Hogshead’s Career On Roam

I swing by Sally Hogshead’s blog on occasion. She doesn’t post much, but when she does she lets it fly.

Since May, I’ve been letting my career rove to and fro. Consciously, I chose to make no plans or goals, do no outreach or inquiry, and instead, simply respond to the clients and opportunities that presented themselves.
This experiment led me to people and places and possibilities that I’d normally never encounter. I became a brand manager for a celebrity, outlined a new book concept, developed two reality TV shows, and created a new kind of speaking program that’s marketing + entertainment. And that was just October.
While I don’t often recommend being a spectator to your own career, at certain points you have to consciously choose to roam. Your career is robust. Don’t overprotect it, or shelter it, or underestimate it. Don’t let it get too precious.
A career, like most things in life, can’t be simultaneously developed and preserved.

Radical Careering is, of couse, a self-help book. Its very purpose is to get you to stretch. While it’s heartening to see the author of the philosophy live her message, it’s also hard to believe that it might work in one’s own life. For instance, doing no outreach and just letting what comes come, would most likely result in disaster (at least economically) for me and just about everyone I know. Yet, being open to possibility is certainly great advise.
Bottom line, to be a successful radical careerist, one must be fearless and one must believe. It works for Sally Hogshead, and without question she believes it can work for you.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Carl LaFong says:

    “Doing no outreach and just letting what comes come would most likely result in disaster (at least economically) for me and just about everyone I know.”
    Aye, there’s the rub.
    Someone with Ms. Hogshead’s impressive rep and high profile has the luxury of having people seek out her services. Not so for the rest of us.
    As well intentioned as self-help books like hers are, most of them seem to assume that what works for the author will work for you. Unfortunately, life is too messy and complicated to be reduced to simplistic formulas, snappy platitudes and sassy one-liners.
    If I recall Ms. Hogshead’s bio correctly, she started out working at some of the finest agencies in the country.
    I’d love to see a book by someone who has actually spent time working at mediocre (or worse) shops and yet managed to find (or fight) their way out.
    Now that would be one self-help book worth reading.

  2. You’re so right. I’d tear through that one.

  3. “I’d love to see a book by someone who has actually spent time working at mediocre (or worse) shops and yet managed to find (or fight) their way out.”
    Me too, Carl. My columns on TalentZoo were inspired by experience from the first half of that sentence–not the latter half, unfortunately.

  4. right, like adweek is going to publish that book.
    but actually, i’m guessing a number of folks have self-published books like that.
    hadji williams comes close with knock the hustle.
    can’t think of others right now, but they’re definitely out there.

  5. Who needs to publish a book anymore? Write about it- on your blog/site. Even people working in mediocre jobs- mediocre markets- can be found- and can have something worth reading.
    How do I know? Well, in Dec 2004 we averaged 500 unique visitors to our site. In Jan 2005 we added a blog to it. With a little bit of decent writing- and a lot of learning on how Google and the web work- and now averaging 7000 unique visitors a month- some good things have happened.
    How good?
    Well, I was interviewed by Inc. Magazine for their “Smart Questions” column- on “How to pick an ad agency” because we’re on the first page of google for that term- and our answers were more interesting than the others.
    And, we’re now doing work for Sally Hogshead.
    I’ve never won a Cannes Lion- or a One Show pencil- or worked on a client with an annual budget of more than $150,000 – never mind producing spots that cost more than that- and I’m working with Sally. Go figure.
    Yeah, you might think the book a bit polly-annish- however, it’s not your bosses fault for staying in a shit job- it’s yours. Read the part about “portable equity.”
    And- as always, Radical Truth #15 “aspire to be the dumbest person in the room”- and you will succeed.