Many years back I interviewed a very posh guy.

He’d been to Sandhurst.

That’s the equivalent of a university for the army: it produces trained officers.

This guy’s name was Nick.

He became a captain in the Guards and in charge of twelve tanks.

So we called him Captain Nick.

He was a very nice bloke.

Nick eventually got fed up with being in the army.

He decided he’d rather be a lawyer.

So he went to Cambridge to do a degree in law.

Nick tried being a lawyer for a bit, but decided he didn’t like it.

What he really wanted to do was work in advertising.

He wanted to be a copywriter but he didn’t have a portfolio.

I said he should do a year at Watford.

But he said he’d had enough of college and just wanted to start work.

He asked me to let him prove he had potential by working for me for free for a month, so it was his risk not mine.

I couldn’t see that it would ever work out, but I felt sorry for Captain Nick.

So I let him come in for a month.

It didn’t work out of course.

Nick was choosing jobs by lifestyle, not by the actual work involved.

From school, the army looked great.

Guns and tanks and fighting and medals.

Being an officer in the Guards would be superb.

Smart uniform, look great at Buckingham Palace, impress the girls.

But the reality wasn’t quite like that.

Long hours of boredom and the tanks always breaking down with no money to fix them because of budget cuts.

Never more than half the tanks serviceable at any time.

What looked better than that was the legal profession.

So he spent three years getting a degree at Cambridge.

The law looked exciting.

Taking on difficult cases, discovering new facts, persuading the jury in court.

But the reality wasn’t quite like that.

Long hours of boring paperwork, the cases were always dull, mainly arguing over trivia in stuffy offices.

What looked much more exciting was advertising.

Modern, bright offices.

Dash off a few witty lines, give them to some chap to draw up, go on lots of glamorous film shoots.

Lots of pretty girls, lots of money, lots of wining and dining.

But the reality wasn’t quite like that.

Days and days spent sitting a desk waiting for an idea to happen.

And it wasn’t even about writing, it was about thinking.

I knew Nick wasn’t right for advertising because he didn’t want to put a portfolio together, so he didn’t enjoy doing the actual work.

(And in the creative dept. our portfolio is everything.)

Captain Nick went through life picking jobs by lifestyle, before he’d discovered what the actual job entailed.

Consequently every job looked better than the one he’d got.

Because the job we’ve got is the reality we live every day.

But the job we see from afar is just the good bits.

Except when we get there, it isn’t fantasy anymore.

Now it’s reality and the reality doesn’t look so good as the fantasy.

Now another fantasy looks better.