Seniors who took a “lower” title for moving to a bigger, more competitive agencies (like Droga or W+K), was it worth it? Why?

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A good story I like to think of sometimes is Rob Reilly’s career. He was the CCO of Hill Holliday, and took a demotion to Senior Writer to go to CPB to work for Alex. Obviously he went on the be the ECD there later, and is currently the global CCO of McCann. He’s talked about it on a couple podcasts, it’s a great listen.

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Happy to help!

Hell yes it was worth it. More high-level, higher quality thinking and got to work with, and learn from those great minds. Ultimately helped me up my game. I caveat this with the fact that I was in a financial position where I could make the move at the time. Your circumstances may be different.

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Hi. I am in this scenario now as a freelancer so it's a bit different. For the first time in years I am working for a CD team I respect. They make my ideas better. How revolutionary! Downsides: They put me with an AD with half my experience, but ten times as arrogant/questionable work ethic. It's painful dealing with him. Also my hourly is $30 less. I am telling myself to stay until I build a nice relationship with the CDs/get the call from a gig at my level. Guess what I am saying is, in one way or another you may have to eat D in order to gain other benefits.

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I feel like the people who chase titles beyond their abilities get found out in the end. Only you can judge what experience will make you into a stronger creative. My personal experience has been to seek the kind of jobs that will grow me as a creative, then watch as that investment pays off.

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I’m referring to OP who is debating on taking a lower title at a stronger agency (which my post tentatively supports). Some people need to find a more challenging role to grow that way. Others want to grow as a creative so that can be a stronger leader later. Still others don’t want to lead at all. I think you might be referring to another comment, but my reply is based on the inference that OP values titles and is worried that dropping one might be a career setback. Personally, I would argue that your personal growth goals should be considered above the trappings that our industry “values” (ie. Titles) and then from there you can make sure that your workplace is rewarding you accordingly.

Yes. I grew as a creative, made better work, and worked under a variety of leadership styles that helped me realize what kind of boss I want to be. Money can’t buy that. It’s not a race.

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Titles have become inflated across the industry. WK is an exception. A CD acts as an ECD. A CW/AD pair can range from very junior to senior to ACD to CD level. But their title is still CW/AD. Not worth chasing titles in my opinion. Just go to places that do good work.

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Gerard Caputo left his CCO role at BBH to join WK as a CD early this year. You should seek him out for a chat.

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You just have to make the best use of the downgrade, make some really good work and if you leave, jump back up to higher titles again. If you go there and flopped, well that’s that risk.

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Title doesn’t matter nearly as much as money and opportunities to do good work.

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