what moves account men?

If a creative wants to change agencies it works thusly: they look across town at who’s producing the best creative work of the moment and wish they worked there. Then they look at their book and  work out if their current misery could be ended by popping across to said hotshop. Then they realise they’re miles away from being able to do that, so they start to consider the next ones down; the Stokes and Villas of the industry. Maybe they’re a little better, maybe they were good a couple of years back and might scale the heights again, maybe they’ve just got a new CD in and it’s looking like a shot in the arm (not of morphine).

Anyway, what it comes down to is the work and whether what you could do somewhere else is better than what you can do where you are. This is because the work is all. Considerations such as the spread of their international network or their position in the Sunday Time Nice Places To Work survey are of minor interest because (unless you want to work in Singapore or free breakfast is really fucking important to you) work is what gets you all the things you want out of your job that I’m sure I don’t have to list.

The problem with this is that by definition there can only be so many good agencies, so there can only be so many good jobs available, so there must be quite a lot of disappointment.

But as far as I understand it, this difficulty does not apply so much for account guys (and people in all other non-creative departments for that matter). I’m not exactly sure what the criteria are for their career moves, but I’d imagine that ‘hottest creative agency in town’ isn’t always number one on their list.

So what is it? Biggest agency? Biggest network? FMCG brand to pad out the portfolio? Working for the current grande fromage in their discipline?

And on what basis are they hired? If they don’t use a portfolio is it all word of mouth? Do they say ‘I was the account guy on Gorilla/John Lewis/Nike’? And if not, is it still admirable to be the account guy on a successful abortion like Cillit Bang?

But loads of them must move. How does it happen, and why?