Don't get a job in advertising

Advertising is hard. 

Being a creative is hard.

I know I said I love it, but there are times.... *moment of silence*

If you decided you wanted to be a creative because it’s going to be fun and easy, here’s a quick reality check. It’s not.

Your job is to think, create and engage.

But sometimes, you just don't get it. You get the brief, you get the direction, you get the assignment - but that big idea, that perfect line, that epic layout - nope. It's just not coming.

Sometimes you come up with something great. But guess what, your coworker, the client's competition, some dude in Asia or someone from 1982 already did that shit. Better.

Other times you come up with 43 ideas and your CD says “That's a good start. Keep going.”

As a creative, when you have a block, it's a giant, brick wall block. With steel lining. And bricks made of smaller bricks made of jawbreakers.

It's not easy coming up with something that is creative, strategic, smart, concise, legal and campaignable. It's not easy doing something your partner, CD, account team, planners, client, consumer will like.

There are so many ways to lose along the way.

Say your partner loves your idea and helps build it into something great. Your CD can say no. Or say she loves it, then the account team still has a chance to ruin it. Or the client wants to take out the three best parts of it and make the logo bigger. Or it goes to testing and those precious focus group folks just don't get it and pick someone else's idea. Or it does get produced and one of those ad blogs you previously giggled over with your morning coffee says whoever did this is an idiot. Or worse, consumers write the client and say the hate it, take it off the air. Now.


And this happens almost every project. You throw up your idea in the air and wait for a line of people with rifles to try to shoot it down. It's a game to them. To you, it’s your blood, sweat and tears. But in this business, you have to suck it up and keep it moving – your next assignment is starting tomorrow. Get to work.

This isn't the Advertising you see on TV. This isn't what people talk about on panels or at networking events.

No one will say "Oh, I resized 103 banners today." Or "The client cut the budget on my Will Arnett campaign so instead we're using a talking horse." Or "I had to redo the stuff I stayed late doing last night because the brief changed." Or "I wrote a great script and they gave it to someone else to produce."

No, we talk about summer Fridays, shoots, socials and successes. That one time I worked with Celebrity X or we solved this problem and the client threw flowers at us.

Yeah. That's because we numb ourselves with cotton candy and cocktails.

This shit is hard.

There is no 9 - 5 or M-F in Advertising.

There is no funeral ceremony for dead ideas. Or slings for hurt feelings.

There is no “We understand it’s Thanksgiving/ Christmas/ your birthday/ Sunday…”

I've forfeited many a concert, worked through a vacation, wrote copy at dinner.

These are the sacrifices you're going to have to make. Get that in your head now.

Advertising can be fun.

However, it's also a lot of hard work. It can get intense. The hours can be ridiculous, the egos can be atrocious, the client can be unreasonable and the projects can be overwhelming.

Especially starting out. You've got to put in work to establish yourself. So that means working a little harder, a little longer and a little more than everyone else. That means being stressed out, overextended, overwhelmed and overworked.

As an intern or a junior, you need to work your butt off. Every day, every project. Be the first one in, last one there. Do four versions if they ask for two. Meet every deadline, (link to earlier post on meeting deadlines) even if you have to take work home. Don’t be late, lazy or self-entitled (no one owes you anything). Do not be an asshole.

Pretend that this is the Marines and your first year or two is boot camp.

Remember, there are two other guys in your agency wanting to outshine you and three guys on the street wanting to take your place.

Get a piggy bank now and start putting in a quarter for every time you say or think "They don't pay me enough for this @*$#."

This is how it is. This is Advertising. It's not for the weak-willed, lazy, needy or faint of heart.

I've seen things man... *moment of silence*

Advertising will consume you. Whether it's because you can't come up with an idea good enough or because you're working a million hours a week on a big project.  In the beginning, you'll make very little and work too much. You'll be constantly disappointed. You'll think you're an idiot. You'll push yourself to your mental and physical limits. And then some.

If you don't like it, go home. Find a job in retail or in a bank or a law firm or a school. I genuinely wish you the best. This business isn't for everybody. Find whatever makes you happy 75-90% of the time and go do that. Save your money and time and don't get a job in Advertising. 

It's not worth it if you don't love it.

With that said, Happy Friday.
 Enjoy your weekends while you can.