Sep 2, 2010

Sometimes advertising comes to bite you in the ass: The Reality Check Moment.

I've been on this business quite a while and it still amazes me how much damage it does to people on a daily basis. I've seen marriages crumble, friendships fucked over, people get sick as hell, kids missing their parents... I currently know some people who have no life, their relationships are almost up to the breaking point and the thing is, they haven't noticed that the train is coming, full force.

Well, one of my dearest friends got a reality check and has decided to move out of the way. In "Lemonade" fashion (the documentary about leaving advertising and changing careers), she has finally seen the light. She doesn't really want to do this anymore. Hallelujah. One more has joined my camp.

Let's backtrack a bit. A couple of weeks ago I went to lunch with my best friend of all time, my almost sister. We sat down, ordered the mandatory white wine and started yapping away about life. And around the time when we started talking about how different we thought about marriage - me not so interested in getting hitched and her all excited about her new husband - she got serious. Very serious.

She was concerned that she was working way too much. For the first time in all her life, this worker bee who absolutely loves the thrill of advertising and all its "glory", suddenly is seeing the light. She doesn't have quality of life. She's working all day until 8-9 pm. She hardly sees her husband, only at nights and she's usually very tired. She's worried that if this type of work is ongoing, she's only headed back to divorce.

Well, she's right. But not only because she got married and she wants to be a good wife. She is right also because NORMAL HUMAN BEINGS DESERVE TIME TO ENJOY LIFE.

Look. Advertising is great, we do crazy shit. We meet cool people. We sometimes get to do something creative and get people to kiss our behinds, telling us how amazing our brains are. Yeah. That lasts for maybe 5 years or so. Then it hits you. You are just doing this ad campaign. That is all. That ad campaign that you worked so damn hard for months or maybe a year will maybe last less than whan you worked on it. Sad, but true.

The thing is, there are two types of people. There are ones - like me and RestrictionsApply - who know for sure they don't want to do it anymore. Not because they want to do something else just for the fun of it. Nope, we just outgrew the hype of the job. It has become mechanical.

Get brief. Do creative. Show campaign. Get revisions. Publish. Repeat.

When it dawns on you that your life is very close to a shampoo instruction, it's time to let it go and move forward. This is what my friend is noticing. That all this time is being wasted on a cycle that never ends.

Either you can choose to do this when you are fifty... or you can just walk away and do something else. Explore a new future.

Ah. But I'm prepared to do this and only this. WRONG. If you have a decent brain, you can do anything you want. If you are responsible, organized and a decent human being, you can learn any new trade, you can work anywhere NOT related to advertising. If you really want to, you can.

So yeah. My friend is now exploring a change of careers. How wonderful, another ad person, recovered. And while I still do work in advertising, I've left the "big agency" game. That means that I do have a life, I do have time for my family, my boyfriend and friends.

And when my baby comes - soon, I hope - I will have time for him. Or her.

Now the question is... when will YOU get reality check?

Food for thought. Enjoy.

Love, Me.


Andrea V. Lewis said...

I can totally relate to this post. I've made the switch from BIG agency (media planning/buying) to the publisher's side. It's definitely a strange new world. I'm still adjusting.

Besides being a darn good blogger, you're gonna be a great mommy too!

Me said...

Aww thank you! :-)

Joker said...

Thing is i'm getting a second reality check from outside the Ad biz.... Seems lack of time for the things we enjoy is a lot more universal than I thought. :D

@ Andrea... how long have you been publisher side and if you could single out ten things that are super different what would they be?

Oh and you're write on both accounts regarding Me. She's kickass to the seventh level.

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