Day 291

Just when I thought I had finally grown accustomed to 97 Degrees West, I rediscovered an age-old struggle—local clients. While there’s always a learning curve when it comes to working within different industries, local clients pose their own unique set of challenges—from dialect and slang to local references and regional specialties. Is it frustrating? Absolutely. Is it hard to understand at times? Certainly. But that’s not to say it isn’t fun. Learning new things is one of the best perks of being a Copywriter. It’s also how we manage to stay fresh and relevant in our craft. At least, that’s how I look at it anyway. Besides, you never know when this new information may be of service down the road. It just might come in handy again one day.

Another thing I realized is that you should always consider how many people you can connect with before taking a position. In a larger office, you have a much better chance of finding a close-knit group of friends you can relate to on a personal level. At a smaller agency, you have less people to turn to and that could spell trouble for your work life. But, it also means that each of those relationships carry more weight. That’s why, on my first day at each new stop, I always try to pinpoint at least one person I can lean on—someone to help me learn the ropes, navigate the 'office waters' and of course, find the best bars and restaurants. I would say that of the 10 agencies I’ve visited thus far, only about 3 of them lacked a person like this. I consider myself rather lucky, but I know this is not always the case. 

Office friendships can make all the difference, because when you have someone to talk to—who can actually relate to what your talking about—it’s a wonderful thing. So, if you’re ever interviewing for a new position, always ask for a look around and try to meet some of the team you’d be working with. It’ll give you a sense of how well you fit into the environment and how much you’d enjoy working there. After all, the best work comes from happy creatives.

Lastly, I want to thank Kristen Humphrey from The Creative Group for grabbing lunch with me the other day. We had a great chat about Austin's future and she was even kind enough to connect me with some of her colleagues in Seattle, San Francisco and LA. It's just one more reason to get excited for the west coast! I can't wait.

-Steve-

Day 137

The BooneOakley team cutting loose

Just one day after joining members of the BooneOakley team for a Knights’ game at the new BB&T Ballpark; I had the distinct pleasure of tagging along once again for the Bobcats’ final regular season home game. Not only that, but for the first time in my life, I got to experience it all from the comfort of a stadium suite. I don’t think I ever understood the appeal of watching a game from the confines of a hotel-like room, but I get it now. It was luxurious, hassle-free and downright relaxing. I made sure to savor every single minute, because you never know when an opportunity like that will ever come around again. The Bobcats ended up defeating the Bulls in overtime, so the night ended on a joyous high note too. 

While I had a great time with the BooneOakley team, the occasion itself reminded me just how important camaraderie is to the agency dynamic. You can’t build a successful team, without strengthening the relationships that hold it together. I’ve seen it at every agency I’ve visited thus far. BooneOakley does it with events like this, Red Tettemer embarks on annual retreats, Recess Creative hosts a variety of shindigs, and so on and so forth. Sure, you have to keep the business end of things running smoothly with traffic and status meetings, but these less formal get-togethers are crucial for boosting morale, re-establishing the agency’s culture and most importantly—having a good time.

Romare Bearden Park, located adjacent to BB&T Ballpark

This is an incredibly hectic industry we work in. And I believe it’s an agency’s responsibility to not only foster great work, but to also nurture and stimulate those who help create it. I’m not saying every agency has to go out of their way with some elaborate gesture, but I know for a fact that every creative in the world appreciates an opportunity to cut loose every now and then. Of course, the occasion can’t be forced either. It has fit the culture. Throughout my career, I’ve been apart of several such events. Some of them were hard to stomach, feeling more like a middle school dance than an agency get-together. But some of those I attended were so delightful, I couldn’t help but brag to my friends the next day. In the end, it doesn’t have to be something spectacular, it just has to be something enjoyable and real.

What I’m trying to say is that agency life can be tough. It’s the frequent cause of sleepless nights, hectic weekends and pre-mature grays. But it’s also a place where we can meet life-long friends and find our true callings. So, the next time you’re looking for plans, why not ask the person sitting next to you? Strengthen your relationships with co-workers and encourage your agency to do the same. When you can call the people you work with “friends” the results will always be positive.

-Steve-