20 weeks of words, wins and wobbles.
Last year, while in a hell-bent state of figuring out my ‘next move’, I stumbled on a job that read: “Do you love words, care about commas and strive for simplicity?”. After nodding a big fat yes and ignoring the fact that I’d have to trade my cushy Wellington life for the big smoke, I went ahead and sold myself – over txt. That progressed to a blind date, meeting-the-entourage and ultimately a call to say “you’ve got the gig”.
Fast forward to today and I’m neck deep in agency life.
It’s everything I thought it would be. And nothing like it.
From tackling briefs that could double as maths equations, to dodging timesheets, to being mentored by brutally honest and scarily brilliant minds; the past six months can only be summed up as a series of fortunate and unfortunate events – a lot of which I owe to my naturally gifted procrastination, perfectionism and pretending-I’ve-got-my-shit-together attitude.
So what have I learnt? What’s ticked me off? And what am I still figuring out?
IT’S NOT WRITTEN TILL IT’S LIVE.
Turns out, words aren’t written till they’re alive and kicking with the customer. What a writer perceives to be sheer genius can be tweaked and rearranged until it’s almost entirely something else. There’s copy feedback, designers needing you to chop stuff out and other seemingly endless surprises. Some of which make you question your existence and why on earth you ever thought you could do this job. “Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it”. Right.
Starting out, I was a stranger to this so called ‘process’. And while it can prove tough to navigate, I’ve come to terms with the fact that every twist and turn is simply an ingredient in making the final creative product better.
Lesson>> trust the process, let your words off their leash.
CONFIDENCE IS KING.
I consider myself to be a humble sort. Quiet achiever if you will. But so it goes in the world of advertising, ego is a necessary skill. And no, not the self-loathing intolerable kind, but the sort of ego that speaks with confidence.
Coming from someone who’s not too keen on blowing their own trumpet, I’ve struggled to come to terms with the idea that a bit of bolshiness is something you need to play the part. But as it turns out, a bit of confidence and patting yourself on the back isn’t a crime. It’s something I’m still working on.
Lesson>> if I don’t believe in it, no one else will.
FUN IS A SERIOUS BUSINESS.
Fun is part of the lifeblood in agency land – and also in my job description. This was apparent from day one, while reciting “make it easy, make it excellent, make it fun” – these being lyrics to what seemed like an agency anthem (something that’s repeated every Monday, in an almost cult-like fashion).
The day-to-day workings are what I’d assumed they’d be – briefings, head scratching and comma shifting. But in between this, there’s also the all-important party planning, prank-plotting and tea-making. Lots of tea-making.
At first, these things seemed counter-intuitive. Even distracting. But six months on and one pair of serious headphones later, it’s safe to say that these random, in-between the madness moments are just what’s needed to keep things ticking.
Lesson>> it’s okay to neglect that blank copy doc…for a bit.
AND THE VERDICT?
Between the good, bad and somewhat mad, agency life is fairly sweet. Bit by bit the words are getting better. Slowly I’m seeing more wins. And as for the wobbles…well at 20 weeks in, I feel like I’m wobbling less. But then something unexpected shows up and I’m back to the drawing board, scrambling and gasping for creative air – apparently that’s how it works. So stay tuned and here’s to another 20.