Words of Wisdom for the Next Generation

Last week we had the pleasure of hosting some young professionals from Ad2 Milwaukee, to give them a taste of what working in a real world agency environment entails – save the looming deadlines and mild caffeine addiction, of course.

After a short tour of our digs and plenty of coffee and doughnuts, we shuffled them into the conference room for some real talk and a Q&A session with a handful of ZG-ers from various disciplines and departments. Think: “Scared Straight” for the ad set. Are you crying? Oh my gosh! I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, please stop. It was a joke…

With most of us owning up to a decade+ of experience in marketing, we’re practically bursting with wisdom that just can’t wait to share with this next generation of copywriters, media buyers, and art directors.

 

“As someone who’s been around the block a few times, my advice would be to learn as much as possible. Not just in your chosen field, but in the agency life. If you are an introvert, force yourself to meet with clients. If you are a creative, ask the AE why they handle an account like that. If you are a copywriter, ask a creative why they designed a website this way. So ask all questions you need to. You gain a lot of knowledge and experience this way that brings added value wherever you may land.”

Scott Carlson, Art Director

 

“The culture of a standard advertising agency tends to be more collaborative than the typical corporate structure; take advantage of that. Within an agency, you’ll likely find yourself working with web design aficionados, Excel formatting masters, witty wordsmiths and more. Most of us have worked at other area agencies and bring knowledge from a host of past and present accounts with us. Tap into that. No other working world will contain so many unique opportunities for self-education and growth. So, go ahead – dive in and see what you can learn from agency coworkers.”

– Becky Binns, Media Buyer

 

“Nobody gives you experience. It’s just a byproduct of doing shit (so do shit). In that same vein, you won’t always get the dream clients with the glamorous work; you may even end up with some clients that crush your creative spirit. But you still have to do what needs to be done and give each one the gold standard treatment because cutting corners always hurts (your clients, your coworkers and your reputation) more than it helps.”

– Michael Shank, Digital Developer

 

“Culture is everything. Money can be blinding. Benefits can be blinding. But what’s going to make you most comfortable and most happy is if you fit in with the agency culture. In your interview, ask questions. REAL ones. During my first agency interview years ago, one of the employees asked me what TV shows I liked to binge-watch. I knew they were my people. Hopefully you can meet several people throughout your interview process. Don’t be afraid to ask about the culture or the work/life balance. Chances are they’ll tell you without asking, which is a good sign. You don’t have to like your coworkers, you don’t have to love your job – but it’s way better if you do.”

– Krista Ledbetter, PR Specialist

 

“As a Millennial elder, I think the single best piece of advice I can impart is to not take yourself too seriously. You may be brilliant and funny and really, really, really ridiculously talented, but, at the end of the day, it’s advertising, not rocket surgery. Our industry can get super-competitive and self-congratulatory, so it’s easy to be up your own ass and forget to have fun. Don’t be that guy. Nobody likes that guy. Do good work, stay gracious, and don’t forget to laugh at yourself – otherwise people will do it for you.”

­– Aimee Dierbeck, Copywriter

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