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.