Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How to get fired.

Getting fired is an advertising inevitability.
It happens to the best of us.
It happens to the worst of us.
It happens to big salaries.
And small.
And in-between.
It happens to those who deserve it and those who don’t.
Regardless of all that,
there’s a right way and a wrong way to get canned.
Here’s the right way:

  1. Always have your “book” ready. That is, always have it up-to-date. The last thing you want to do when you’re axed is find files, pull favors and get things together. Preparing for you next job is an important part of your current job.
  2. Keep active on social media. Don’t connect to random people but keep tabs on where people are and what they’re doing. Stay friendly. Stay interested. Stay informed. Keep your name positive, out there and active.
  3. Cultivate your memory. Remember people you’ve worked with. Clients. Editors. Colorists. Partners. These are people who you may need to lean on.
  4. Be a good person. I happen to believe that in all of advertising there are maybe ten people good enough to be assholes. If you’re not one of them, be nice. Help people. Work hard. Pitch in. Return emails and phone calls. You’re more likely to be lent a hand if you’re not a prick. So don’t be a prick.
  5. Stay current. It makes sense to me to be a student of the industry. Know who’s winning accounts, who’s doing good work, who’s pitching. These are likely to be the people and places looking for help.
  6. Do good work. This needs no explanation. The best way to recover from being fired (which most-often has nothing to do with the work you produce) is to have good work in your book.
  7. Publish a blog. It’s the best way to keep your name in front of people. Use your blog to show the business (and whoever else reads it) who you are.
  8. Don't spend money on foolish things. Really. Grow up. You're going to need that money when you're schmised. And you can live without $150 canvas sneakers.
  9. Thank the people who fired you. Be gracious. Thank your boss, your partner, your planner, the account guy for the opportunities you've been given. Don't be bitter. That said, be firm when it comes to severance.
  10. Have some champagne. At all times keep a bottle, chilled, in your fridge. Celebrate when it happens. Better days will come.


Kate said...

Hello again George. I think one of the best pieces of career advice I ever received was from my first CD in my first copywriting job, but I think it applies to all jobs. It was simply, 'Finish well', whether you working out your resignation or have been made redundant.

Don't leave anything half-finished, don't miss any deadlines because you're leaving. Care right up until your last minute.

I think people remember more how you leave a role than how you start one. And I'm pretty sure this advice has helped me gain new jobs via previous employers, colleagues and through word of mouth over the years.

I guess this is just an extension of your 'Don't be a prick' comment which is equally important!

Bob said...

How the hell can you be firm on severance? They tell you what you're getting, and then they have security escort you out of the building ("nothing personal; it's policy"). Once you're fired, you have no leverage at all, especially severance-wise. Unless you have a contract. And how many of us serfs have contracts?

george tannenbaum said...

You can try, Bob, in the spirit of everything being a negotiation.

Bob said...

Oh, I've tried, George. The most common initial response is an involuntary chuckle.