Thursday, October 28, 2010

Getting more involved

I came across a recent interview of Luke Sullivan on The Big Orange Slide. Luke’s Group Creative Director of GSD&M Advertising in Austin, Texas and author of Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: A guide to creating great ads (one of my all-time fav books for students!).

I love his answer to this question - From a career perspective, what’s the importance of making intangible cultural contributions to an agency?

"Pretty interesting question. To get ahead in this business, you need to contribute to the agency by doing great work. But you can also contribute by being a helpful and involved company person. That means caring about more than just the ads you’re workin’ on, but caring about the company itself. You can contribute by raising your hand to help with new business. Or by picking up the empty pop bottle by the front door. Or helping with the agency web site or agency blog. All things being equal creatively, management at your agency is gonna notice someone who’s involved over a cube dweller."

Wow. Contribute by being helpful. As in picking up the empty pop bottle by the front door. I love the simplicity of this advice. It reminds us that our existence in an agency goes beyond creative abilities or our official job description.

This hit a chord with me because I am constantly picking up used paper towels in our agency bathroom. It's like I am the only person who sees them there. Or maybe just someone who treats my workplace as a second home (cuz it pretty much is). And I would no sooner leave used paper towels lying on the floor of my bathroom at home as I would here at work. Simple.

We can all use a reminder to be more involved with the agencies we work at. Jumping onto a new business pitch is hard when you are crazy busy. Volunteering to host bring your Kid's to Work Day is equally a time suck. But, at some point we all realize that helping oftentimes goes beyond your day job. Being truly involved in your workplace is so much more than 9 to 5. A little reminder of that every so often is appreciated.

Read the rest of Mr. Sullivan's interview, he is a champion at giving great advice. Then go pick up the bathroom.

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