From starting out with the classic paper round through working Mad Men style in London, Chris Tozer found what he loved and has now reached the heady heights of Senior Art Director at Mr B & Friends. For the latest instalment in our Where Next series, Chris talks us through the first five jobs that set him on the path to becoming this year’s Best Friend. *
*Official Mr B & Friends vote June 2017
1. Paper boy
I hated my paper round. In fact, I did a few and I hated them all. Whether it was orders or freebies there was nothing about doing a paper round that I enjoyed. Getting up at the crack of dawn, opening the door to a blast of freezing air and lugging a stack of newspapers around the local area was not my ideal way to kick off the weekend. Add in to that a major hill, squeezing past wet, overhanging plants and dodging scary dogs all while trying to remain upright. Pure hell.
LESSON: Some jobs aren’t worth keeping, especially if they involve early starts, heavy loads and bad pay!
2. Factory worker
By the time I was a 16-year-old college student I wanted a job that was going to help me to save for my future car’s insurance, so I went in hunt of the best job that my corner of Somerset could offer up. Cue doing 10 hours a day on the lines at a ready meal factory- sprinkling cheese on lasagne, breaking up fish for fish pie, arranging tomato slices on top of moussaka and packing the finished meals into crates.
LESSON: I met some people who had been working at the factory for years. And although the pay was good, it was pretty monotonous and depressing and definitely wasn’t where I wanted to end up. Surely the world of work had more to offer?
3. GP support centre administrator
My next job came at a GP support centre where we provided assistance for out-of-hours doctors and nurses in Somerset Primary Care Trusts. At 18 I found myself accountable for retrieving, documenting and disseminating urgent patient details. It was a real eye-opener for me- a chance to get an inside view on the huge network of services that keeps the country going. Although it was more challenging than my previous jobs I was glad I could actually use my brain!
LESSON: Responsibility is scary, but can be very rewarding too. This job taught me how to keep a cool head.
Having finished university I landed my first ‘real job’ at a 450-strong digital agency in London. I was finally a fully-fledged graphic designer- I had made it! This job cemented my aspirations and career in agency life and I learnt so much from so many talented people. I loved the culture, the responsibility, the creativity and the opportunity to make things with people who had many different skills, backgrounds and views on the world. I haven’t left agency-land since!
LESSON: One of the first things that my first art director said to me has stuck with me ever since: “Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions.” It’s a great piece of advice that always makes you look for a better way to do something so now I pass that advice on.
5. Art director
After a spell of travelling, followed by a good few years freelancing back in London I took a job in a pure digital advertising role to test my conceptual skills. I teamed up with a copywriter and created concepts for a range of clients then worked on selling the big idea in. It was exciting but I didn’t feel the same sense of fulfilment that I had when I led team-based projects involving the actual craft of the work.
LESSON: The experience of working in advertising helped me to hone in on the part of my job that I really loved. I discovered that you have to find your passion and what makes you really tick, then surround yourself with people who want to achieve similar things- even if they don’t actually do what you do.
Like this? Have a gander at more of our Where Next series here