Tuesday, June 05, 2007

"So Is It Just Like The Movies?"

A few people have asked me whether working at an ad agency is the way it's depicted in movies -- insane, cut-throat, back-stabby, and ruthless. I've even been asked whether "the devil really wears Prada"!

So here's my impression (on my second day on the job): It is most definitely insane and anyone over 35 is at a definite disadvantage, simply by virtue of their increased years and decreased coolness/energy/tolerance/insanity (choose one)! The pace is like nothing I've ever experienced in my 25+ year career -- and about as different from a typical nonprofit pace as you can get. Everything, absolutely everything, is based around the next big meeting with "the client" -- which is actually happening as I write this, thus a few minutes of down time. As The Meeting approaches, the frenzy reaches a crescendo, with the worker bees running around like crazy at the "creatives'" direction -- and with the PMs (that's me) trying to orchestrate the chaos, making sure everything gets where it needs to go, and that The Creatives get to The Meeting with The Client in order to give The Presentation. (Picture the typical movie scene: twenty-five people approach The Creative Director as he walks out the door, frantically handing him critical last-minute pieces for the presentation.)

Try doing that 24 hours after walking in the door for the first time!

Fortunately I've found the back-stabbing to be pretty much non-existent (though I've heard stories). Everyone has been amazingly gracious and helpful -- and forgiving, realizing that I've been thrown into this role on my second day on the job. (I was supposed to have been trained for three days, but the woman who was to have trained me had a family emergency last night, so I'm on my own all week.)

There is actually something invigorating about running around with an adrenaline high all day, but I expect that it'll wear off big-time -- hopefully right around the day when this entire project wraps.

In other news, I got a call yesterday informing me that I'm one of two finalists for the nonprofit job (yup, the one I almost didn't apply for). I'll be spending all day at that office on Friday, meeting the leadership team (of which this person will be a member), as well as meeting the other teams that make up the 80 or so employees. Hopefully by the end of the day, we'll all have a better feel regarding whether this is "a fit."

I already miss my days working on the deck in sweats with my kitties by my side. That idea of "hanging my own shingle" is SO persistent! I absolutely can't ignore it -- if I know what's good for me.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been wanting to 'hang my own shingle' for years. One day soon, I hope... Good luck to you.

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