When I was Associate Creative Director at Detroit's largest ad agency, one of our best writers quit and left this sign on his office door: "I've gone to Chicago to become rich and famous".
His name was Tom and I had lunch with him recently in Chicago. I must report he's neither rich nor famous. He's having a good time freelancing, and is known among a small circle of creative directors as being a large talent and good to work with, but not rich and famous.
Do we all have to go to a bigger city to achieve our dreams in marketing? I think not. Nike got huge in Beaverton, Oregon. Fallon became a worldwide creative power in Minneapolis. GDS&M became formidable in Austin, Texas. The North Face is in Berkeley, California. Gatorade is from Indianapolis.
It's not how big the city is. It's how big your ideas are.
Everyone's got to start somewhere, and the advertising and marketing jobs are more plentiful in New York and Chicago. That's where the biggies are, for the most part.
When Willie Sutton, a famous bank robber, was asked why he robs banks, he said that's where the money is. He said he goes where the money is, and he goes there often. That's a marketing plan that could work well for you.
I always was trying to angle a way to get transferred here, to San Francisco. My bosses always said no, everyone wants to go to San Francisco, and we need you here. Many years ago, when Hal Riney left McCann here to work for Ogilvy, my friend Jerry Andelin got me an interview and I was chosen to be the new C.D. For family reasons, I turned it down, and it took until I had my own agency to find a way back.
You can be a star anywhere --- Milwaukee, Baltimore, Kansas City, or New Orleans. One ad agency, CPB, made Miami an ad center overnight. Hill Holiday did the same for Boston. All you need is the talent.
Just understand that when it comes time to move on you may have to leave town to get a good job. If you're very good, they'll come and find you.
That's when you know you've found a career.