I am a restless sort.
I don't like staying very long in any particular agency.
In fact, as I near my 28th anniversary in the business, I've hung my full-time hat at ten different agencies in three different cities and I've freelanced at probably a dozen more agencies. I've yet to make the five year mark at any agency, though I've come close twice.
In all those agencies, through all those years, in all those cities on all those coasts, I've realized that the advertising industry is a very small place.
I read some years ago that if you took all the agency people in the US, they would not fill the University of Michigan football stadium.
That's why each time you change agencies, you run into a half a dozen or more people you already know, or who know you, or who've heard of you, or you have friends or ex-partners in common.
The advertising industry is a very small place.
This leads me to my point.
When all the bullshit is done for the day, when the power-point's high as an elephant's eye, when the time sheets are sheeted, and the conference rooms are empty, there are two things that matter to you if you're looking to last in this industry.
1. The work you do. Your portfolio. The brands you've built. The clients who have succeeded on your labor. The accounts you've helped win.
2. The reputation you've made for yourself. Your decentness. Your willingness to help people. Your insistence not on puffery and pomp, but on being a worker among workers. On being someone others can count on.
There's a lot of crapola that surrounds our industry. A lot of posturing and posing. A lot of bluster, bombast and blather.
It's easy to get swept along in ass-kissery. Awards-mania. Desk-jockeying and org chart origami.
If you want to last in the business, you'd do well to avoid those things.
And focus on these two.
1. Your work.
2. Your reputation.