We are a small collection of diverse skills and we make a living by creating and executing ideas for people/companies that pay us. That would make us an agency, a boutique, a creative shop, or any other term used to describe our line of work. And there are a lot of perceptions about what it is like working in this type of environment. Most of them are true.
Let me run through a few of them.
Creative agencies are fun, dynamic places. There is a lot of energy and “play time” that goes into creative brainstorming, and you are never bored because there is always something new to do, always some new challenge to solve for your diverse clientele. There is also the perception of the fun of taking clients out on an expense account, alcohol, and too much “play time” for the sake of creativity.
It’s a pressure-cooker. Deadlines are tight, and you are often asked to solve the impossible. Inside the agency, professionals are hyper-competitive with each other (both with other agencies and within the same agency itself). And clients are often-times over-demanding. You never have down time because there is always a new task to be done for someone, somewhere. It’s like dog years, 1 year in an agency is like 7 years in a “regular” job. And that creates high turn-over, anxiety, and sometimes problems at home (long hours, trips, missed family events, etc.).
But the one thing you hear from colleagues consistently is that there is a tremendous lack of respect in all of the above, and that it is getting worse. Blame it on the economy, blame it on a society that doesn’t value manners as it once did, or blame it on the two party political system. But the stories you hear from how agencies treat their own people, to the abuses you hear from clients’ demands, to the downright childish behavior in the boardroom, you can’t help but believe the trend:
People are increasingly treating each other with a complete lack of respect for the individual–as a professional, and often times as a fellow human being.
But I titled this blog post “Thank You, Clients” so let me explain.
Elasticity as been through several phases in its short history. From conceiving the company, to looking for investment, working with a parent company, buying itself back and working autonomously as a stand alone unit. But over the course of over 2 years, our success has come completely from our clients. Now, I know this time of year (well, the end of last year) is when everyone thanks their clients. “Thank you for sending us business that helps us pay the bills” is the typical sentiment. But I want to go further because we have been extremely lucky these past few years:
Thank you for trusting in a new agency, and most of all, thank you for the respect you give us as professionals in the industry and as people. The relationships we’ve built with you buck the trend so prevalent in our industry and makes the work we do much more meaningful. And that extends past “keeping the lights on” at the agency. It extends to our personal and home lives, and allows us to focus on the “pros” of working at an agency and not have to worry about the “cons” as much. What I value the most is not the checks as much as the professional fulfillment of working in a partnership where there is mutual respect.
So thank you, JIm, Jeff, Luci, Laura, Jennifer, Kathy, Kate, Carrie, Andrew, John, Chris, Sarah, Nick, Pat, John, Sloan, Amy, Adam, Ken, Jenn, Scott, Branden, Joylynn, Nate, Todd, Maria, Philip, Matina, John, Brian, David, Andrew, Joe, Erika and the many others we work with every day. You’ve helped us differentiate ourselves in one more way: that there can be respect and decorum in this industry. We appreciate that rare gift.