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Parents, the OG CDs


Do you like to make things up for a living but you’re too undisciplined to pursue a legal career?

Then a job in creativity might be for you.

You’ll have more than your share of moments of self-doubt, perfectionism and mental restlessness, intercut with moments—big and small—of camaraderie, accomplishment and, every so often, legit excitement.

Yes, choosing creative as a career can be confounding. Especially for your parents, who—if they’ve never worked in a creative capacity—will proceed to spend roughly a quarter of their lives trying to explain to their friends what you do every day. (“Our son writes for computers!”)

But even if they’re sometimes confused by what you do, parents are probably the people who’ve prepared you the most for life in this line of work.

So, when you find yourself thinking about taking the LSAT again one night despite the fact that you’re minimum four seasons behind on Judge Judy, maybe instead think about that stuff your parents always said—and how it applies to what you’re doing now.

“Use your imagination.” Listen, you’re the one who said you wanted to make stuff up for a living. And if you’re going to do that, then it’s your job to not just give people what they want, but also show them what they should want.

“Eat your vegetables.” Sorry, it’s not all sweet stuff. Not for you, not for anyone. Everybody eats shi…er…vegetables from time to time, so don’t just get up for the big stuff. See a project through every time, no matter the assignment. Otherwise, no ice cream, buster.

“Don’t dilly-dally.” C’mon, guys. Time to grow up. Let’s quit procrastinating and just do what needs to be done like professionals. *Turns this post in a month after it was originally due*

“Keep an eye on your brother/sister.” Be a good teammate and take care of the people who take care of you. You all need each other—and the truth is, you probably need them more than they need you—so don’t be a jerk. Also, they’ll probably tell on you.

“Wear clean underwear.” Not a metaphor. Just a general life reminder.

“Look under your bed.” You never know what might come in handy from those dusty corners of your brain, so be willing to step away from your screen when it makes sense and go digging around. You might uncover some forgotten gems or lost ideas. You might discover something completely new. Or, you might reopen incredibly painful memories of a life you thought you’d left behind, reminding you yet again that none of us can ever truly escape our pasts. Oh, the possibilities!

“Just try one bite.” Try something unfamiliar. Expose yourself to different ways of thinking. Stay open to stuff you may have dismissed, ignored or even just missed. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable sometimes. And I’m not just saying that to justify how frequently I make other people uncomfortable.

“Do your homework.” Coming to a brainstorm or meeting unprepared is a clear sign that you DGAF and therefore should probably GTFO. (The only acceptable excuse would be if you were instead up late Googling acronyms that allow you to casually work profanity into an article on your employer’s website.)

“Sit up straight.” Your body language says more than you realize, and right now it’s telling me that you’re really enjoying reading this, so thanks. Looking tired is fine. Stressed is understandable, even relatable. Just don’t look uninterested. That doesn’t look good on anyone.

“If so-and-so jumped off a bridge…” I can jump off my own bridge, thank you very much! You don’t have to just go along to get along. Having a point of view and speaking up to express it respectfully isn’t being difficult, it’s good for the team and the work.

“Treat others as you want to be treated.” It’s funny (and not in a $10,000-winning America’s Funniest Home Video kinda way) how often people forget this. But the truth is, your reputation among your peers and in This Business will outlast any project you finish or campaign you run.

“Bring a sweater.” What? It gets chilly in those office buildings.



Tony Riazzi, Associate Partner, Creative Director

Since joining VSA in 2014, Tony’s collaborative style and leadership abilities have made him essential to many important clients including Google, CME Group, Cargill, Alibaba, ABInBev, Thomson Reuters and Nike, as well as multiple new-business pursuits. Whatever client Tony works on, he brings adaptability and experience that range from brand strategy to campaign development and creative activation—bringing to life VSA’s integrated approach to problem solving. Tony’s ideas and influence are energizing and galvanizing to teams and help produce thoughtful, effective and business-driving work for our clients. Get in touch with Tony,