turned to me and whispered words I’d carry with me for the entire trajectory of my career.

 

“Don’t let them know that. People will take advantage of you.”

 

The creative industry is romanticism central. Some remain under the assumption that artist should take on jobs because we enjoy what we do, even if compensation is dismal (the next time I hear the words “exposure” or “shout-out” I might just throw a fit). That artists ought to swallow their pride and burn off their fingerprints in exchange for a wider clientele. That there isn’t any hope for an industry like this one to thrive in a country like ours.

 

If there’s anything I’ve learned in the half-decade I’ve been in the volatile space that is the creative workforce, it’s this: none of that has to be true. Another piece of advice, thrown my way by an editor in passing but carved into the walls of my mind like a constant philosophical reminder, was that playing my cards right would get me places and get the country places eventually.

 

Unfortunately, not all career advice is quite as good. I’ve heard my fair share of unsolicited words of wisdom but hey, that’s enough from me. Instead, hear the worst career advice photographer Renzo Navarro, content editor Francesca Testa and jack-of-all-artistic-trades Jann Pascua have received (and debunked).

 

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Renzo Navarro, Photographer

 

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A post shared by Renzo Navarro (@_renzonavarro) on

Wonder: Introduce yourself. What do you do, and how long have you been in your field of work?

Renzo: Renzo Navarro, photographer. I first held a DSLR in 2010 but I started working as a photographer in 2016.

 

W: What’s the worst career advice you’ve received? In hindsight, what makes you say it was bad advice?

Renzo: I was once told to alter my style to make it look more international and less… local. I get where the advice was coming from, I just didn’t like the thought of having to change something I worked hard to achieve.

 

W: Instead, what advice would you give to young creatives in the same industry?

Renzo: Right now it’s easy to be influenced by other people’s work, so the challenge is to develop and grow into your own.

 

Francesca Testa, Content Editor

 

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A post shared by 𝙛𝙧𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙚𝙨𝙘𝙖. (@franheaven) on

Wonder: Introduce yourself. What do you do, and how long have you been in your field of work?

Francesca: My name’s Francesca and I’m a content editor. I’ve been a writer-slash-editor by title for around two years now but I’ve been a content creator for three.

 

W: What’s the worst career advice you’ve received? In hindsight, what makes you say it was bad advice?

Francesca: I think it was when someone told me, “You have to do what clients want you to do.” It was basically telling me to disregard my creative freedom and let clients take full control even if it means harming their brand. There are a lot of times when clients are seemingly unaware of the thin line between controversial and problematic. Not everything controversial is problematic but when it crosses the line, it can harm the brand and ultimately harm your firm, company, or your name.

 

W: Instead, what advice would you give to young creatives in the same industry?

Francesca: Speak up. I know it’s a bit hard especially in the creative industry with all the incessant and unnecessary background noise and client demands we all have to deal with. To compromise is not a bad thing. It’s honestly the best you could do if ever they demand for something so ridiculous. Let your boss or clients know if what they want can be harmful to their brand or image. And always remember, you’re not only as good as your last work. It’s always great to aspire to be better at what you do but remember that to have this kind of mindset as a driver for you to improve will only put unnecessary pressure onto yourself. There are better and healthier ways to push yourself.

 

Jann Pascua, Art Director

 

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Wonder: What do you do, and how long have you been in your field of work?

Jann: I’ve been an art director for a fashion magazine for 5 years, and I’m also a freelance graphic designer, illustrator and stylist.

 

W: What’s the worst career advice you’ve received? In hindsight, what makes you say it was bad advice?

Jann: I’m not sure if this is considered advice, but I was told before to “Lower your rate to get a project.” While it is inevitable in our industry, it does affect how our skills are valued in the long run. The lower you price the work you render, the more clients eventually standardize that rate to the services you and your peers will provide. Consequently, if someone else would give a price quotation that’s a little higher than what’s already been “standardized,” clients would be more inclined to look for other creatives who can do the same work for a cheaper price. The longer this practice continues, the more and more you depreciate the value of our industry.

 

W: Instead, what advice would you give to young creatives in the same industry?

Jann: Know the value and worth of your work. It is unfortunate that up to now, we still don’t have a board or department that regulates the rates and payment terms for the freelancing or creative professionals, especially since it’s been a growing industry in our country. When you’re asked to lower your rate for a project, always consider how much you are still willing to render quality work that will keep you inspired to finish it. Don’t sell yourself short. Creativity is not just a skill you just learn—it’s an innate talent that makes you special and unique. Value it.

 

RELATED: Does Doing What You Love Mean Never Working a Day in Your Life?

 

 

Art Alexandra Lara

About The Author

Part-time rowdy ruff girl, full-time fangirl wonder

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