Er, isn’t the function of seniority, still time?

Just doing the usual cruising of Linkedin and encountered a young creative I met a few years ago, who’s now a ‘senior art director’.

So my first reaction is one of sadness. ‘Poor man. He has Progeria, or how else could he have so rapidly become Senior?’
But actually, turns out he’s quite healthy. He just works in advertising.

How is it that somebody who only started their career 5 years ago, is a senior?
Yes, he seemed to have spark back then and was a nice bloke. But the title of being a ‘senior’, ask any senior citizen, is one that is achieved ONLY with time and the experience that time brings.

Do we turn a novice into a senior in 5 years in our industry now?
I’ll come back to this question, as it isn’t as rhetorical as we might hope.

At this point I’d like to also make clear that I don’t mean to single out this one person.

This is a trend I’m noticing.
Nobody accepts being junior, and if you’re not a director, you’re given ‘senior’.
Almost like a negotiation middle ground.
“Well, call me a senior art director.”
“But my friend, that would take experience and time surely?
You have no grey hair. Or colourful stories.”

I’ll happily welcome a wunderkind Creative Director, but won’t downgrade the value of seniority and experience.
Is this a symptom of how quickly we’re churning our industry talent?
Progeria of a different sort. With a much higher mortality rate.

Well, I’ll take a position on it.
I don’t care who you are, what you know, who your dad is, or what you invented.
Seniority, is a function of time and experience.
You don’t get that bus ticket concession for any other reason.

Unless we’re playing a semantic game, where you’re simply senior to an infant.
And that’d be a shame for the quality control of our business.

Back when I was a junior, I looked up to my seniors because they had the one thing that I, even with my talent and energy didn’t. Experience.

I still look up to seniority, regardless of rank, protocol, or pay grade.
Experience, is architecturally vital to what we’re building now.
And in this instant gratification world, it’s the one thing that no app can simulate.

We should respect that.
I know I do.


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