More than any that I am familiar with, the ad industry is one where job skipping is commonplace. I have no official numbers about the average length of tenure, but it’s a well-known truth that advertising is full of mercenaries.
And good thing, too…the vagaries of account wins and losses make life-long employment at one shop something only a fool would bank on.
Not to mention the fact that agencies aren’t always big enough or the client roster right to be opening up opportunities on your career growth schedule. Sometimes a person has got to move on.
Changing agencies just isn’t a bad thing in advertising.
When you do change jobs, however, it can still be a harrowing experience. And, based on the new guy at the House of Biz who has come off as a complete douchebag by doing just about everything wrong, I mean that the experience can be harrowing for the new employees who are forced to work with you while you act like a complete muppet (and make bets behind your back at how long it will be before you get fired).
Some things to keep in mind if you are thinking about taking a job at a new agency:
1 Nobody cares where you came from
The people who work at your new agency, um, work at your new agency and that means that they are constitutionally unlikely to fall over themselves in praise and admiration for you because you worked at another agency, however hot and awesome you think that shop may be. Nobody cares where you came from because you’re not there anymore.
2 At least pretend that you’re happy to be here
People at your new agency are likely to be happy with the fact that they’re at said agency…it’s probably the reason they work there. They like to see that you like to be there too and if they don’t, they probably think that you’re a stuck up, no talent ass clown.
3 Spend the time to get to know people early
Nobody has that much to do in the first week or two, so spend that time making the rounds. It’s awkward, sure, but it’s more awkward to be in an elevator with someone senior and have them ask you who you’re interviewing with…after you’ve been there for a month.
4 Be okay with being overdressed for a week or two
It always happens and it’s not a bad thing…accept that you will dress too nicely and embrace it. You can impress people with how well you clean up for at least a week or two until you go back to dressing like you just rolled out of bed (like every other agency person on the planet).
5 Get the lay of the land before knocking heads
You want to jump right in and make things happen and that’s a good thing…it’s just probably a better thing to get an idea of what’s really going on in the agency (which way the political currents flow, who are the real powerbrokers, who are the favorites, why are things done the way they are done) before jumping in two-footed. Once you’re all-in, it’s hard to back out if you’ve made a bad move.