Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Coming around and going around

In our industry it is a well-known rule, every person you cross paths with once, you'll cross paths with again. The sooner you learn this, believe this and act on this, the better.

First learn this. Learn that every person comes into your career for a reason. That co-worker you kinda can't stand. That creative director who is uber-ridiculously-detail-obsessed. That sweet receptionist who offered you a glass of water while you were waiting.

It's no accident that particular person crossed your path at that exact moment in time. Now your job is to treat them with respect (even if it is merely respecting their ability to be a jerk) and respond always with professionalism and kindness. Your are building bridges early on in your career, it's much too early to tear any down.

Next believe this. Believe that any encounter with someone teaches you something. That ucky co-worker teaches you how to interact with difficult people. That polite receptionist teaches you that courtesy is title neutral.

Believe that you are going to spend your entire career meeting and mixing people who'll range from sweet as pie to big fat ugh. They teach you how to be a better person, a better creative, a better manager, a better whatever. You don't learn all this work stuff on your own. You learn it by having experiences (the harder, the better) with others. Those experiences are what help you grow in your career.

Lastly, act on this. Act like the person you've crossed paths with will be back in your life 10 years later. Because, in this industry, that's a given. Act like you would if, in 10 years, this person will be your boss. Or your HR director. Or your partner. I guarantee if you use this mentality, you'll always come out ahead.

Everyone remembers kindness and respect. Just don't ever, ever, ever forget that people remember disrespect and bad encounters even longer.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hello Katie

When you are sending out emails to a bunch of creative managers/recruiters/creative directors at the same time in the hopes of getting an internship/job/freelance, please review your note for accuracy. You are most likely copy and pasting your note into a bunch of different emails. This is just a friendly reminder to double check that you've changed the name of the person you are sending it to.

Today I got: Hello Katie.
The other day I got: Dear Lisa Cecilia Gorman

I know it saves a ton of time, heck I do it too. Not a huge violent offense, although it serves to remind me that I might not be the one and only special agency where you want to work; I am just one of many special agencies you'd like to work. Including the ones where Katie and Lisa work.

Once I got an offer letter from an agency -- not my current one ;)-- that was addressed to me, then about half way through the letter it said, "and Erin we are so happy to bring you on board." Erin? I was kinda bummed. Again, slight offense. But, just try and do due diligence.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Next Generation

Yesterday I was honored to speak at the 4A's Transformation 2010 event. All of the presenters focused on areas that are undergoing or should undergo transformation to grow and strengthen the advertising industry. I, of course, wanted to represent juniors in the industry.

My topic: It's the next generation who will transform advertising.

I told the crowd, "There is no doubt that innovations in media, technology and every other topic in this conference will transform advertising. No doubt. But, those changes cannot happen without the properly trained minds to put them to use.

The next generation is critical to our industry. I’m here today to stress the importance of embracing young talent. And to plead with each one of you to play a role in fostering the next generation. For longevity of the enterprise.

Let's transform history by investing in our future."

And based on the feedback I got after speaking, there are a lot of people in this industry that care about junior talent as passionately as I do. It's my hope the momentum continues and the industry does better to embrace and nurture the next generation.