Apr 15, 2011

5 ways to work in advertising and be happy.

I just realized that I don't talk about advertising that much with my friends, but we do keep repeating ourselves in one specific theme time and time again: we talk to death about work. Work, work, fucking work. All we talk is work, how we'd love to quit, how we'd do things differently, how work affects our day, how people enjoy less because work is screwing everything up.

Restrictions and I have a thing about calling each other on almost a daily basis just to compare notes about anything related to working overtime, to weird workaholics that we know, about how we'd be doing something else than being at the office... and about how cool we got it that we truly enjoy our lives outside our little cubicles.

Joker and I, on the other hand, are in the middle of an extreme and intense discussion on how work is not that important, on the pros and cons of focusing energy on stuff that truly matters. He believes in career, being the best you can be (man, you KNOW you do) and I believe in the great frosting that is life, that work is not that big a deal. While we both want to do good at what we do (and again, my man - I know you are reading, haha - you rock hard core at what you do), he is truly dedicated to be the best in the work environment, while I believe that's all relative. I am dedicated to the quality of my work... but my interest in it has shifted a little.

All these conversations with these great men have left me wondering about... if I could give young people out there 5 simple tips for you guys to be happy - in ANY job you have, what I would say? If I could go back in time to have a chat with myself... what would I tell that little young chick, starting out and having so much passion?

Here we go. 5 easy tips to a happier career. Enjoy.

1) Don't take ANYTHING personal.
Aside from an insult, and I mean a true insult like "Go Fuck yourself" or "Your mom is a whore", anything else should not be taken personal. Period. Work is sometimes stressful and people are not nice all 365 days. In fact, some people are meant to be at your job so you can not disagree. But you cannot take anything personal, ever. Trust me, I've had my fights, I have screamed and gotten screamed at. Never, EVER did I take it personal. Frustrations, stress, bad manners, this is all natural in your work and in your personal life.

2) Focus on being the best, but don't OBSESS about it.
I stopped focusing all my energy on wanting that "you are an amazing worker" medal. It never came. I thought that by being awesome at my job, my superiors would tell me so or reward me in any way shape or form. You know what? They did, but they didn't voice it out. I was so obsessed about HEARING it, I never realized that I was getting the respect I deserved. Your boss will NEVER tell you to your face how amazing you are. He or she will think it, and that will be the end of it. You know what? When you are the best, not only your boss knows it, your clients, coworkers, suppliers... they know it as well. Instead of wanting that pat on your back, think about how important it will be when people recognize you years down the line for a job well done, think about all the good people that will recommend you for a job. That is the recognition you need. Not a memo, not an award, not a golden watch.

3) Remind yourself that you are a human being.
The thing about humans? We have flaws. We break down. We get sick. We get anxious. We get unfocused. It is natural, it is ok. You need to allow this information to reach your brain and accept it. You cannot work yourself to death. You cannot work yourself to sickness. You need to take a break, you need to give fuck about work once in a while - and then, even more often. Work is not that important. You are. And you know what? If you break down, you cannot work, hence, you cannot enjoy life. So go home, rest, relax. It's just a job. It will be there tomorrow... hopefully.

4) Control your anger/frustration/attitude.
This should be the top advice in this list. Like credit, the way you conduct yourself will be with you until the end of your life. If you don't control your anger, your frustration and act out, then be prepared to get that "difficult to work with" invisible tattoo for the rest of your life. I don't care what argument you tell me, trust me if you scream, act out in rage, have bad moments and cannot control your contempt for people, it will haunt you and your resume for a very long time. Yes, you can have a discussion, and yes, people will use sarcasm or even insults to get you off your feet. But that doesn't mean you got license to destroy your career... or tarnish it. Being in control is the sign of greatness. Besides, you can always lock yourself in the bathroom or in your car and scream your lungs out. Let me sum it up easily: never, ever let them see you sweat.

5) Not all people agree with you and they will make your life a living hell.
Clients will fuck arts up, big time. Account executives will deliver impossible deadlines. Your creative director will want to change your award winning concept into a turd. Let this go. If your client wants to change the concept, by all means hear them out and see how you can do it. If your CD wants that slogan that you hate, just write it and go home. By fighting over what is the greatest concept, by spending hours debating changes or anything related to another vision of your work, you are wasting valuable time. Your life is waiting for you back at home. Your loved ones, your family. Your dogs. Your cat (did I mention cats suck?). Don't you see? Not all people think like you. Witty for you is not the witty that I know. Funny for me is maybe offensive for you. Just fight the decent fight, but accept that you only have a decent amount of rounds until you are beat. Go home, enjoy life. Don't stress about the little things.

Hope this helps, hope that one day you will remember this list, turn off your work computer and go home early. Be happy. Love, Me.


Joker said...

I'm cooking up a reply, but have been short on time and this isn't a topic to shortchange. :)

Paul Curtis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Curtis said...

Actually I do hear that "you're a great employee, you're an amazing worker" stuff from my boss. And it's annoying as I can't see what's the difference between being mediocre and great. Is it just in the compliment? It's like, for 2 years I've been hearing about a raise, because of my outstanding work and it never comes. Everything mentioned here is spot on.

milener said...

In my 12 years of advertising career, I always wished I had a gun that could kill. But I don't, so just f@#k it! Hahahaha...

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