Saturday, October 25, 2008

Friday Poll - Life In The Ad Mines

Last week's poll reveals that the majority of us are having lunch outside the office just once a week or less. A staggering 29% are little more than drones, eating lunch 'al desko' (thanks anon) every single goddamn day.

So it seems appropriate that, as suggested by "J", this week's poll should be about stress.

How stressed are you in general at work? Vote now, in the right hand corner of this blog.

And let's discuss it too. Are we all pansies, considering the worst that can happen to us is maybe we get a paper-cut, or sore eyes from watching YouTube all day?

Or are deadlines-of-death, Planners who put three separate adjectives in the 'what is the single most important thing we want to say' box, and people who should have been butchers not marketeers, all a legitimate cause of frustration?

Write your view in the comments.

Previous Polls


Ben said...

However stressed I've been in the past, I have found myself feeling strangely calm in recent weeks.

Anonymous said...

Stress can be controlled with a white sheet of paper. Or it cannot be controlled no matter where you'd work and what your job would be. Balance and nice mood unfortunately cannot be included in a permanent contract as extrabenefits. But you can always find a way to "manufacture" them. AND... a veeery important thing: they are contagious. Dance! Really. Or take a walk (maybe to have lunch or pretend to have lunch...). It's chemistry: when performing physical activities the serotonin level dramatically increases ( case you were wondering why it all feels so good after...). Serotonin is responsible for the modulation of anger, aggression, body temperature, mood, sleep, sexuality, appetite, and metabolism. You can start with this:

Scamp said...

Here is J's original post -

Advertising is renowned for being a high stress profession. I wonder if anyone knows anybody that left as result of the stress? or anyone that gets very stressed themselves? As a creative that's not unacquainted with feeling stressed, I'm interested to know whether others feel the pressure. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

There are two very important things about stress in any job:
1. If the kind of stress you're facing is unbearable for you, then either you're in the wrong place or you have chosen the wrong job.

2. Before taking a job, don't forget to do the research on stress. And if you find out that it is a stressful job or working place, if you accept the conditions then take responsibility for your choice and STOP COMPLAINING!

I guess all employers should emboss this excerpt from Devil's Advocate on their front doors:

"Reeves: Are you offering me a job?

Pacino: I'm thinking about it. You have the talent. I knew that before you got here. It's the other thing I wonder about.

Reeves: What thing is that?

Pacino: Pressure. Changes everything. Some people, you squeeze them, they focus. Some people fold. Can you summon your talent at will? Can you deliver on deadline? Can you sleep at night?"

J said...

Thanks for taking my poll suggestion onboard Scamp!

I've found that I can get headaches here and there, and I find the pressure of presenting can get to me sometimes. Perhaps that's just a confidence thing though.


Anonymous said...

No matter what your stress level is Monday to Friday, at least try to have a nice week-end (and this is just a sly form of not admitting that I'm being off-topic): you HAVE TO see The Visitor if you haven't already.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone who went through the early nineties recession got any memories of those times, or advice for those of us about to go over the top, ad-wise.

Anonymous said...

as long as you work for someone else you will feel the same stress that anyone who isn't in control of their situation feels. and i think that's the worst stress. plus it retards your development as a creative and as a person. you become trapped and you know it.

the stress of the person who knows he must kill to eat, as it were, is a lot more preferable IMHO.

the repetitive idiocy in ad agencies is what creates killer stress. esp. as you get older. it becomes groundhog day.

Anonymous said...

By any objective criterion, this is not a stressful business. There's no physical danger, no-one's life or health depends directly on our skills, no-one is likely to go to jail or lose their job if we make a mistake and most of the people we work with are smart and pleasant. (Though I guess if you're in management people's jobs depend on you.) You want to talk about stressful? Try being a surgeon, helicopter pilot, police officer, soldier, etc.
But stress is a subjective thing and some people will lose sleep because they have to present a campaign the next day. I have little sympathy for these neurotics. It's only advertising. What's the worst that could happen?
Other than that you could waste a few million quid of someone else's money.

Hayley said...

I'd have to agree partly with the Anon above. For me at the moment it's the fact that I have no control over what may or may not happen to me. As a graduate on placement, the stress comes from not knowing if you're doing enough or doing too much, whether you're not friendly enough or you're a little too chummy. And at the end of the day, regardless of how amazing or crap you are, never really knowing if you'll be staying any longer and getting paid any time soon is the worst feeling, and can be really counter-productive.

Anonymous said...

anon 4:16 clearly hasn't a fucking clue about advertising. it is very stressful. if you do it right.

being a surgeon or a helicopter pilot is more stressful? like shit it is. that's manual labour pal.

they do the same thing over and over again. we have to make it up fresh ever single week. creating advertising is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay
harder and more stressful than most jobs. just is.

and actually coming up with fresh stuff is not the most stressful part by any means.

[Sorry anon I had to censor your last sentence as a bit too rude, wanted to keep the rest of your comment in though, hope okay with you. Scamp]

Anonymous said...

While anon 4:16 may have some sort of point, I tend to agree more with anon 9:47.

We are not rewarded for merely doing our jobs. I know very few other jobs like ours in that sense. If you perform an operation, the patient lives - job done. Fly a helicopter? Well, you're a trained pilot - up, down, land safely. Well done.

But advertising? Ok, nobody dies. But that doesn't help with the stress levels when you're expected to come up with constantly good (and better than before) work every single day. With a CD shouting at you, account teams flapping and traffic on the phone every 5 fucking minutes ("How's it coming along?") and all with a deadline of yesterday.

And what with a recession looming and the creative departments sure to suffer some casualties, as things go on, this IS stressful right now. We're not all paid a fortune (I wish) and redundancy is very much on the horizon. Will I keep my job by just doing 'satisfactory' work? Will I fuck.

Helicopter pilots? The lucky, lucky bastards!

Anonymous said...

Presenting below par work is the stressful bit.

When you've been on a brief for a week and come up with shite. (We all know sometimes that just happens).

But you've then got to sit down and present your shite to a group of soon to be disappointed account people. You know it's shite. They know it's shite. But everyone pretends it's ok because there's a client meeting in two hours. That is the feeling that makes me most stressed. Makes me feel horrible just thinking about it.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes, when i've got a brief on and time is running out,and i'm struggling, i get very stressed and a weird thing happens. I go out onto the street and get insanely jealous of the bloke sweeping the street. Or the [person] serving me a cup of coffee in Starbucks. Or the bloke driving the delivery van.

Sometimes i yearn for a low paid, stress free, crap job.

Anonymous said...

It's true. Same here. Before I landed my first job, I was working in a warehouse. Not once did I get a phone call or get summoned to my boss's office to ask if maybe I'd considered 'storing the boxes another way'. Or asked 'show me them stacked 5 more ways'. Or 'yes, they're stacked, but are they stacked as well as they could be?' Or 'The team don't get how you've stacked them. Can you explain to the MD?'

Ah, simple times.

The pay was poo though.

And now I am a wage slave and love overpriced cappuccinos too much.

God I hate myself.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else get a twitchy eye lid?

Anonymous said...

10:22, 10:34 You say that running out of time before coming up with a genius idea leads to high stress level. I say the high stress level you impose on yourselves thinking that time flies induces the panic that doesn't allow you to think creatively. Just the same as it is when learning to dance. If you're too afraid of taking a wrong step, you're so stiff that there's no natural flow or elegance in your choreography.

Anonymous said...

I don't know of any job other than advertising creative in which you can be so consistently "wrong" and still keep your job. How often are we told by CD's, planners, clients, account men, chairmen, friends, relatives, focus groups, colleagues and juries that our work is no good, isn't "right", has the wrong tone of voice, isn't what they want (even when they don't actually know what they want).
And even in those rare moments when we present some work that pleases all of these people, they are still not entirely pleased. There is always something a bit wrong with the script, edit, art direction, copy, font, photographer, location , wardrobe, script (again), packshot, endline and script. Something that they are only too pleased to "tweak" for us.
Good job we have thick skins or we'd be getting tooled up and slitting the throat of the next person who tells us that we're "wrong." Or the next shithead who says, "we want this to be a really good ad."

Some client said that to me once. I shit you not. Good job he said it before we shot the ad because we were aiming to do a really fucking crap one. Cunts.

Pass me my pistol.

Anonymous said...

Scamp, how do you deal with stress at BBH? As you are senior, are you in a greater position to push your workload around?

Currently, I have just TOO much to do, and all the head of traffic can say is "We're all busy". Thanks for being so understanding you c*nt. And then when I miss a deadline or the work's below par, guess whose fault it is? Yeah, exactly!

Anonymous said...

I've been put at threat of redundancy, along with other creative colleagues. One has a new mortgage and 3 kids. Anyone who says Advertising isn't stressful should try being in my/their shoes. I think it's safe to say that many people will in a similar position over the next year or two.

Anonymous said...

I've been working +50 hour weeks and doing impossible things for a run of over 12 weeks consecutive now.

I'm fried.

And I've worked out. The secret is to work very very hard. And then have very very good holidays.

Or take up some fence building work or something in the country.

Anonymous said...

50 hour week doesn't sound too bad to me. That's only 8.00 till 6.00, five days a week. Hardly 'working very hard'.
Interesting that some comments claim that the stress in advertising is due to doing the same thing again and again ('Groundhog day'), while others claim that the stress is due to having to do something different every time.
Goes to show that stress is purely subjective. One person will find speaking in public nerve-wracking and defusing a suspected bomb a piece of piss, while for another it's the reverse. Common sense says that if you find advertising stressful to an uncomfortable degree, you should do something that makes you less anxious. Like, say, working in the anti-terrorist squad.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:57...

Spot on. If the strain of creating tomorrow's litter leaves you so stressed and unable to function, then get the fuck out.

You think ours is the only industry where people are under threat of redundancy and having to work harder for less reward? Get real.

And anon 4:16;"being a surgeon or a helicopter pilot is more stressful? like shit it is. that's manual labour pal."

Care to repeat that just as the anesthetist is putting you under? They fuck up, you die. That's REAL stress.

Anonymous said...

Care to repeat that just as the anesthetist is putting you under? They fuck up, you die. That's REAL stress.>>>>

uh, no. the anesthetist lives. i die. therefore i have more stress.

and like i said before, responsibility does not automatically equal stress. that's frankly a juvenile notion of job stress.

following that logic, lighthousekeepers should be keeling over on the job on a daily basis from the mind-bending stress of the job.

(and no worries about removing my mild expletive scamp. i instantly regretted it.)

Anonymous said...

Yes i went thru the 90s recession and it wasn't pretty: "Christmas chopping" in the agency every year; pay freezes four years in a row; previously hard-nosed guys crying when told the news; that sick, carpet-falling-away-beneath-your -feet feeling when you're finally told. Award winning guys were chopped because they were too expensive. Juniors were chopped because they hadn't won awards. What's worse is the way the industry contracts - not everyone who gets kicked out ever gets back in. I've struggled on for years but never got back into a decent ATL agency and kinda regret the effort now, wish i had done something more fulfilling. My advice if it happens, possibly even before it happens, is to have a real hard think about how much you are in love with ads, and consider re-training for a safer job if you're not sure about it. Otherwise knuckle down for a real rollercoaster ride...

Anonymous said...

Just read 7.31. I feel exactly the same. I was in a decent ATL agency and have spent years trying to get back to those heights.

It seems a waste of time. Feel annoyed that I've spent to best years of my life trying to get back in.

Now in my 30's I don't have the same drive, energy and ambition that did in my 20's. The big problem is, 'what else do you do?' You keep chasing the dream but is it just a rainbow?

It's a f**king shit business!