I did an all-day-live-blog at ScampBlog last week.

In case you missed it, here’s the link:


One of the most contentious exchanges was about students.

I said students were a waste of space, and I had no time for them.

Naturally this didn’t go down too well.

Someone called ‘Borat’ in particular thought I was just forming my low opinion of students on the low quality of students I’d seen.

Au contraire.

I have a low opinion of people who think of themselves as students.

The problem with students is that they haven’t yet made the change in their head to being professionals.

Consequently they behave pretty much the way they did at college.

They want to do one ad then celebrate: get drunk and party until next week’s brief comes in.

That’s what they learned at college.

Do one ad, get patted on the back, then sleep and party until next week’s ad is due.

Students get their first job and straight away they relax.

Once they’ve got a job they think they can put their feet up, they’re safe for 3 years just like college.

Then after a short while of doing that the agency wonders why they’re paying them, so they get fired.

And, because they didn’t get any work out, they now get a job at a not-so-good agency.

And they behave the same as before.

After several jobs dodging work and partying, it occurs to them that they’ve now been out of college 3 or 4 years, and none of the work they’ve done is anything they’re proud of.

In fact they’ve still got the book of roughs they left college with, plus one or two embarrassing press ads that actually ran.

Now they panic.

Now they can see their life stretching out ahead of them as bleak and dull, while other people do great ads at good agencies.

Now they are desperate.

Now they try to put a new book together made up of all the good ideas that they’ll never get out of the agency they’re at.

Now they realise what all that laziness and fun has cost them.

Now is the time to hire them.

Now they aren’t students anymore.

Now they are art directors and writers desperate to do good work.

Now they are begging for a chance.

Now they want to work for themselves, not the agency.

Now they are greedy for work.

This is their last chance.

If you give them a job now you are throwing them a lifeline.

They are in a hurry to make up for all the time they wasted.

Every brief you give them is like a present.

These people have now discovered the reason why they should work.

They’ve also discovered the energy that it takes to do good ads, and the fun it is doing them.

They will easily bury anyone for energy and enthusiasm.

They will work evenings and weekends because they are doing it for themselves, not the agency.

They will do their own work, then take anyone else’s work and do that too.

They lift the whole energy level of the entire agency.

People like this are a pleasure to have around, they remind everyone of how great our job is and why we do it.

And that’s why I don’t hire students.