EasyJet's digital head names six career lessons on his way up the ladder

When I was asked to get involved in this column, I was horrified to realise that perhaps I wasn't part of "that generation" any more.

As our most recent easyJet advertising highlighted, #timeflies.

Our campaign celebrated 20 years of revolutionising air travel and used a Ferris wheel to represent the passing of time. For me, the past seven years have been less "Ferris wheel" and more "rollercoaster", with twists and turns and plenty of fun. 

I have been fortunate to work with the best brand and agency teams in the industry and, at easyJet, head up our talented digital, ecommerce and brand partnerships team. It’s a diverse digital playground and one I feel privileged to play in, with such an ambitious team making things easier for our 70 million passengers across Europe.

Some pieces of the jigsaw I have picked up along the way include:

Push for breadth. I’ve got a huge amount from working with three incredible brands in very different sectors – Audi, Domino’s Pizza and easyJet. Easy and obvious career moves aren’t always the best ones. Take some risks, look for interesting challenges and be prepared to do things that others wouldn’t expect.

Be passionate. Marketing and commercial teams provide the energy, pace and cultural heart of companies. We are the lifeblood. You have to believe in your brand and live the values. If you’re not loving it, either change it or get out.

Be authentic. At the start of your career, it’s easy to just emulate the behaviours you think are expected of you. But there is a moment to step up, get confident and realise there are many different approaches to deliver the same outcomes. The most important thing is to be true to yourself and do things your way.

Remove boundaries. "Marketing" has changed. Digital has disrupted. End-to-end customer experience and constant proposition development are more important than ever. Next-generation marketers need to work cross-functionally to drive real change. Get out there and join up the organisational dots. 

Surround yourself with talent. I’ve been fortunate to work with inspiring people who give me an infectious buzz and demonstrate that more is possible. Gravitate towards the energy – you’ll learn more, develop faster and have more fun.

Delivery, delivery, delivery. It’s sometimes easy to slip into a pattern of doing things because they have always been done that way – we’ve all been there. I try hard to ask the question: "What have I done to make it different and better for customers?" Cut through the things that don’t matter so you focus all your energy on where it does.

The most important piece of advice I’ve had is that you drive your career. Work out where you’re heading, how you can create new opportunities and move forward.

James Millett is head of digital at easyJet; Millett featured in the 2009 Nxt Gen, Marketing’s annual list of rising stars

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