“Agency life isn’t for everyone.” Is it right for you?
At last count, I think I’ve heard it a million times: agency life isn’t for everyone. Just look at our Glassdoor reviews for a good dose of agency life advisories. It sounds a bit scary, or at least stressful.
Is agency life really that bad? As someone who’s been living the life at Flint Group for 15 years, let me offer some perspective.
No. It’s not that bad. It’s pretty good, in fact.
I don’t want to sugarcoat it. Any job has its pros and cons. We help our clients solve complex problems, and problems, by definition are “a source of perplexity, distress or vexation.” So, yeah, there will be stress – even in an agency that’s as cool and supportive of its employees as Flint Group.
Despite whatever challenges you will encounter here, I want to call your attention to a few of the good parts of working at an advertising agency, communications consultancy or whatever you want to call it. For certain individuals, an agency career can be rewarding, engaging, energizing and fun. You could be one of them.
So, let’s explore six characteristics that I think make you a good candidate for agency life.
1.You like to shift gears often.
This is probably my favorite thing about agency life. You do not have to get bored of doing the same thing every day. You can jump from manufacturing to health care to financial services to consumer goods in just one day. I am not exaggerating. I have jumped these jumps.
Even within a single client’s portfolio of work there are numerous audiences to address, media to consider, moving parts to tinker with and foundational messaging to create. You can dip your toes into all kinds of stuff.
2. You like to stay busy.
This one is related to number 1, and it’s probably why agency life gets a bad rap. It’s busy. Busy busy busy! Not always, but usually it’s busy. Did I mention it’s busy?
If downtime isn’t your thing, chances are good that you’ll thrive in a marketing agency. Some people find it exhausting to stare at the walls waiting for something to happen. If a pile of work keeps the day interesting, you might belong here.
3. Office politics aren’t your thing.
Ad agencies are outsourcers, so you’re a little bit insulated from meetings, micromanagers, corporate guardians and gatekeepers. You can try things and think outside the box without (always) suffering confused or disapproving looks.
There aren’t any giant egos to navigate either. When I’m collaborating with other Flintsters, it feels like a partnership where we’re all maximizing each other’s ideas instead of trying to one-up each other.
Of course, it’s impossible to completely avoid the differing priorities of different people, but at a marketing agency, it’s easy to simplify what we’re trying to do and move forward. It usually comes down to this: what’s the best thing for the client?
4. You like autonomy.
At Flint Group, nobody is going to tell you how to do your job (but if you need training or advice, it’s easy to find). At Flint Group, you are free to explore what’s happening in your field, learn new things, develop your skills or propose big ideas. You are encouraged to be an expert.
It’s been mentioned here before, but it’s a company value to be where you are needed most. If work is pressing, of course you’re expected to get the job done. However, if you have family commitments or personal matters to address, nobody will give you disapproving looks for attending a kid’s event or taking a personal appointment.
5. You want to work in a creative field.
So much of what we do involves creativity. I’m not just talking about writing or designing. We sink our teeth into a wide array of challenges, and almost all of them require you to think on your feet, see things from multiple perspectives and explore possibilities.
You’ll see your work getting out in the world … in industries, marketplaces, websites, publications and more. That’s kind of fun.
6. You like to get things done
I don’t know about you, but nothing helps me stay organized like a deadline. Most of the jobs we do happen on a certain timeframe. Even long-term projects have milestones and marks of success. You can see projects take shape when you work at an agency, and they usually take shape quickly.
Maybe agency life isn’t for everyone, but agency lifers aren’t such a rare breed either. If any of these descriptions fit you, check out the Flint Group Careers.
The process of copywriting is a kind of a controlled, focused daydream. Phil used to get in trouble for daydreaming in class, so being allowed to do it while paying the bills is one of life's sweet victories. (Take that, 3rd grade teacher!) When you get down to it, Phil just loves to write. He enjoys hearing the music in a finely crafted sentence and making the words do what you want them to do. (What do you want your words to do?) Over more than 20 years, Phil has worked for big global brands, small startups, and just about everything in between. He has a special affection for loud, left-of-the-dial music like Ramones, Guided By Voices, Cheater Slicks, Teengenerate, etc. Thrash metal, like Slayer or Exodus, is great music to write to when concentration is a must.