Ask The Doctor with Sandeep Goyal

Are you a young professional looking for some expert advice? exchange4media will find you first-hand solutions from Sandeep Goyal, Vice Chairman of The Mogae Group. Please write to us at

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Oct 3, 2017 8:01 AM

Dear Sir,
Thank you for giving advice to young professionals.
I am a designer. I trained at NID and joined a big ad agency two years ago in Mumbai. But I did not like the work and quit after 6 months. Then I joined a small design house started by NID alumni. Again, I did not like the work and quit after 6 months. This pattern has got repeated 4 times now. I am feeling very frustrated and cannot focus on either work or personal life because of all the uncertainty. My friends provide different advice, most of which is not practical. I don’t want to become a freelancer. It is very difficult to find good work and clients don’t pay. I also think it will be very lonely.
Please help me on how to find a stable job and how to handle the boredom that I feel after a few months in the assignment. I want to focus and settle down but the work is very monotonous and has no challenge which puts me off.
Pooja Sehgal

Dear Pooja,
Being an NID trained designer, puts you in the top most bracket of professionals in the business. Best-in-class. Your NID badge and your narrative, however, also tells me that you are a typical example of your tribe: incredibly bright, but also equally restless. I think brilliance and boredom reside together as bedfellows.
Your first requirement is to sit down just by yourself, take a piece of paper, get yourself a pen, and spend a couple of hours just writing down 1. What makes me happy? 2. What makes me unhappy? It looks like an easy exercise but believe you me, it is a tough exercise. If you do not make enough headway in the first attempt, do it again and again till you yourself are satisfied that you have answered the two questions above honestly and rigorously. This is the first step to self discovery and self motivation.
Once you know what makes you happy, it will be easier to seek happiness, and satisfaction, and fulfillment. Similarly once you know what makes you unhappy, it is easier to avoid everything that is dull, boring and uninspiring. This is really a mind game. And you have to play it alone. It is also the best way to visit all assumptions and all suppositions. And tick or cross the boxes. For most of us this simple process of self questioning is a difficult one to start, but once you get into the rhythm, you find the relevant answers.
I have a lot of friends from your alma mater. I have always admired their talent and independence of thought. But NID in many ways creates a culture where every designer learns from the very beginning that no two creative persons are alike. Hence, there is individualism, and there is intellect. Both of them are potent ingredients for a sense of ‘been-there-done-that’. So, there is this constant desire, in fact pursuit, of newer challenges. This is both good and bad. Because in real life, repetition and mundane realities are more the norm than the exception.
Make up your mind on whether you want a pay cheque every month. Or you want a cerebral high every day. Both of them may not co-exist. A salaried job in a normal ad-agency will mean doing some ordinary stuff every day. Day after day. That is the nature of the beast. Freelancing can allow you to pick assignments. Interesting assignments. But the moneys are likely to be irregular. The choice is yours. My recommendation is to try the independent freelance route for a couple of years. You could well end up starting a design house of your own. It does not have to be in advertising alone. One of my NID friends makes to-die-for 60s furniture. Another specialises in paper bags. One I met recently just makes the most exotic Chanderi sarees. Go where your heart takes you.
A stable job, as you put it above, can surely be got but then you will have to tame your restlessness and be satisfied by the normal flow of an agency job: every ad you do cannot win you a Cannes award. Once you make peace with yourself on that, the tedium of daily routine stops bothering you.
Pooja: do what you do without fear. It will allow you to do what you do best. That is the only formula to success. And happiness.

I'm a consultant with a varied set of skills - taking on book research assignments, social media management, PR and marketing consulting work. I'd like to know how I should choose my clients and area of expertise so I build skills in an area that's going to be in demand 10 years from now.
Nikita Rana

Dear Nikita,
You have an interesting range of skills. If I were you, I would spend more time learning social media. Actually, most people do not realize that social media is actually two words … social and media. The social component is about understanding trends and nuances of a lot of active streams like sociology, anthropology, economics, political science and even politics. A deep understanding of what is being said, why it is being said, where are the stimuli coming from, what is being impacted and who is saying what to whom is just not being sufficiently understood or calibrated today. The media component of social media is pure maths. Pure analytics of a mountain of big data that opens up to infinite analysis and mapping. In India very few people actually have the skill set to do justice to both components of social media. Master both the components, hone your skills and learn to apply them to real life situations, and you have a winner of a career for the next 10 years at least.
I am not getting into the tools and tricks of the job. Just pointing your nose in the right direction. But, as I said before, learn both social and media. A holistic understanding of the subject, and mastering it, will make you a respectable consultant client.

Dear Mr. Goyal,
I want to become a big name in world of advertising. Famous like Alyque and Prasoon. My problem is that I am from a not so famous management institute. I have also only worked in not so famous small advertising agencies. I am from a small town in UP. I am now 32. I have done various jobs in client servicing, media operations and even film making. Should I join an advertising course like MICA? Where should I start to re-engineer my career?
Vivek Malhotra

Dear Vivek,
If memory serves me right, Prasoon Joshi is a BSc in Physics, and an MBA from IMT Ghaziabad. But neither his science degree, nor the fact that he is not from an IIM has kept Prasoon from soaring to dizzy heights either in professional life, or outside it. Today he is Chairman of McCann Erickson, the global ad agency, and the Chairman of the Censor Board. And he is a famed lyricist and screen-writer.
The learning and inspiration from Prasoon has to be that whatever you do, be the best in class. Prasoon despite his MBA degree, very early in his career moved to becoming a copy writer. He had at the early age of 17 written and published a book Main Aur Woh, a 'conversation with himself', inspired by Frederich Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra. Prasoon therefore leveraged his talent and skill in writing professionally to focus on copy-writing rather than pursue a career in client-servicing just because he was an MBA. So, essential thing is to know, and choose, what you are best at.
As far as becoming famous is concerned, winning accolades at work and outside it, is essential. Both Prasoon and Alyque are highly decorated creative directors with loads and loads of awards both nationally and internationally. But equally importantly, Prasoon and Alyque are famous for what they have achieved outside advertising. Alyque in theater; Prasoon in films and music.
For you my advice is not to go do a course at MICA. Just passing out from a good institute is not enough. You need to choose now what you want to do: servicing or media or films? Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra was a junior client servicing executive in a small ad agency in Delhi. He decided that his true calling was films. He started with ad films. Went onto create Bollywood blockbusters. Dinesh Khanna was a reasonably senior servicing executive 25 years ago. Good but perhaps not the best. He switched to photography. Today he is one of the best in the profession. So, you need to 1. Choose well 2. Work hard 3. Excel and achieve.
All the best!

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