Nov 14, 2011

The Rookie Syndrome.

I need to start off by saying that I have no beef with rookies. I was one, at one point of my life, like many of you out there are right now. I was scared. I didn't know shit. I had no clue on how to do many things. I made a shitload of mistakes. I got yelled a lot for that. But then... like everything else in life, time passed and I earned my wings. I have much respect for younglings starting out, mostly because I know all that you will have to endure to get to the promise land... if there is a place like that, anyways.

Now, while I did not know a damn thing when I started at this hell hole of a business, there is one very huge difference from when I started out and today. You see, we have a sort of Rookie problem now. All around ad agencies, they are placing rookies in very important positions. A huge wave of low paid/no experience workers are being given the opportunity to take brands and develop campaigns - not knowing one thing about the process. Oh, and it gets worse. It's happening on the client side as well. So now we have two sides who have not a single idea on what to do, but hey kids, let's do it anyway to see what you come up with.

I have been noticing for quite a while now because I've seen it, my friends have seen it. For some weird reason I didn't say anything until one Rookie pissed the hell out of me, asking some idiotic questions and bingo, there I am shouting: why does this person does not know A BASIC AD AGENCY ITEM OF INFORMATION? Come on. I mean basic. What? You want an example? Sure! I'll give you loads of them. In fact... why don't we do a "you might be a redneck approach?"

If you don't know that you need to get all logos in either vector form or high resolution psd, you might be a rookie.

If you ask for revisions in single calls, knowing that you will be charged for every instance, you might be a rookie.

If you want a background music for your radio spot that you have on your iPod, you might be a rookie.

If you send me a logo that measures 1 inch by 3 inches and you need me to trace it, you might be a rookie.

If you need a campaign for right now... then you might be a rookie.

If you make your print ads in photoshop... then you might be a rookie. (And if I get one of your ads, I will fly to your house and punch you in the face, by the way.)

Look. In ad agencies we need to be responsible and make them learn the ropes. You can't give me an airplane and say, hey Me, fly this fucker to China. Yes, I can try to fly it, but that doesn't mean we won't get killed or have a disaster of a flight. Rookies are there to endure the learning process like the rest of us. They get to little by little feel the living hell of working in an ad agency, so that when they sort of grow up they have the correct tools to survive, both inside the agency and with the client. It's a very dangerous gamble to leave an account to people who don't have a clear idea of what to do. There are some clients out there who will eat them for breakfast, period. I've seen it. Ugly sight.

I know the economy is dead and that in order to function, there are some shops out there who are paying almost nothing to people who have just graduated college. But I'm sorry, college does not prepare you for the real ad agency life. No way. Unless you have worked in an internship during your studies - and YOU ACTUALLY WORKED in the field of what you are wanting to do in the future, you have not one clue of how it is. Not one. Sorry.

If you are starting out, by all means run to your garden variety agency and beg for a job. Fight for a way in and LEARN. If they give you a crap job filing shit or bringing coffee, do it but quickly get near the department you really want to be in and get cracking on learning what goes in there. Don't be a cliché, don't be the young dude or dudette who just doesn't have a clue.

Learn. Develop. Grow. Make us proud.

Much love to all those who are still learning. Me.


Mariam said...

Coming from a rookie. YES! We wanna learn! at least I do, so bad!
Sad story is that some agencies don't wanna teach, the CDs just don't care. They expect you to know it all and then you fall into the trap of " yes, i can do it" even though you don't and try to figure it out as you go. result: lots of mistakes and pissed off bosses. I had a boss tell me: you need to learn this and this and that. I said: Yes i do. Do you mind giving me extra project i can work on on the weekends to help me learn faster? He said: no, that means more work for me. You just figure it out yourself.

True story and slap in the face for a rookie.

Me said...

I would recommend that you move on to another creative person inside the department and nag them for more things to do. They are right, they have a shitload of work as it is, so you literally have to fight to get more jobs. If they don't, just mimic what happens. Do your own take on what you see that is going on and learn. Make friends with someone that will gladly criticize your work and show them what you come up with. But you are on a right track, you are avoiding the stereotype of those who just pass along the system! That's awesome!

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