Working in the advertising industry is a lot like being on MTV's The Real World. Instead of "seven strangers...picked to live in a house...work together and have their lives taped... to find out what happens... when people stop being polite... and start getting real," the uniqueness of the ad biz is created by teams of people spending an inordinate amount of time together, both day and night, learning quickly the quirks and habits of each other and working toward common goals with ridiculous deadlines. It might not sound the exactly same to most people but if you've lived it, you understand. You cannot be successful as a team without constant interaction, without figuring out what makes your cohorts tick and without collaborating in a way that sets up each and every member of the team for success. When one fails, all fail and when one succeeds, all succeed.
Advertising is the one industry that understands the true definition of team. The successful agency fosters team ideals. And while, the almost anti-rule environment, random hours and freedom of creative thought doesn't necessarily always translate to other business models or industries, the rest of the world could learn something from the ad world because it is about PEOPLE. In order to achieve success as a team, it is just as critical to support and build up the other players as it is to improve individual skills. The sharing of ideas is the impetus to crossing the finish line in first place.
I miss advertising because I miss the teams. Being a teacher has allowed flourishing creativity which has been a joy but the lack of teamwork has been disheartening. I don't want to give the impression that nobody wants to work as a team but the culture of a workplace determines the level of teamwork "allowed" or encouraged. I had hoped for constant sharing and pouring into one another's lives as I had previously experienced. So far, I have experienced little or no sharing of great ideas. Others hold ideas so close to the vest while I would welcome the opportunity to throw my plans and ideas on a share drive for anyone to use. It's disheartening because I expected people who live to help children find success to be as encouraging and edifying to the other teachers in their circle. And my experience during my master's program led me to that expectation, I was surrounded by great teachers who nearly overwhelmed me with their thoughtfulness and kindness, all aimed at making sure I would become a great teacher too.
The world sees advertising as a space filled with a bunch of good time Charlies but I know it to be a place where you are surrounded by friends at your lowest lows and the celebrations of success and the big wins are shared with incredible teammates who feel more like family than coworkers. The ad industry made me rich in relationships and my teammates taught me how to be a better team player every day. I miss all my Charlies. I miss being about people and building relationships and loving each other while loving what we do.
Education should take note.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
"I'd rather" a lot of things. Tonight, for example, I'd rather make a list of things I'd rather do than read or grade papers. So, here you go.
- I'd rather wear sweatpants and a t-shirt than pretty much anything in the world.
- I'd rather live in the city than in the county.
- I'd rather have dogs than cats.
- I'd rather cook for friends than go out for dinner.
- I'd rather be single than go on dates just for the sake of going on dates.
- I'd rather be alone than miserable.
- I'd rather love my job than make a lot of money.
- I'd rather spend time with the people I love now than regret missing out on their company later.
- I'd rather take a long walk in the snow than on the beach.
- I'd rather walk in the rain than use an umbrella
- I'd rather eat ice cream than cake.
- I'd rather be fat than mean.
- I'd rather walk a mile in your shoes than repeat my own mistakes.
- I'd rather tell the truth than lie but that's easier said than done sometimes.
- I'd rather have a very small circle of supporters than busloads of people who are just along for the ride.
- I'd rather be cheated on than be a cheater.
- I'd rather bear the brunt of your anger than thrust my own anger on you.
- I'd rather be understood than liked.
- I'd rather be respected than famous.
- I'd rather have the full use of my left leg back than have perfect vision.
- I'd rather relive high school than college because I think college would have been better if I'd made different decisions in high school.
- I'd rather be a famous musician than a good athlete.
- I'd rather have five minutes with the son I never met than 24 hours with anyone else.
- I'd rather get married than live the rest of my life alone except #6 & #7.
- I'd rather be a Cardinals fan who never sees a winner than be a Cubs fan.
- I'd rather vacation in a cabin at the lake than an five-star hotel.
- I'd rather be a successful writer than a great professor.
- I'd rather be rich than poor except #8.
- I'd rather be judged for my faults than hated for misgivings.
- I'd rather ask the questions than give the answers.
- I'd rather sing in front of 60,000 people than 10.
- I'd rather see my teammates successful than taste victory myself.
- I'd rather go fishing than sit on the beach.
- I'd rather learn your story than wonder who you are.
- I'd rather stay up all night than wake up early.
What would you rather?