The creative industry faces staffing challenges and high turnover – but the reasons are often more bizarre than you’d realize.

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Many of us have dreamed of working in media since we decided to use crayons for drawing rather than eating. That was certainly the case for me: I wanted to be a journalist since I can remember, and I spent many an hour from the age of ten creating newspapers using Letraset transfer letters, and no end of patience. 
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My debut issue, which was subsequently shown to the school assembly (complete with utterly embarrassing Samantha Fox Dates Local Schoolboy headline), didn’t dampen my enthusiasm one jot.
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Fast-forward a few years, and I remember nervously taking the entrance exam for my longed-for and heavily oversubscribed journalist degree, and almost bolting from the room when I saw the competition. 
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Not only was I the only bloke without a ponytail, but I was the only one that didn’t take the paper with my feet perched on the table while smoking a roll-up. Everyone was hip, could name-drop with ease, and seemed destined to reside in the lofty towers of a glamorous media industry.
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So it comes as no surprise, really, when reality hits home. People think media – in all its guises – is a non-stop riot of parties, dar-lings, air kisses, baggy cargo pants, and workplaces with ball pools and pinball machines. This attitude probably explains the latest findings from The Creative Group, which asked the top 1,000 media agencies why people quit. The following are all real reasons why media personnel walk.
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Headlining the list were gems such as one employee didn’t like to use a computer and felt the job simply wasn’t glamorous enough. Really? You mean deadlines, the need to understand pixels, and boring client meetings are the reality of today’s world?
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Of course, environment makes a difference. One employee quit because he didn’t like the smell of the studio, and another walked because the studio lighting “wasn’t right”. And as for the bizarre excuse one departing designer made – that he was making too much money and didn’t feel he was worth it – that’s just nuts.
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Some employees you do actually want to be rid of, such as this collection: one person was bored, and left; another felt he was over-employed; while a third quit because she didn’t want to work so hard, and besides, the location wasn’t terribly exciting. The staffer who left to join the Witness Protection Program in the US probably shouldn’t have made it through the door in the first place.
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One such Marie Celeste moment happened to me. A flighty designer had just started working on a sister magazine in a previous company, when she popped out for lunch after her first morning, and never came back. A second woman left abruptly, texting us a few days later saying that life was too short, and she was off to travel the world. Maybe it was my Sam Fox jokes?
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All this simply shows that working in the creative industry is much like any other business. Crappy Monday mornings, rubbish jokes from fellow workers, pale skin from the fluorescent lighting, and gritty eyes from staring at your monitor. Still, it beats being a lawyer, dar-ling.
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