Here you are. You’ve made it. That college degree is still crisp and clean in its cellophane sleeve. You haven’t even had the time to lose it in the storage space under your stairs yet, and now you’re already on to the next big thing: starting your new job at an advertising agency. You’re prepared, right? Maybe you are, and well, maybe you’re not. I’m here to give you a little insight into my expectations vs. the realities of starting agency life, and hopefully help you on your path to becoming acquainted with the art of advertising.
First expectation: “Life at the bottom of the corporate ladder”
When you picture an advertising agency, what comes to mind? Maybe you’re familiar with the series Mad Men, and you’re picturing a tall, intimidating corporate building in Manhattan, and maybe you’ve never actually seen one because it’s been hiding in plain sight. This was the case for me. Ideawörks is set snuggly on Pensacola’s historic Palafox Street, nestled amongst other various businesses operating out of renovated houses. Our “office,” built in 1911, couldn’t have been a better fit for me. I’ve never pictured myself working at a cubicle in a massive corporate building, but unfortunately, that was the likely environment that I would have been in. Instead, I get to be here!
Our 100+ year old house is overflowing with history and personality. It provides a comfortable environment for not only us and our clients, but also for the foster kitties living in the backyard who have conveniently claimed the home as their own too. It inspires creativity, collaboration, and a sense of togetherness that gets passed onto our clients, our kittens and to each other; a reality that wouldn’t have been possible when starting at the bottom of a corporate ladder.
Second expectation: “I took my last test in college”
There are all kinds of tests: physical, mental, emotional – but what I’m talking about is a good old fashioned, crack the book and take some notes, TEST. Similar to the kinds you stayed up all night studying for with a handful of chip crumbs on your shirt, and an empty coffee cup by your laptop. Ok, so maybe not quite that intense, but a test nonetheless. Upon beginning my employment at Ideawörks, I’ve become certified in Email Marketing, Google Search Ads, Google Display Ads and Google Analytics – all with lovely exams attached to them. Ideawörks hasn’t just welcomed me into the team and treated me with the same respect and comradery as every else, but they have whole-heartedly invested in my success as a young professional, pushing me to better myself at every corner to make sure I can effectively serve our clients. Knowledge isn’t stagnant here, and they are always finding excuses to learn something new. This environment and the people I work with are ever-evolving to continue to produce unique, thoughtful, and at times, quirky, products and ideas for our clients. To have the support and backing of an employer that truly wants to see you grow and develop in the industry is hard reality to come by, and I couldn’t have asked for a more generous opportunity to better myself and those around me.
Third expectation: “An experience for the inexperienced”
So, you have the support of your employer, but the reality is you’re still at the bottom of the totem pole. Have you met the printer yet? You two will be great friends. What’s the coffee order for everyone in the office? Can you get it to their desk before it cools? All great questions to ask…but I don’t have the answers for you.
When starting fresh at a company, you can typically expect that fun game of “let’s make the inexperienced guy do all the work we don’t want to do.” From my first day at Ideawörks, though, I’ve been included from top to bottom. Caron, Freddie and Harissa have involved me every step of the way with agency and client projects and have provided careful support to explain every little detail in between. There’s really no better way to learn. Sure, there are dishes to be washed and trash to be taken to the road, but these tasks are a team effort. Everything here revolves around that “team” mindset.
It’s truly refreshing to see that I wasn’t hired to take on the tedious, irritating tasks. I’m a genuine part of the team – and I’m excited to give the next member that joins our team the same warm welcome and support that I’ve received because I know first-hand how big of a difference it can make.
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