This is a small business.
I remember reading many years ago that if you took everyone in America who works in advertising, it wouldn't fill the University of Michigan's football stadium on a chilly Saturday.
For the last few weeks I've had a constant reminder of just how small the industry is. I've been sequestered at an editor's and I know every other creative there--though they are from a handful of different agencies.
Yet despite the closed-loop nature of advertising, you still find people who are, in the words of Uncle Slappy, schmendricks, that is stupid, self-absorbed asses.
You find people who grab credit.
People who lie, cheat and steal.
People who put self-promotion above real work.
Naturally, it's easier to be a schmendrick when you're riding high in your career.
It's a pain in the ass to return phone calls, to be gracious.
But schmendrickism catches up with you.
When your personal coffers are a little less full.
When your high horse is a little closer to earth.
By then it's too late.
Your reputation is tainted.
There are two things that keep you employed in advertising, ultimately.
Your portfolio and your reputation.
Don't let anything sully them.
Don't be a schmendrick.