JACK AND THE BEANSTALK

How did I get here? I went out to get some beans to count (part-time finance and accounting role). But like Jack and the Beanstalk I came back with something more gigantic than that. The best job in the world (no reference to that famous campaign a few years back) in an advertising agency. Let me explain… but first, a little background of my working life ‘til now.

I was a nurse for 20 years. Haematology & Oncology. I loved it. Outside of my family, it’s the thing I’m most proud of in my life. The older I get, the more I look back and think ‘How lucky was I?’ People say to me all the time, “that would have been so hard and so sad – all the death and loss”. Absolutely NOT! I feel privileged that people allowed me into their lives at their most vulnerable moments. I thank them graciously. Some survived, and sadly, some didn’t. But looking after people when they are either coming into this world, or leaving it, is incredibly special and I will never forget it. It keeps me centred on the days when advertising lives’ up to the Mad Men reputation and things hit fans.

Following my days as Florence Nightingale, my lovely husband and I had three babies, all in the space of five years. At the same time, my husband travelled a lot for work and our families were in Sydney and the UK. Between nappies and napping, I needed something else to do; something that fitted into family life; an easy, part-time job of some kind.

I scored a job in a friend’s business where I could take my babies to work. Perfect. That’s where I learnt to count beans; to ask, “does my bottom line look big in this budget?”; accounts and finance to be specific. Thanks to platforms like Xero and MYOB, I was able to teach myself, on the job. And while flying by the seat of my pants, I picked up other bits of business from friends that can’t count. Organically life just sort of happened and I grew myself a little business from home.

Fast forward: 2018… My babies were all grown up! I wanted to see what was going on outside in the big bad world again. And so, for the first time in many, many years, I applied for a job in the big smoke (yikes!)…

"Boutique advertising agency seeks gun with numbers, in the Valley. Knows where the bodies are hidden but won’t tell a soul."

I rang the recruiter and short story even shorter, I started 3 days’ later on a Thursday, working for nextThursday. Two years to the day – next Thursday – I’ll be able to say “I’m still with them (nextThursday, that is!)” Still counting beans, but now I generally manage this motley crew of maestros, misfits, and mighty fine folk. And I love it.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing. Everyone works damn hard around here. The first 18 months were challenging; work was light on and we were doing it tough. And as I’ve found out, the ad game can be very stressful. But as one colleague taught me recently when trying to offer perspective when the pressure was on, “it’s only advertising. We’re not saving lives!” It reminded me where I’ve come from. ‘You’re not wrong’, I thought to myself.

So here I am. I’ve gone from CFO three days per week, to CFO meets GM 5 days per week. The combination of management in nursing and business bookkeeping made this role perfect for me. I had absolutely zero creative advertising experience, but to me that was a bonus. I see things from outside the box. And nextThursday prides itself on having unreasonable ideas – perfect. It was an unreasonable idea to employ me in the first place.

Now, we’ve moved on to a new chapter. We have had to make some very difficult decisions restructuring. And we wouldn’t be where we are now without our previous colleagues, who contributed along the way. Thank you to all of you.

A quote from one of our clients, Lachlan Furnell, CEO of The Queensland Cricketers’ Club, comes to mind regarding our move:

"With every step there is a degree of optimism and doubt! Both are healthy for any organisation. One pushes forward, the other keeps you in check. Good luck, nextThursday, you deserve this.”

Thank you, Lachlan. I’ve read that a few times over and it’s given me confidence in our decision.

So now, we are settled into Level 7 at The Riverside Centre (pictured below). Not only is our new office amazing, but our team feel re-energised and the work we’re creating is reflecting this. The office contributes to great communication and collaboration, and the vibe is awesome. We are meeting other businesses and people in the building. The wework team couldn’t be more helpful and fun to be around. And another big bonus? The office is 10 times smaller but 10 times better, and we are reducing our costs by a third – Bean Counters, unite!

Thank you to all past, present & future. Here’s to nextThursday! Come see us for a coffee or a proper drink, we’d love to see you. (And the complimentary tap-beer flows at wework, every day from 3pm).

nextThursday, (Wework) Level 7, 123 Eagle Street

WENDY WALKLATE

GM/CFO, nextThursday