I have been having a recurring dream. First, some context. Recently, I moved from a boutique-ish independent agency that still had its founders actively involved in the day-to-day business and setting of the culture to a mid-size agency owned by one of the holding companies whose founder had retired fully within the past few years and doesn’t really know what it is, besides being a mid-sized agency owned by one of the holding companies.
At both agencies, the creative product could be characterized as good to occasionally spectacular, the compensation is roughly comparable, and each has a foosball table.
But my last agency was truly human.
As such, my recurring dream is that I have gone back to my old agency because, dammit, it was a better place to work.
In the end, I wouldn’t go back for a host of location and familial reasons (and the realization, in my dream, that I chose work over those obligations is awfully haunting), but I really wish I could.
Separated from the vision of the founder and creaking under the weight of holding company bean-counting, an agency loses its soul.