Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tuesday Tip No.2

Young teams often ask "Should I take a job in a not-so-good agency, or hang tough till I get hired somewhere great?"

Between a rock and a hard place

The answer is it depends on your individual financial circumstances. If your internal organs are about to be called-in by loan sharks, then obviously you have to take the job. But if you have rich parents, or some money saved, a cushy part-time job, or have found a way to survive by eating everyday household objects, then it's better to wait.

Plenty of great teams started in not-so-good agencies. The key is what you do when you get there. You don't settle. You don't sit on your arse. You spend all your spare time working on the one good account they do have. And the rest of your time working on your spec book. When my partner and I were at a rubbish agency, we spent every night working on our book. Not once a week. Every night.

There will be lots of nice people there, and probably quite a few good creatives too. Don't get suckered in by that. Keep focused on getting out. Because the vast majority of great work, is done by the great agencies. And sooner or later, you want to get into one of those.

Tuesday Tip No.1


Anonymous said...

Good call. Sometimes you can create your own role in a place too. If you're brave, you can lead by example. Takes time though.

Stanley Johnson said...

Our friend from up North makes a good point. I did some of my best work at a very unfashionable agency.

Anonymous said...

But the problem i found was if you're working somewhere not so good, when do you decide if the offer of a placement somewhere good is worth the gamble?

Anonymous said...

It's great to work on the good account. Work hard and make sure your schedule is filled with it so you're not wasting time with the shit.

Definitely don't fool yourself with thinking you can make the place better, even if it seems like it's on the upswing. The only thing you can make better is your work; focus on it.

But, as for your spec book, you could be sitting on a golden egg. Many shit places have a few sleeper accounts. Not the ones with asshole clients, but the ones that are on auto-pilot, at the agency and at the client, because it's universal knowledge that no one cares about a fourth-tier, no-name, whatever product/service with no money. It's dusty, no one's messed with it in ages...in other words, it's ripe.

Do it dark-ops, avoiding all the people who'll tell you not to waste your time or worse, mistake you for someone up for doing shit work. Come up with the brilliant, totally unexpected idea for that account. When there's nothing to lose, people bet big.

At worst, you've got a beauty for your spec book. If it's truly great, the agency may get behind it and sell it like mad because turning shit into gold is the kind of story that can get your hack boss fame.

It'll also sounds great on all those new top shop interviews. They became tops not because they could do the 918th piece of work on a great account, but because it was nothing, shit, or in serious danger of becoming shit before they got it.