Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Asbestos Of The Noughties

Image courtesy of the first photo that came up in Google Images

Today's post is about workplace stress. And the title relates to the theory that companies could face massive lawsuits in the future for exposing their staff to unsafe levels of it.

I was recently told of a London ad agency where paid time-off for stress is so common they've even coined their own phrase - they call it "going for a lie down."

Apparently the Shell tanker drivers who are going on strike for more pay have turned down an offer of £38,000 a year. That's 38 grand for driving a truck. Do we earn enough to compensate for our rather higher stress levels?

Do people shout at you where you work, even though it's 'only advertising'?

Have you ever cried at work? Or made someone else cry?

Do you drink more than you should, to 'de-stress'?

Have you done other jobs - if so, how do the stress levels compare?


Anonymous said...

I was raped once.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6.08pm -

Dirtbox or minge...?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Stress and advertising?
I suppose it's a bit like being a fishmonger and complaining that you come home smelling of fish.

Anonymous said...

"I was on my way to present some stuff for TBWA and suddenly I ended up getting really sick and ended up in the hospital.I think it was too much stress and too much tension".

Erik Vervroegen.

I wonder if his lions hug him when he's sad...

Anonymous said...

I can see what you mean Scamp.
However, the majority of my stress comes not from external factors but from self doubt and thinking whatever I'm doing is worthless. That and the fact I'm not Juan Cabral.

Bias said...

It's probably a lot more stressful when you are on top and you need to keep that benchmark before they call you a burnout.

I have a lot of self-doubt as well, but it needs be to deal way before writing the rationale, otherwise it's doomed from the beginning. Then again, it needs to be a good idea to begin with... repeat recursive loop.

Stress is part of the job, you are only as good as your ideas and if they are not showing, you are up the creek without a paddle. How you deal with that stress is your problem. I've gotten one or two talk-downs in my time, but never yelling. That would be the perfect time to think about quitting. Respect comes first, all the rest is secondary.

bronxelf said...

Not to downplay the effects of stress in advertising(because it's extremely stressful for sure), but if you think that those tanker drivers have it so easy, I invite you to do their job for a while. I would remind you that they are carrying highly flammable material on the roadways, dealing with the same stresses that everyone does in their commute(people driving like idiots and all that comes with), except *all the time*, and with thousands of gallons (or liters, whichever you like) of flammable materials under pressure right behind their seat. They are often on fixed time limits to get their runs done(just like you are!), pushing themselves far beyond what is healthy for their bodies to endure in order to make their deadlines(again, just like you!).

I know *I* don't want that gig.

While I understand your point, and I don't even disagree that advertising jobs are extremely stressful, the comparison you're making is both unfair and seems at its heart, quite classist.

At least no one *dies* if you screw up your job. If you crash a tanker truck, you may not be so lucky.

Anonymous said...

Teeth brush: I have the worst job in the whole world.

Toilet paper: Shut the fuck up.

Same here.

Anonymous said...

you should be the expert Scamp there in GBH..

barry the hr bloke said...

I find the best way to deal with stress is to drink a lot and take a lot of drugs. It's just the best way to let off steam...that and a lovely nosh from the missus. If you can get back home, a pipe of crack in one hand, a glass of Vodka Tonic in the other and lipstick on the dipstick you'll forget all about the 25x4 cheap weekend calls ad, mark my fucking words. And if you're a bird, get some cock and a spritzer. It'll chill you right out.

Anonymous said...

Barry, where do you work?

Anonymous said...

I'm stressed out becuase i want to tell my creative partner he is fucking useless and should quit the ad industry, but i just don't have the heart.

ron brown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jehova said...

Thank you Scamp for quite rightly removing that post about shitting in a drawer.

Anonymous said...

Maybe advertisers should go on strike for four days and set up a national blockade.

We could tape up letter boxes to stop people delivering junk mail. Stop people handing out free newspapers stuffed full of Dixons ads. Insist that films on ITV are shown uninterrupted. Rip down every billboard in the country. Force kids to settle for what they have, instead of craving whatever the TV tells them they need. Refuse to put a positive gloss on the products of crap corporations.

The nation would soon be brought to its knees.

rhayter said...

Driving a slow lorry on Britain's roads for 8 hours a day is pretty stressful. But the stress you feel is based entirely on your own individual reality, not on any objective measure. I get more stressed about having to do my team's reviews (4 times a year!) but I find presenting/pitching is more of a buzz than stressful.

I once worked with a account manager who was due to accompany myself and the new business director to a presentation. She'd done it before, so you'd imagine it wasn't a problem. But she was found in the women's toilets crying and vomiting because she was so stressed about the presentation.

She later left the agency to become an interior designer. Is that any less stressful? Get it wrong and you've fucked-up your client's home and they're likely to get really angry about that.

But do trucker's suffer from self-doubt as much as many of us? I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

It seems that stress is becoming par for the course these days. Most creatives certainly find this thanks to 2 things in my opinion...

1. Time you get to actually work on things is reducing all the time. A week on one brief is a luxury now - most teams have got 7 or 8 briefs on the go and they're all needed yesterday.

And yet, the account team and planner will proudly wander in with a brief held high like they were Neville Chamberlain and proclaim it as "the best brief in the department" (unlike the last brief which alleged that. and wasn't. surprise surprise.)


2. ...and there's a bit of a paradox here: any half-decent creative will want to make every ad they do the very best it can be. So the stress there is a bit of self-harm. And yet, with limited time, there comes a point where sometimes 'good enough' has to be just that. And that, as we all know, is simply not good enough.

So what do you do? Have a nervous breakdown and piss your wife and family off because you're trying to crack a poster at 3am or say "fuck it."

The creatives seem to be first in the firing line these days in the overworked and increasingly underloved department of an agency and if the output isn't there - BANG.

This job did use to be fun once.

Anyway, must go, I've just received "the best brief in the agency" and there's a review in 4 hours.

barry the hr bloke said...

Anon 8.42, I feel for you.

Here's a nice fat bifta and a can of Stella. There, there.

Anonymous said...

We don't work 11 hours a day in some warehouse for £500 a week.

We don't have to work as nurses, getting threatened and abused on their mammoth shifts for less money than a Big Issue seller makes.

We work in an industry where all we have to do is sit in an office all day thinking of ideas and having a giggle with your partner. Thus resulting in a 2 weeks, all expenses paid, shoot in some exotic location. We drink like fish. Do more coke and MDMA than Ibiza gets through in August, and then moan about stress?

Get a fucking grip people.

neil said...

Clearly, advertising is not like being a tanker driver or a junior doctor where conditions are grim and lives are at risk if you make a mistake.

But stress is subjective. If you worry that you can't cope with what you're being asked to do then you experience stress. Some people can shrug this off. Some people make themselves ill with worry.

No doubt some trawlermen regard coping with north sea storms as all in a day's work but would find it highly stressful to have to give a presentation in public.

I don't want to belittle the plight of those who find their jobs in advertising are making them ill with stress, but personally, I think that on the whole we're damn lucky to work in this business. It can be demanding, and even stressful, but it's also fun.

Anonymous said...

Well, we're all glad your agency is more fun that 2 weeks in Disneyland. Any jobs going at super-happy-fun-land and co?

Anonymous said...

Chronic masturbation is the answer. Although it's easier when you have your own office.

neil said...

Yes, anon 9.06, we're hiring right now. Looking for a junior team who love sport. Get your book in to Tony Wallace at W+K London.

Anonymous said...

I think he was referring to the MDMA holiday place, not Weekend and Kennedy.

Anonymous said...

Is anywhere really like the MDMA & Coke holiday place, or has someone got a little time portal in their office that transports them back to the 80s?

It CAN be a stressful job, but if your CD is a decent bloke, they should spot this and step in.

Just because some places get reputations - GBH for example, does not make it ok.

Yes, it almost certainly is more rewarding a job than driving a truck or packing boxes, but that doesn't mean you DESERVE the stress because you have a reasonably well paid fun(ish) job.

Since when did karma work that way???

Anonymous said...

Hot topic for me. Yesterday by the end of the day absolutely lost my temper and start shouting like never before in 2 years. The only one good thing is not on my colleagues creatives, but on "suit" MD:) Waiting for the call for the "Sorry man but we have to say good bye to you" meeting

Anonymous said...

Don't you think that advertising workers are being screwed as an entire industry ?

My contract says 37.5 hours per week plus any extra hours that may become necessary from time to time.

'From time to time..' ??

I do way more and I know some people that do more than double that, and they just say 'well it goes with the job'.

Our wages are fixed but by upping the temperature on the pressure cooker you squeeze more billable output for the same staff costs (at the cost of the staff).

It's a business decision made by the people at the top, and something that has naturally developed through increased competition between agencies.

So unless we create a union and strike for better conditions it will never change. If the truckers can do it ...


BigBen said...

Great idea indeed... the advertising industry should go on strike!

Just imagine the sheer panic untill they realise that printing a white colored page with simple packshot and brandname is as effective as about 99% of all advertisements made.

Anonymous said...

I don't think clients, planners and account men would be that bothered if creatives went on strike. They're all really good at writing ads.

Gordon Comstock said...

Isn't the most stressful thing about our job the insidious fear that it might all really be a complete waste of time?

Anonymous said...

Planners and suits are so good at ads, they just took 5 months to write me a BT campaign brief!! I had 4 days to do it.

Anonymous said...

11.06 & 10.46

if the ads are just as good by doing nothing much and or getting the account people to do them, why on earth is everyone working so hard?

You're undervaluing creative work, and you're voicing the fear propaganda of the man.

"...you should feel privileged to have your job, no matter how many hours you put in...'

"anyone could do it, so go on strike...you won't be missed"

Thanks for that.

It isn't just creatives that are working hard...I'm talking about account people and producers too.

Seems there's a problem - I'm just offering 'a' solution.

Perhaps a 5.30 strike. A walkout on time by everyone in the entire industry.


Anonymous said...

Didn't a load of people at Y&R complain at the long hours they were doing?

Subsequently they now have a policy where they leave at 5.30pm???

Anonymous said...

I put the '???' because I heard it from a producer. not sure on its authenticity.

Anonymous said...

Scamp, you mean stress as in: no gold lions for BBH this year?

Bigcock McWangwiggler said...

I think Creatives' insecurities are a lot to do with it. Get in before 9.30, get everything done to a standard that makes your CD get a little stiffy on and he won't give a flying fuck if you leave at 6.

And if he does, he's a cunt.

Oh, and 99% of the time stress is caused by some fuckwit (usually an account person) projecting their problems on to Creative teams:

"The MD MUST see something at 4pm"

"But it's 3.20pm"

"They MUST see something."

"Go away and learn how to do your job you snivelling little cunt."

Anonymous said...

And how many other people are working more weekends than not these days? Personally I've also had phone calls while ON HOLIDAY, asking if I'm in the country, could I come in for a brainstorm?

The answer was short and rather abusive.

Still, that's advertising innit?

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of stress for Creatives is to do with job insecurity. There aren't many jobs out there, and it takes a funking long time to get one - or another one. And there's not even as much freelance as people think. So you may as well shout at a junior account handler has nothing to do with causing all the above.

But sometimes the making up is the best thing.

Anonymous said...

Here's how a recent conversation went at our place...

"Here's a brief"

"Fine, I'm on holiday next week"

"That's OK, we don't show the client until the day you're back."

"But. I'm. On. Holiday. Next. Week."

"Ok, we can maybe move it a day."

You may as well talk to the cat than try and reason with account teams sometimes!

Anonymous said...

Stress on me is huge.

It will kill me.

But I buzz off it.

What a way to go!

I feel sorry for people with stress free lives. I think they are wet.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that'll show the management fat-cats who's boss, when you're having a heart attack before you're 40 because those ads weren't "quite there yet."

Take that system!!!!

Anonymous said...

Try not working. That's also stressful, as you'll find when you're P45'd and end up freelancing. On the positive side, when you do get work, it'll either be a pitch, in the school holidays, or both.

a CD said...

I suffer little stress because I get my work done quickly. This happens because I've been doing it for years and am now pretty good at it. I go home at 5.30 every day, put my son to bed and then carry on working if need be.

I have got to the point where I don't care about irrelevancies that used to bug me and I opt out of the long-hour culture which is entirely unnecessary. The negative consequences of this have been minimal.

My work has graced Clios, D&AD, The One Show and Creative Circle this year.

Only you can make yourself feel stressed by giving too much of a shit about things that don't deserve it.

Anonymous said...

I do think it's amazing how we all work in the communications industry and we all have the same problem of account handlers NOT COMMUNICATING. It's more like the secret service.

Anonymous said...

question for "a cd"

fair enough and sound advice. what do you consider to be the little irrelevancies? what should we care/not care about to de-stress.

also, maybe you can go at 5.30 because you're the cd? nobody's exactly going to call you a half-day merchant now are they? unless they fancy a P45 and a steady diet of Jeremy Kyle?

a cd said...

Yes, I suppose everyone knows when I leave and bothers me earlier, which helps. I admit to leaving a bit later in my youth for appearances sake. It just always struck me how nothing much really happened after about 6.30, or even 6. Long hours didn't seem to equal better work and most of the work is thinking, which can be done outside the agency.

I hope my hours make the rest of the staff feel better about leaving at a reasonable time.

The irrelevancies...hmmm...I think that takes time to work out. If an ad is not looking like it's award level then put your seven out of ten hat on and get it out faster. Not every brief has to be an eye-bleeding battle to the pages of D&AD. You know some of them will never reach such hallowed turf, so you pick the fights accordingly. Is it worth the headaches to 'improve' Homebase by 0.3 out of ten? Of course not.

Take a step back and do what's appropriate instead of (Nick Hornby pointed this out in The Polysyllabic Spree) trying to make your job seem like it's a REAL JOB, like mining or something. It doesn't have to be that hard.

Dying early with some gold lions is pointless in the extreme. Turning round at 45 and realising you don't recognise your children would be a big mistake.

Anonymous said...

"I do think it's amazing how we all work in the communications industry and we all have the same problem of account handlers NOT COMMUNICATING. It's more like the secret service"

Totally! They throw a brief at you then want to see work in a couple of days. You slog your guts out, hand the work in then hear nothing for days/weeks. Everytime I go over to the Account area they are either shopping online for handbags or on Facebook.

Anonymous said...

people who cry at work should be executed.

fucking babies.

Anonymous said...

Too true. And if the ads are pony, it's the creative dept. at the pointy end of the stick. And suddenly, "I only had 2 days" isn't an excuse. Even when they can throw a brief at you that was actually written a bleedin' month ago! And do it with a "what's your problem" expression.

And then every day until the review (all 2 of 'em!) they're all... "got anything yet? can we see something? can i tell the MD what it is?"

No. Fuck off.

Anonymous said...

To Bias at 7.26am - not a bit. All psyche studies say that stress reduces in proportion to seniority within an organisation. It's a control issue - being a CD or other management level bod is a BREEZE compared to lives of most of the suckers beneath them being pushed from pillar to post, dawn to dusk, to breaking point and beyond.

General rant now: I’d say my personal stress:fun ratio over the last 25 years in this business is running at an average of about 100 to 1, and my stress:achievement ratio is even worse. Just not worth it on the whole. Got to say I truly regret choosing this as a career and I would advise any student to think very hard before jumping into the adland mincer, especially on the creative side. Cunt CDs (you would not believe some of them), incompetent managers, economic volatility and vulnerability, lack of unionization or any form of protection – advertising has that and more, creating stress in farm sized bucket-loads. Keep away kids. If you want a stressed-out career, choose one that will at least help you feel better about yourself at the end of the day. Mercenary soldier, perhaps. At least then you’d get to shoot the cunts.

Signed: Not Juan Cabral.

Anonymous said...


This interesting dynamic has got worse over the last few years I think. Creative departments are smaller than ever, so we now have to do more work in a shorter amount of time.
I do agree with 'a cd' though. There are those briefs that you just need to stop thinking so hard about. And just do.
But is it me, or are we spending more and more time decoding briefs before we can start work? How do we change that? Throwing it back at the account handler doesn't work any more. Refuse to do it and people start complaining about you to the management.
So, in the end we come back to working long hours. And getting stressed.

Anonymous said...

to: "a cd"

you're all class. you sound like a real together fella, with his head in the right place: REALITY. i wish more creative directors were human like you.

i suggested a poll question awhile back (not yet posted, by the way):

what makes a "good" or "effective" creative director. your insight should be part of the list.

truthfully, i know what i like in a creative director, but was hoping for advice (as i may soon become one and am looking for helpful hints).

Anonymous said...

Anon at 3:15 (who wrote in response to my 3:09 comment) it sounds like we work at the same agency...

Creatives are the most important people in the agency, it's NOTHING without them yet we're treated like shit.

Anonymous said...

Dam it. I'm gunna shoot myself now.

Anonymous said...

I used to think a new job would be better than how I get treated at the moment. But, I've come to the stark realisation that every agency is the same. Perhaps a new poll - how amny of us want a new job (sorry, new challenge)?

Anonymous said...

oooohhh anonymous 3:17 how right you are: every last point.

someone should do a survey amongst sr. creatives: if you had it to do over again, would you still be an advertising creative? i bet 8 out of 10 would yell NO.

the sad thing is, once you get to the "senior" level, many feel too old to change careers (mostly because of the threat of a pay decrease). i have also heard many say, "yeah, i hate this business, but it's the only thing i know how to do".

Anonymous said...

I seriously hope some management types read this blog.

And here's a thing - look at how many 'Anonymous' posts there are (mine included!)

Seems to support the theory that the majority of creative departments seem to be run by a culture of fear these days.

I agree "a cd" sounds like the kind of cd you'd want!

PH said...

If you're getting really stressed and aren't enjoying it anymore, get out of London. As I wrote on here, it's possible to work on good accounts, win awards, earn a decent wedge and still leave at 5.30 if you move to the regions. Sometimes you have to get out of a situation in order to see the wood for the trees.

rhyater said...

Anon 3.37 – "the sad thing is, once you get to the "senior" level, many feel too old to change careers (mostly because of the threat of a pay decrease). i have also heard many say, "yeah, i hate this business, but it's the only thing i know how to do".

Do you have a phone tap on me or something?

Seriously, I still love the job when things go well. But that seems to be less and less these days. I work 50+ hours a week (I start early every day) but it's not the hours that stress me. It's wondering "is this all there is?"

Anonymous said...

I have to agree, 'a cd' sounds like a very level headed CD. Where do you work 'a cd' Can I have a job. Pleeeeeeeeeeese.

I spoke to a headhunter the other day to see what's around etc. And she tried to convince us about a few intersting agencies. On closer inspection, half of their creative departments wanted to move on because of the CD being a total twat. How do you get around this? Or, do you just have to accept that it's going to be the same everywhere (except where 'a cd' works)? So, if you do move, are you moving simply for more money, new challenges and new clients to work on?

Anonymous said...


There's a lot of truth on this page.

This is just inspiration to get out whilst I still can.

Scamp said...

For what it's worth, I don't think there's any jobs where you can earn good money, and expect to have zero stress in return.

The key is to find a job (or an agency) where the type of stress they want you to take on is the type of stress/challenge you enjoy.

Too trite?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the headhunters can put a 'stressometer' reading next to each job they have.
That would make for intersting reading in campaign.

Anonymous said...

Not entirely trite Scamp.

You make an interesting point.

Nobody's afraid of hard work, and the stress (maybe challenge is the better word) should be coming up with original ideas. That's the kind we all should enjoy.

The question is, does one have the time/environment/inclination to do so?

And as someone posted earlier, yes well-paid jobs and stress may go hand-in-hand, but it seems that some people here aren't just "a bit on the busy side", they seem fucking suicidal.

No money's worth that now eh?

Scamp said...

You're right, 4.41.

The stress we all signed up for (and actually enjoy) is "having original ideas."

We didn't sign up for some of the complaints I'm seeing on here, which seem to be mostly about unrealistic deadlines and account handlers.

dog eggs said...

original ideas is the fun part,
its just seems everyone - i mean everyone tries to strangle them at birth

we cant all despise the industry
that much - otherwise none of us
would be on this blog.

if its bad for your health - give it up.

Anonymous said...

I gave up smoking, now I'm stressed.

Anonymous said...

Quite right. Here's a thought then, without wanting to open up the Fallon/Juan can of worms again, but it seems relevant...

What are they doing to get work through like that? What's the working process like?

Is it actually a sweatshop and Juan is on the verge of topping himself every day? (Doubt it.)

Or do most of the posters here today a) just work in shoddy big agencies that have clients who wouldn't know a good idea if it kicked them in the knackers or b) work in hugely account led agencies. (Maybe a and b are the same thing by the way)

Anonymous said...

The agency Scamp was talking about in his original post - where they have the "going for a lie down"- IS Fallon. I don't work there, but I heard the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Ah, so there you have it folks: nervous breakdowns DO equal black pencils.

Guess we should all shut the fuck up moaning then.


Faergal said...

Juan is insane, he works 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. No wonder they call it, fearless. Of course, they also call it other things but that's a different story.

Anonymous said...

What's the point of a black pencil when you'll end up spending your pay rise on Prozac?

We all should stop complaining like children and start a union or something. But you know what the problem is? Anyone who dares to defy the system is either removed or promoted to CD and told to shut the fuck up.

Aren't we whores?

Anonymous said...

How do you deal with stress Scamp?

Paul said...

Stress eh? The problem with this business is that even if you wanted to start at 9am and leave at 5.30pm there's always some no-life tosser working those extra hours - which only has the effect of making you look bad.

Mind you, I once worked in an agency where the studio boys would leave en masse at 5.30pm sharp every day - you could set your watch by the sound of their blinds flying down. Amazingly, even though they did that, the work always got done.

Of course, if you're a creative and you find yourself working all the hours it's probably because you haven't got the talent/hard work balance right. Right?

Anonymous said...

It's easy. We are approval seeking whores, yes.We are too happy to trade our health or personal life in exchange of metal gongs and the stupid illusion that our career is in the same level of glamour as films or art.

It's not truth and it's fucking stupid to believe so.

Sure, City wankers are exposed to similar levels of stress than most of us but at least they are making FUCKING MILLIONS. We ARE doing millions for brands and what do we get? Invites for a model agency party and free booze, wooooha.

Until we realise it's just a fucking job and stop trading dignity for false fame. Black pencils, lions, etc ask anyone on the street if they know who that is. Fuck it, this post made me really angry, Simon.

Anonymous said...

Scamp wouldn't comment anything about his own stress. BBH is watching.

Have anyone else noticed he's much more politically correct now that Campaign watches this space?

I liked it better when he was a bit more raw.

Anonymous said...

Is that why he's so tight lipped about Cannes?

Paul said...

Anon: "Until we realise it's just a fucking job and stop trading dignity for false fame. Black pencils, lions, etc ask anyone on the street if they know who that is. Fuck it, this post made me really angry, Simon."

Excellent comment. And you're particularly on the money with your observation about real people not giving a shit about what we do or who we think we are. Me, I never even tell a real person I'm a copywriter because they have no idea - nor could care less - what a copywriter is. Which is why I'm always "a writer at an advertising agency".

The truth, really, is that this is a good, and relatively easy, business we're in. I suppose it depends on your background but I spent the first five years of my career unable to get over the fact that they paid me money to sit on my arse thinking stuff up. And when it's going well, I still think that.

Anonymous said...

It is indeed amazing that one's get paid for doing a thing we do.

That said, it's not as easy as it sounds just because we get to go to work in t-shirts. At least if you want to do bloody great ads.

I think we and film writers are some of the least recognised professions when it comes to remuneration if you consider the amount of money our ideas generate.

We should look at ourselves as intellectual property developers and get paid as such. At least that way, all that stress will be worth it.

It's all I'm asking. Stress is valid if you get to retire to a Villa in France by the time you're 50. It's not if you're still trying to find out city break deals at ryan air.

Scamp said...

Happy to comment on Cannes - I'm gutted. Might make "how to deal with disappointment" my next post.

Anonymous said...

I think the amount of comments here shows why people get stressed out and not going home early.

Scamp said...

Happy to comment on my own stress too. Right now I really can't complain. Last 2 years at BBH and 7 years before that at DDB have been mostly the 'right kind' of stress. For example, trying to do VW or Levi's ad that Craigen or Hegarty will approve.

But I have worked at shit agencies in the past. At one, our boss used to say things like "who says every ad has to have an idea?" and ask us to make the packshot bigger. And he was the CD. He was 6'4", a bit volatile, and we shared an office with him. That was stress. I used to take two Nurofens every afternoon without fail.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that all the people here who seem to be evangelical about 'being paid to like, you know, create' are the lucky ones. Bravo. We applaud you. We wish we were you. It's what we'd all like to be - but here's a slice of reality pie: not all teams (especially juniors, though I am not junior incidentally) are treated so well. Their day consist of, "here's some shit to shovel and you've got an hour to do it." And for the wage we're talking about, you may as well stack shelves in Tesco. At least real people will know what the fuck you do, and you can see your wife and kids at 5.30

Anonymous said...

attn: anon 7:03,
"Stress is valid if you get to retire to a Villa in France by the time you're 50. It's not if you're still trying to find out city break deals at ryan air."

yes indeed. MOST creative salaries in london are laughable, ESPECIALLY if you're putting in extra hours.

incidentally. after 84 comments i am shocked that nobody mentioned the obvious (aside from the pressure to come up with good work in no time and with a shit brief/strategy which often has you at the office after hours):

i think the following factors cause at least as much stress for copywriters and art directors:

1. if the creative director is not a solid leader in the agency--allowing account managers, planners and MDs to walk all over him and the creatives (and the work). or if he's just plain dumb (and has NO BUSINESS calling himself a creative director in the first place).

2. idiot recruiters who wouldn't know a smart advert if it bit them in the ass: thereby not at all qualified to match creatives with agency briefs. plus most of them are just nasty. WHY do agencies use these morons anyway?

3. account managers who sold out for the money, but really see themselves as stunted copywriters in a suit...and so they give "suggestions" about how to make the work "better" but then follow up their "suggestions" with (my favorite) "...but i'm not a copywriter." or worse yet, they change your copy without telling you and when you ask them about it later they say, "oh i just made a few tweaks."

4. the word "tweaks"

5. creatives (desperate freelancers and juniors in particular) who have that outdated attitude "i'll suffer for my craft" and will work for low wages, and put in long days, just to look good--which they think demonstrates their "passion". on both counts: you only hurt the rest of us demanding to be paid for our experience (and who prefer to work a solid 9-6 day rather than fuck around on blogs/facebook.)

sure: with a smart creative director, account managers who can actually sell good work (and aren't afraid of the client), humane hours and a good salary...this isn't a bad way to make a living.

but how many agencies can really offer such a dream job?

TC said...

3. account managers who sold out for the money, but really see themselves as stunted copywriters in a suit..

er creatives get paid more than account handlers at all levels so while you whinge at least whinge in the knowledge your the highest paid dept in the building (excluding the proper ceo/md suits etc

Anonymous said...

I'm still working. Where are you slackers?

Anonymous said...

uh, tc:

it's "you're"

TC said...

cheers pedant, didn't realise this was an English GCSE exam

Anonymous said...

Er, tc.

Sorry I think you'll find it's TC

larry bird said...

re 8:17.

There's a lot of gold in what you say, and the agency you describe is Utopian and I want to work there.

Some more Utopian thoughts in relation to your points:

1) There should be a 'cunt test' that all creative directors need to pass before they get the job. There are too many bad ones out in adland right now. There are a lot of people that could do their jobs a lot better.

2) Recruiters are infuriating.If there's one good thing that can come from blogs and social networking, it should be the ability for one to get an awesome job without them.

3) Working with a good account manager is as good as working with a good cd. They all tend to navigate away from dinosaur agencies.

4) Tweaks = If clients can tweak ads, why can't creatives tweak briefs?

5) Too many agencies/clients treat creativity as a commodity. It's not. To succeed at the highest level, this must be acknowledged. But then, with any big, money-spinning account, there's a lot of grunt work. Always. Hello juniors and freelancers.