Whether you're a fresh faced graduate or the new big cheese,
adapting to agency life can be tough. With unwritten etiquette and
complex processes, you have to be extra perceptive to pave your
way. So here are my top ten sneaky tips and odd little bits to help
ease those agency growing pains…
1 - Bribery
Never underestimate the power of a biscuit. From traffic
managers to technologists, a decent biscuit, complemented with a
cup of tea, can get you further than you think. I also hypothesise
that the more expensive the biscuit, the more effective it is in
achieving the desired result.
2 - Awareness
Casually dressed management is rife these days, so don't be
fooled by the quiet bloke inconspicuously warming up his lunch
wearing a pair of converse. He's actually on the board and so
eating cold beans out of the can in front of him is not OK.
3 - Friends with benefits
Whether it's Jen from studio or Dave from IT, having a friend in
every department comes highly recommended. When commas evaporate
two minutes before deadline and Outlook's locked you out for the
fifth time that morning, all you need is your bezzie's extension
number and the job's a gooden!
4 - Preparation
While we thrive under pressure, it's a well-known fact that
printers do not. Never delay printing until five minutes before
your meeting. The toner will run out, someone will print a 200 page
annual report, and you will arrive late with the attractive
complexion of a tomato.
5 - Emailing
Handing in a dissertation titled 'History o fart' highlighted
the real necessity of proofreading important documents - and
nowadays emails. At the end of the day, spelling Lindsay four
different ways, forwarding an email trail with 'can you deal with
this muppet please?' to said muppet and copying directors into
emails about the fit guy from Jo and the Juice is not wise.
6 - Grumpiness
If people don't want to say good morning or make small talk in
the kitchen about the new mugs, don't take it personally. It's not
you; it's a project, client or two-year old insomniac.
7 - Managing finances
If you had a pound for every time someone left, had a birthday
or ran a marathon backwards in a Mankini playing a recorder, you'd
be rich. But while you're not, don't feel pressured to part with
your bus money. Also, you don't have to succumb to the hierarchy of
take out. It's OK if you haven't got a spiced scallop and mango
salad from Pret, a homemade tuna sandwich is perfectly acceptable
and even quite retro!
8 - Client conversation
From cats to Corrie, finding something in common with your
client strengthens relationships and means no more awkward silences
in lifts to meetings. Always steer clear of swearing, sexual
references and how you spent Sunday with your face in the toilet
because you went overboard on the vino at your Nana's 80th.
9 - Fridge Etiquette
This shouldn't be the case, but let's face facts. If you leave
your food loose in a fridge shared by a floor of hungry pitch
workers, then there's a chance it'll get snaffled. Top tip - put
your food in a closed identifiable bag, on the bottom shelf,
towards the back. If it's still snaffled, try to refrain from
sending all agency emails. No one will own up and people will think
you're a bit of a whinge.
10 - Alcohol Consumption
No matter how comfortable you feel, getting drunk on your first
work night out is never a good idea. Remaining calm and considered
while colleague's tongues around you loosen prevents any possible
embarrassment, and gives you a key opportunity to get all the
gossip. Of course once past your trial period, it's fair game to
get more than a bit tipsy however if you only remember one thing,
remember this - avoid senior staff members at all costs. Note to
self, practise what you preach.
Overall, agencies are supposed to be fun, fresh and innovative.
While there will always be tears, tantrums and tremendous cock ups,
with these exercises in personal risk management and a smile on
your face, chances of the latter will hopefully decrease.
Written by Charlotte Thornton, Campaign Executive