JOEY VERMIJS (41) Creative Director and Partner at &A, Rotterdam
Our Connection: During my meeting with Valerie (Tea Cup 4), she suggested I contact Joey for possible job opportunities. Joey worked a few floors down from where we were drinking tea and has his own Strategic Design Agency. When I got home after having spoken with Valerie, I researched Joey’s agency and realised how great the match was. The agency has a human-centric approach and focusses on working with clients that strive to make a difference with their companies and organisations. Besides, the work that I pin on Pinterest resembled the work they produce. When Joey enthusiastically replied to my e-mail, suggesting a date for a meeting, I was thrilled.
How did you get your first job out of university? Actually, I carried on with the company I had already started during my Graphic Design studies. The degree didn’t challenge me enough and I started out small, creating posters for local events and so forth. I am someone that sees opportunities and loves creating something from nothing. These days, you need a couple of intelligent kids, a few computers, a company website, then you’ve got yourself an agency. My father had his own Graphic Design Agency as well, so it was in my DNA. Being my own boss provides me with maximal freedom to experiment, I don’t see it as an ego thing.
“As I’ve gotten older, what I strive for has changed. I don’t have international ambitions and I am less preoccupied with how others see me.
I have gone from focussing on the perceived expectations of the outside world, to what goes on inside me and how I can manifest my desired contributions. I want to make a significant change to my own environment. The congruency of personal values and professional outcomes is essential.”
Who has been your best teacher the last few years? There have been many different great teachers in my life, from romantic partners, to business partners, coaches and friends. I have two business partners within &A, and I see these people more than my own partner and family. We have a great relationship and working with them specifically allowed for a good foundation during tough times. Relationships are everything, both personally and professionally.
The Next Phase
As you’re graduating from university, you may grasp for security. But at the end of the day, it is important to remember that security is an illusion. I know people who had fantastic jobs at big corporates, but even after 20 years of employment, they got made redundant during the recession. Every seven years or so, there have been cycles wherein life has drastically changed for me. Recently, I lived like a student again, sleeping in an attic, when my partner and I broke up.
Those moments in your life, wherein things get shaken up, and they’ll happen often enough, provide time to reflect on which things are important to take into a new phase. Remember that you never have to start with a blank slate, you have years of experience and a network of people around you!
What piece of practical advice can you give young people starting their careers?
Series: 30 Cups of Tea – The Job Hunt Project
I want to see if I can get a bill paying, degree related (B. Media, Information and Communication) job in the Rotterdam area, The Netherlands within the following 30 days. Just in time, before I’m no longer officially a student and the government cuts financial ties. I will drink tea with 30 different Marketing/Communications professionals to bring me one step closer to a paid contract. Each professional will bring me in contact with someone outside of my own network. Let the challenge begin!