Adland bangs on about the virtues of working stupidly long hours as if it were a badge of honour.
I have noticed that all agencies now seem to do this.
They talk about work/life balance then the senior team work a 14-hour day.
Rationally, they know it won’t produce their £1,000-an-hour work but a lot of £10-an-hour work. But they still do it.
From way back in 2012, this article A Short Lesson in Perspective is awesome. (I was reminded of it on a blog from James Whatley.) It articulates the issue way better than I can.
Here is the nub of the debate:
‘It turns out I didn’t actually like my old life nearly as much as I thought I did. I know this now because I occasionally catch up with my old colleagues and work-mates. They fall over each other to enthusiastically show me the latest project they’re working on. Ask my opinion. Proudly show off their technical prowess (which is not inconsiderable.) I find myself glazing over but politely listen as they brag about who’s had the least sleep and the most takeaway food. “I haven’t seen my wife since January, I can’t feel my legs anymore and I think I have scurvy but another three weeks and we’ll be done. It’s got to be done by then. The client’s going on holiday. What do I think?”
‘What do I think?
‘I think you’re all fucking mad. Deranged. So disengaged from reality it’s not even funny. It’s a fucking TV commercial. Nobody gives a shit.’
He goes on to describe a scam that exists even in the most digital of agencies. Created by… our deranged imaginations?
- The creative industry operates largely by holding ‘creative’ people ransom to their own self-image, precarious sense of self-worth, and fragile – if occasionally out of control – ego.
- Truly creative people tend not to be motivated by money.
- The compulsion to create is unstoppable.
Just apply this to you and your agency – replace the word creative with PPC or SEO or whatever…
But my point, in conclusion, is actually from the Linds Redding article –
‘So was it worth it?
‘Well of course not. It turns out it was just advertising. There was no higher calling. No ultimate prize. Just a lot of faded, yellowing newsprint, and old video cassettes in an obsolete format I can’t even play any more even if I was interested. Oh yes, and a lot of framed certificates and little gold statuettes. A shit-load of empty Prozac boxes, wine bottles, a lot of grey hair and a tumor of indeterminate dimensions.’
Please don’t delude yourself.