I got a call the other day from a old partner of mine from the early 80s.
Jack and I haven't worked together in over 30 years, and haven't seen each other in 15 (he lives in Chicago) but thanks to email and social media, we somehow stay in touch.
"George," he began, "remember how when we worked together there were basically three departments in our agency."
"Yeah," I answered. "There was creative, account and media."
"Now agencies have about 15 departments."
"Every time I turn around there seems to be another one."
"So, when we worked together, if there were 100 people in the agency, 30 were in account, 30 were in media, 30 were in creative, and 10 were all else."
"That sounds about right."
"Today, the same hundred people are divided into about 100 categories. Maybe 15 media, 15 social strategies, 15 planning, 20 account, 15 in technology, 10 in analytics and, maybe, 10 in creative."
Again I said, "that sounds about right."
"And along the way," Jack continued, "the volume of work has tripled. It's no longer just print, TV, radio. It's Snap Chat, Facebook carousels, mobile doohickeys, TV, experiential. And so on."
"Emphasis on so on."
"My math says it's three times the work with one-third the people."
Third time's the charm. "That sounds about right," I said.
"That's why I'm leaving the industry," Jack said. "I'm opening a small store in Chicago: 'Just Croutons.' Every kind of crouton you can imagine. All fresh."
"Aren't croutons by definition not fresh."
"Don't you have some copywriting to do?"
And with that, the blower went dead. And like Jack said, I went back to work.