Between opportunities

If you are a creative person, you will get fired, or at least laid off. It is not a matter of if, it's when. Trust me.

If you are a creative person, you will get fired, or at least laid off. It is not a matter of if, it’s when. Trust me.

As someone who went 16 years without getting fired, I didn’t think it would ever happen to me. And even though I asked to be fired and welcomed my new-found freedom like a giddy schoolgirl, being unemployed still turned out to be a horrible, mind-numbingly exhaustive experience.

So out of the sheer goodness of my heart and because no editor was willing to pay me, I wanted to provide a few free helpful hints for when the inevitable yet painfully unexpected happens.

1. As obvious as this sounds, the first thing you should do is buy a MacBook and create your own email address. Borrowing your daughter’s laptop only makes for a lot of awkward conversations. Using your wife’s email moniker will result in your emails being ruthlessly devoured by agency spaminators.

2. Listen to Heidi Ehlers and showcase your portfolio online. For you old geezers like me it will mean creating electronic versions of those old, dusty proofs and digitizing your reels. It is an expensive and exhaustive process but worth every penny of the root canal.

3. Get up. Get up in the morning, bathe and get out of the house every single day. Go somewhere and make unemployment your job, albeit not a very well paying job but your job nonetheless.

4. Armed with your MacBook and your baby-fresh website, buy 30 days of wireless from Bell for $35 and start camping out at Starbucks. At $1.98 for a medium coffee, Starbucks can provide a very comfortable workspace at a very reasonable office lease rate. And every one of them is a Bell hotspot so you don’t ever have to go to the same office twice.

5. Start e-bombing. Not the spray and pray, napalm approach. Creative directors hate to see themselves listed with all the other hacks in town. So be precise. Be personal. And be relentless. Your response rate will be about one in 10 if you are lucky. Thank you Angus, Glen, Darren, Simon, Brett, Paul, Rob, Chris, Andy, Gary, Ian, Duncan and Jack for replying, by the way.

6. Resist taking that first offer thrown at you. Employers can smell fear. Take stock and really think about what you want to do next in your career. Hey, it’s not like you’ve got anything else to do, right?

7. Take mental health days. Unemployment is exhausting and if you don’t take breaks, you’ll end up in a manic obsessive coma. Go golfing. Buy yourself a nice lunch. Do whatever normal, employed people do every once and a while.

8. Accept, nay, embrace the changing business landscape. You’re a creative thinker, not a chimney sweep. You have to adapt and apply your very valuable skill set to new ways of thinking and marketing each and every day.

9. Laugh. Laugh at your predicament. Laugh when your kids ask what you do all day. Laugh at whoever fired you in the first place. Laugh at the sitcom your life has become. Laughter is the antidote to unemployment insanity.

10. Finally, believe. My old partner and good friend Hiltsy once comforted me by saying that good things happen to good people with talent. So never give up. And believe that you’ll be okay. Because trust me, you will.

Craig Redmond joined Concerto Marketing Group of Vancouver last April. Concerto is a local independent offering marketing research, strategic development and brand communications. Craig says he found his happy place.