Junior to Creative Director of Continuous in seven years
Creative Director, Richard Pay reflects on his career journey at Continuous
The first thing I want to say is that job titles have never been important to me.
I’’ve never felt like a Junior, or a Midweight, or a Creative Director. And that’s nothing to do with imposter syndrome. Quite the opposite. I just feel like a creative through and through – heart and mind.
With that said, I’m hoping that a glimpse at my journey can help you on yours.
I started as a Junior Designer. I loved it. I lived it. I worked with ambitious and talented people. And I learned a lot. But, it was a fairly small agency and I wanted to work with more people.
So, I reached out. I (naively) asked wildly successful people to collaborate with me on a personal project. They had no reason to say yes. But, out of the 36 I reached out to, 32 of them did.It was a whole new world of perspectives, creativity and ideas.
I was hungry for more and ready to become a Midweight.In the back of my mind, I always remembered Continuous (previously known as Uniform).
They’d done a lecture at the University of Chester where I studied. I reached out… thinking that I had no chance. And then, they offered me a job.
My immediate thoughts were: “No way, they’re too good for me, I could never reach their standards of work.” Then I found out that it was a Junior position: "Hmmmm..."I questioned whether I should take a step down. But ultimately, it was an easy choice.
I had an opportunity to work somewhere I admired. So, I handed in my notice, moved cities and started as a Junior. I was immediately surrounded by ridiculously talented people. From every walk of life. With every skill set I could dream of – strategy, 3D, illustration, animation, film, words and creative technologists.
I soaked up every second. It was like Christmas morning.
“Where do I start!? What can they teach me? How can we do a personal project together? How can I use this talent in all of my projects?"
I’ve got a lot of belief in my own creativity but this was my wake up call. It made me realise that my skills alone are limiting, but what I can do with the right people around me is outrageous.
I took every client and every project as my next opportunity to do the best work yet. So, I got to Midweight quickly. I then jumped (unexpectedly) into a Creative Lead role. It was a new position for the company. I didn’t really know what it meant. But, I knew I’d figure it out.
I worked as closely with Account Managers and Client Directors as I did with Creatives. I was really getting to know our clients, their problems, their priorities. I cared about them. I wanted to help them achieve their dreams. I was sponging up every moment.
I realised that my main driver was to help other people achieve their ambitions through amazing creative – my teammates, my clients and their brands. My best friend and colleague described me as ‘an optimistic contrarian’ and I think it’s those contrasting traits that help me get people where they want to be.It all feels a bit of a blur after that.
But, now I’m a Creative Director. I work hard to cultivate my experience with my team and set the standards of creativity. But, it’s really important that I understand their diverse perspectives – because, at the end of the day I’m one person. Don’t get me wrong. It’s been challenging. I’ve designed a football that Pep Guardiola, himself, slagged off.
I’ve wildly over delivered for clients at the cost of the company. I’ve burned out. I’ve flopped on stage in front of 100 business owners.
But, I’ve also created brands for Oscar-winning companies. I’ve rebranded global phenomenons. I’ve made music videos.
I’ve directed shoots with a huge cast and crew. I’ve found ideas that help clients shine. I designed the FA Cup football. I’ve built an incredible creative team. I’ve introduced new ways of working.
And, I’ve had fun doing it. And it’s because of this that I will always feel lucky to be in the industry that I’m in.
So, what’s next for me? F*ck knows. But I take comfort in knowing that, right now, I’m the sh*ttest I will ever be. And keeping that mentality from Junior to Creative Director has helped me disconnect from titles, pressure and expectations.
I just stay focused on learning and improving with every opportunity.And for anyone out there wanting some advice. It’s pretty simple.
Don’t worry about your job title. Worry about what you want to achieve. Then work hard to achieve it. That’s so much more rewarding than any job title.
Click here to learn more about working at Continuous.
When uncertainty and shifting expectations are the new normal, brands no longer need radical transformation. What’s needed is long-term thinking and the ability to adapt quickly.
Start with an email, and we’ll be in touch within 24 hours to organise a phone call, video chat, or face-to-face coffee – whatever works best for you.