|Original articles from The Inside Man.|
|Ad-Verse Reactions: On Spending Less Time at Work|
There’s an old adage that says “Nobody, on their deathbed, wishes they had spent more time at work.” It is both logical and powerfully true. It’s also rather easy to ignore, in an era where more time spent working (at the office and at home) is demanded of you and even worn as a badge of honor.
|Ad-Verse Reactions: Copywriters Are Heroes|
Sure, you might not know it to look at us. And some of my fellow copywriters might be too ashamed to say it. But I’m not afraid. (Especially in an anonymous column.)
Copywriters are truly heroes.
|Ad-Verse Reactions: Full-Time vs. Freelance|
I’m very committed to maintaining and building my “network” — as I’m sure you are as well. So when a recruiter buddy of mine suggested that I have lunch with a friend of his, I agreed.
HIM: Freelancing (his Mrs. carries the salary and benefits) and a dad like me. Worked at several of the big shops in our area, but had given up the full-time world in exchange for the freelance existence. Basically admitted he was “finding himself.”
ME: Well, you know. Digital copywriter with offline background. Dad. Voted Talent Zoo’s #26th favorite columnist.
|Ad-Verse Reactions: Find Me, Friend Me, Hire Me|
Whether you’re a freshly minted graduate looking for that first great job or a wily veteran looking for that last great job, it’s all about networking. To succeed in almost any career, you’ve got to be constantly schmoozing. Former coworkers, current colleagues, and anyone else who might be able to help you someday — or vice-versa, for reasons of good karma.
|Ad-Verse Reactions: The Old Guy at the Club|
Summer is ending, and with it — my youth.
I’m closer to 50 than 25. And in my head, I’ll always be a silly dorky 19-year-old. But that balding/graying head of mine is mega-revealing.
What brought on this mini-crisis? Our summer interns are going back to school, taking their not-of-legal-drinking-age selves back from whence they came.
|Ad-Verse Reactions: You Don't Call, You Don't Write|
On my way to work this morning, I drove by a nondescript office park that I’ve passed a thousand times. Dentists, lawyers, and one company of particular interest: a small advertising agency. This agency was one of dozens that I contacted not just once, but twice after being laid off. Their response? Nothing.
|Ad-Verse Reactions: Is There a 'Marketers Anonymous'? |
After a long evening commute, I settled in with my family for a quiet night. (As quiet as toddlers can be. Which is to say, not that quiet.)
At one point, I hugged my daughter close and she noticed the logo on my T-shirt.
“Whassdat?” she asked, gazing up at me with the innocence of an almost-three-year-old.
|Ad-Verse Reactions: Ditch the Guilt|
As someone privileged enough to work indoors in a comfy chair under fluorescent lights, then go home to a non-foreclosed-on home to my beautiful wife and incredible kids, there’s plenty of reasons to feel that I’m undeservedly well-to-do. (Not that I haven’t studied and worked hard and overcome obstacles to get where I am. Just sayin’.)
|Ad-Verse Reactions: Five Website Fixes|
So now that I’ve been at Anonymous Digital Agency (not its real name, that would be awful) for a month, I know everything there is to know* about “the online space.” (Like how important it is to call it “the online space.”)
*Writer does not really know or claim to know everything. He knows enough to know he knows nothing.
|Gone Corporate: There and Back Again|
So New Job: Day One finally arrived. Asked to arrive at 9:30, I showed up at 9:15. (Eager beaver.) Introduced to my cube, which featured the gloriously new and beautiful MacBook Pro on which I’m typing this. It is wonderful for the Hack to be back on the Mac! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
|Gone Corporate: Achieving 'Escape Velocity'|
When last we left our intrepid hero, the evil Legion of Upper Management had eliminated Hack-Man’s supervisor, shackled him to a new, incompetent, and lying boss, and “wrote him up” for tardiness.
|Gone Corporate: A Firing, a New Boss, and a Written Warning|
I have been and continue to be a hard-working employee who was doing the work of two people for most of my time here. And yes, I was spoiled by years of the ad agency schedule, which usually says “You get to work anywhere between 8:30 and 10, and you might take a long lunch, but you stay late if you need to in order to meet deadlines.” And also, “You might work from home or on the weekend if necessary.” But that doesn’t fly in Corporate World.
|Gone Corporate: On Life Support|
Fade up to brightly lit emergency room, doctors and nurses scampering feverishly. DOC IN CHARGE (shouting): “Look alive, people, we’ve got a crushed soul here! Caucasian male, late 30s, history of autoimmune disease, long career in advertising. Went to Client side, and 10 months later suffering from severe damage to creative soul. Get the adrenaline and a good freelance client, STAT!”
|Gone Corporate: Escape Dreams|
Some folks fantasize about the latest auto-tuned cutie on MTV. Some start going through their lunch options, because that hour away from the cubicle is more precious to them than The One Ring was to Gollum. And some of us dream of escape.
|Gone Corporate: 'Managing Perceptions'|
I guess I should have known it would go this way. It’s CORPORATE, for gosh sakes. I just want a job where I write stuff I’m proud of, for clients who understand the value of written communication, for a company that appreciates me and what I can do for them.
|Gone Corporate: The Power of Ego|
We all have an ego — some bigger than others, whether reality-based or not. In the creative fields, you run into all kinds. Throughout my advertising career, I’ve run into egomaniacal geniuses, overly confident dummies, and humble folks who crank out great work. (Which am I? I’ll leave that to my biographer.) Now that I’m on the client side, I’m dealing a lot with three unique types of coworker egos.
|Gone Corporate: Creativity? What's That?|
So another department opens a project with Marketing, seeking name ideas for an internal blog they were starting. The purpose of the blog was to keep the department’s employees up-to-date on a major change occurring over the next few months. The email actually stated that “we need a fancy, schmancy title, or at least something cool, for the project.”
|Gone Corporate: On the Outside Looking In|
This is a business where people with egos get their souls crushed. It’s an industry that praises the few bastions of creativity with awards, even though it’s equally important to be strategically sound and get something they call “results.” Heck, it’s a business that you can fall in and out of, based on geography and economic climate and your own skill set.
|Gone Corporate: Marketing Killed the Radio Star|
In an endless stream of email alerts and feature articles about successful co-workers, a client-side copywriter doesn’t have many projects to get excited about. But one day, a shining beacon of light infiltrates the dark gray clouds: the radio spot.
|Gone Corporate: The Co-Worker as Client|
On the corporate side, your clients are other marketing people, the HR department, maybe even the IT squad. They work for the same company as you, and the same CFO signs both their checks and yours. So how do you deal?
|Gone Corporate: First Impressions|
I used to be in advertising. Shorts and flip-flops. Loose policies on most things. Now I've gone corporate. In this column, I'm going to report on "what it's like on the client side" for someone who's used to the wild and wacky agency world.