Over two decades ago a geeky, white rapper by the name of Vanilla Ice said in an interview that he was from ‘the street’. With him being a minority within that part of the entertainment world, most in the hip-hop community were unconvinced and naturally, responded with laughter. They of course asked “What street?” Some suggested Sesame Street!
Most of us have our own identity and live our lives by it. Whether you are an East London DH a Sloaney Pony or just a good ol’ fashioned goth – we all tend to hang out in the same places and with the same people for long periods of our lives.
Some of my friends never leave Shoreditch. They work, play and sleep there. They also live inside their skinny, worn out black jeans that they stole from their girlfriend and only drink square mile coffee. Some of my other friends however believe that the centre of the universe lies somewhere between Chelsea and Green Park. They only eat in restaurants on Berkley Street, shop on New Bond Street and wear blazers and brogues (even when they are staying in for the evening in front of the TV). Whilst it seems hilariously stereotypical, to them, it is what feels most natural. So to go out of their comfort zone is simply… well…. uncomfortable.
As a recruiter, I meet nearly half a dozen people a day. I have to get to know them well enough to identify where they will work best and which one of my clients will get the best out of them. For example, are they Wieden & Kennedy or JWT? Topshop or Burberry?
More often than not I can guess what part of London they live in just by talking to them and on occasion by looking at them. When I get it wrong, they have a lot of the time either just moved from or are moving to the area I predicted. I am by no means Derren Brown but because of the high quantity of human traffic that bursts through the Impact doors, it is easy to see the conditioning effect that London has on all of us.
The question is – if you were a street, which street would you be? Would you be Old Street or Portobello Road, Charlotte or Old Compton? Perhaps you are Tooley Street or maybe the Euston Road! Whichever street (or road) best describes you, chances are it says something about the type of media agency you should be working for.
So, the moral of the blog is this – be who you are, not what you are not, especially when it comes to your career, or you might just find yourself wandering the streets, lost.