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January 27, 2011
Gone Corporate: First Impressions
 
I've gained six pounds. My wardrobe is mostly button-down shirts and khakis. I have one of those lame "magic door entry" cards clipped to my belt loop.

I used to be in advertising. Shorts and flip-flops. Loose policies on most things.

Now I've gone corporate.

Backstory
I was laid off in June 2010. (Second time in three years. Thanks, economy!) Freelanced for six months whilst caring for our toddlers. (Challenging but awesome.) Very few interviews for full-time positions at local agencies, even fewer (like, zero) interviews "on the client side."

Until early December, when a Facebook friend (fellow copywriter, never met in person but lots of mutual compadres) who had sent me some freelance contacts emailed, "Hey man, I know someone who's looking. You interested?"

Fast-forward to my interview, which went awesomely—clearly—since I was offered the gig within 48 hours. And rather than continue asking our parents for help with the mortgage, I took the job.


First Week
So my role as "Senior Copywriter" at The Company is not quite the "Senior Copywriter" role I've had at agencies. In fact, it's kind of an agency copywriter's nightmare—when it comes to the actual work.

Thus far, 90% of my assignments have been writing content for emails, e-newsletters, and e-everything except ads, broadcast, direct mail, outdoor, or even Web. (Intranet doesn't count.) It's a "marcom" copywriter I've become, so opportunities to flex my conceptual muscles will be few and far between.

I took a bunch of journalism courses throughout college and grad school, so cranking out that kind of content isn't foreign or all that difficult. It's not what I love to do or really want to do for 40-plus hours a week, but I should probably...


Shut Up and Be Grateful
Yes, to get a job in this economy—especially one with a solid salary and benefits package, at a company that's doing well and has a clear path to further growth—makes me incredibly fortunate. In this column, I'm just going to report on "what it's like on the client side" for someone who's used to the wild and wacky agency world.

For example:

Dress Code: Business casual. But hey, jeans and sneaks are okay on "Casual Friday." (This is one of the weird things about The Company—it's this young, growing, "Best Places to Work"-type of place, yet we have to maintain that "blah" corporate look.)

Office Hours: My boss has been pretty flexible. As long as I'm there by 9:00 a.m., we're cool. No time clocks and no timesheets. Between 5:00 and 5:30 is when most people check out.  With an hour commute, though, I'm in no rush to sit in traffic. So I look like a hard worker staying to 5:45 or 6:00.

Meetings: Pretty much the same no matter what industry you're in. Too many of them, mostly wastes of time so somebody can say, "We met on that," or "I spearheaded that effort." A whole lot of people justifying their existence.

Lunch: Thus far, pretty much the same as agency lunch. No nasty looks if you go over 60 minutes, still kind of "iffy" as far as having a beer with lunch. (Signs point to "no," methinks.) Whatev, not a deal-breaker.

For next time, I’ll be looking at “Who's the client?"—and how do you deal with him/her—when you're client-side?

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After a year of creative incarceration in Corporate World, your beloved Corporate Hack finally distracted the guards, outran the bloodhounds and scaled the wall to make his escape. Now that he’s back where he belongs in Ad World, he’s re-branded himself as The Inside Man...but he’s still having Ad-Verse Reactions. 
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