December 15th, 2020 By Spencer Rubin
Note: This is the first installment in a series of articles, authored by one of our campers
In search of a guide to navigate a vast digital world
I am a digital nomad. Like many 21st century independent workers, my partners are located across the globe. We are experts at harnessing the power of technology at our fingertips, to feel infinitely connected behind our screens, yet there is so much content that it is easy to feel lost. Maintaining full-time, freelance employment in today’s digital world often feels like crossing a bustling metropolis at rush hour.
But I’m using what I learned in my engineering classes. Much like you can break down the physical world to make sense of it, I am realizing that the digital landscape, as daunting as it is, can be broken down and traversed.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, while working in the corporate world, I discovered the power of the digital workforce. My direct teammates were three time zones away, and while remote, my hardworking peers and I, in the centralized hub, continued to prove that distance was no match for the strength of modern tools. Our productivity soared.
One of the biggest lessons I learned is that “you don’t know what you don’t know.” After leaving my corporate gig to set out on my own, I realized that I didn’t know anything about anything. I was stalled.
The light of passion burns
One day, while sitting in my studio scrolling through Instagram, I came across a post featuring the Camp Jack campfire logo — a metaphor for the light of passion burning inside each of us. A metaphor that I’d learn is laced throughout a six-week program offered by global brand experience agency, Jack Morton.
I had seen some agencies run virtual masterclasses as replacements for their internship programs, but this seemed different. Camp Jack was for anyone who wanted to tune in. Jack Morton employees were going to take two hours out of their week, each week, to host forums for eager ad agent and content writer hopefuls? I read the fine print: Camp Jack would culminate in a pitch for professional mentorship.
I felt the embers glowing within me. This was exactly the opportunity that I hadn’t realized I needed. It was a chance to see how companies are adapting to our increasingly digital society; a chance to learn the thinking behind powerful brands and ideas; and how that thinking can be used in conjunction with my engineering mindset. It was also a chance to receive guidance through the vast digital world I was facing.
Camp Jack encourages growth and connection
We had homework before Week 1. Our assignment was to think of a campaign that inspires us, including why it challenges our perceptions. This line of thinking extended with assignments that continued throughout the program, encouraging us to build upon previous thoughts.
During the first session, 300 of us logged on to learn about insights, unlocking the boundless possibilities that stem from every idea. Through the subsequent weeks, we dug into the intricacies of art and copy, design, prototyping and iterating, presenting and pitching. And we got to do it over Zoom, face-to-face, with fellow campers and Jack staff from across the globe. The most active of us are already forming online communities and discussing how we can help each other grow, how the lessons we’ve learned at Camp Jack have impacted the way we are approaching our projects, clients, and our professional selves.
Throughout the open sessions, we added new tools to our kits, which we’ve used to build out ideas and present ourselves as good candidates for future mentorship or employment. Camp Jack taught us how to make memorable and impactful creative and branding, it challenged traditional techniques, and embraced the shifting digital landscape in front of us.
Most importantly, Camp Jack taught me that we need radical forces of good in today’s world – much like the established Jack Morton staff – pushing this generation forward, guiding us through the unknown, so that we can rise above the noise with messages of unity and thoughtfulness.
And it’s not over just yet. I’ll be participating in the second phase of the Camp Jack program, where I’ve been matched with a Jack Morton employee as my mentor. I can’t wait!
Learn more about Camp Jack and how agencies can truly attract the next generation of creatives.
Spencer Rubin is the founder of Harp ‘n’ Quill, a digital ad agency and creative collective. His mission is to bring work and workers together, empowering partners to build brands and passion projects. Spencer graduated in 2018 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia, where he focused on product design and sustainability. He then spent time working odd jobs, traveling, and eventually landing a gig in corporate America. He soon moved on to start a freelance writing career, which he maintains in addition to building Harp ‘n’ Quill. When he isn’t working, Spencer is driving an old car, or exploring new places on foot.