"You need a new job every three years."
I don't know where I first heard that advice. But it's true. Careers are like sharks. You swim or you sink. You need a new client, a new promotion, a new responsibility, a new agency, a new something every three years. Or you're drowning and you don't even know it.
I joined Karsh Hagan five years ago. The agency offered me the chance to do something I've never done before. Take on new challenges and responsibilities without job hopping. And my time here has been all hopscotch and kisses.
These years have been a whirlwind. Often exhilarating. Frequently exhausting. Sometimes tragic. And they've taught me something that everyone needs to know.
Character is not revealed through victory. Or at an office party. Or over coffee.
You learn what people are made of when you're climbing into a production van together at 4:00 a.m. on three hours of sleep because you have to chase the sunrise.
And when you're sweating at the agency at midnight pulling a deck together for a presentation that's happening in nine hours. Tick tock.
And when you realize that if you don't win a pitch, a friend is going to lose his job. So you find a way to make it happen.
You learn what people are made of when you're all standing in the same room staring up at the ceiling or out the window, trying figure out how you can bear to go on after someone you all loved dies.
Celebration is nice. And important. But it doesn't teach you much. I've learned to welcome the foxhole. To be inspired by it. To let it bring out my best. To trust my team. To find ways to win.
And you should learn that too.
[Also posted on the Karsh Hagan blog and the Egotist.]