Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bitching is Therapeutic

Last couple of days at work have been rough. Petty squabble over copy changes, endless arguments with my studio manager, manpower crunch, verbal lashing from my boss. Unfortunately for most a new campaign was breaking shortly for one of our client and we (the agency) have finally woken up to the realization after a rather long slumber. Tempers are running high and at the slightest agitation my colleagues are flying off their handle readily passing the buck to someone else for not meeting deadlines.

Advertising is extremely chaotic - attrition levels are high, technology fails you when you most need it and even if it doesn't most ad guys are pretty much technologically challenged and I am in the thick of it all and enjoying, cribbing, fighting, evolving, and learning.

I don’t hold anyone responsible, everyone is fighting hard to meet targets and each one is dealing with pressure his own way. Studio is dealing with it by drawing sadistic pleasure by being plain difficult for just about anything. Creatives on the other hand always blame the lack of resources and manpower and at every opportunity they'll reemphasize it. There are still others who do yoga, sweat it out at the gym, shop, quit jobs, change hair styles, do cross country running, or go on a holiday. I for one need a nightlong therapeutic bitching session and beer for instant gratification. It helps me calm my nerves. And heck yesterday specifically was an all nighter.

I have had the most satisfying bitching session. I was actually all charged up to take on more work today! Prashant was an enduring listener.

At the studio 20.45

'What about the artwork for the stickers, Saketh? I have been waiting all day for it. Its 8.45pm now. Besides where are the estimates you said you would give it to me yesterday?'

'I'll give everything tomorrow.'

'Why don’t you give me a time that you can stick too.'

'Dhivya if you want a time, then have it - next month.'

I couldn't stand the smirk on his face.

'Well too bad now you lost that liberty-I need it now or face the flak. I waited whole of last two days for it. You don’t seem to have too much decency to let me know. I will not take responsibility for this goof up on your part.'

'And what do you propose to…..'

I left. I walked out of office. I had had enough of this.

First two of our visualisers are on leave next the only visualiser available is overloaded. I asked him if he could help me with something the other guy had worked on. I also told him I was willing to wait and work whenever he gets free and that the job would not take more than ten minutes of his time. Immediately my copywriter took off on how ten minutes like these eats into their valuable time. And account executives like me only care about our respective clients and how he was doing both his and my work on this particular client who was celebrating his centenary year. I don't blame him he was doing his job and was overloaded with an obscene amount of work and with an unrealistic deadline to achieve.
So many times I have seen them play online games (maybe it was his way of dealing with stress), which obviously didn’t seem to hinder any of their work but ten minutes of my work, would put a grinding halt to whatever they were trying to achieve.

Hey, I was doing my job too, and I really didn't need to take so much of bullshit.

I have never given my studio or my creative team a timeline they cant achieve and I do acknowledge the fact that they work on far more accounts than I do. I have a deadline that’s pressing and clients can be painful sometimes this was really out of my hands.

I walked out that night with tears streaming down my cheeks. I got yelled at because I couldn't meet my deadline, I had to listen to how selfish I could be for trying to meet my commitments with my client. I have to answer a whole lot of people tomorrow - my client, my boss, the vendor. I was feeling slightly feverish at the thought of being pulled up.

Hundred things ran through my mind at that moment. I want to quit advertising - its not worth it - what a thankless profession - all I do is dirty work - I want to drink - I should call someone - why am I crying? - Am I a workaholic? - I don’t want to look incompetent.

At home 21.30

'I have had a horrid day lets drink'

30 minutes later I was seated at Stones along with Prashant - Bitching.

Bitching about everything and everyone. How the world was not fair, how I was just a flunkey in office and how my life was so miserable. I becomes easier to talk once you are three mugs down.

I am not wallowing in self-pity; neither I am I looking for sympathy. The fact is my job has a lot of dependencies - the media, the studio, the creatives, and the client and it is not something I would bring upon myself. Despite knowing this, despite plastering timelines on every available notice board in office, despite preparing everyone for the work in hand, despite anticipating problems we still had to outsource work.
It amazes me how eveyone so readily showers an Acount Executive with profanities. I have fought really hard to avoid being labelled, but today I am defeated. I guess I am going to be just another "servicing" person although in my head I know I wont settle for it.
I am embarrassed. I feel incompetent. I am tired.

Well I do hope it’s a glorious centenary year for a certain client of ours.


PS - All characters in my blog are fictional and any resemblance to a person living or dead is purely coincidental.


Vivek said...

Well by the looks of it today, u need to hit stones wid Prashant again to get over this ... Chill..

bubba said...

shit happens all the think shit only happens to YOU is absoluetely selfish. its easy to say 'try walking in my shoes' it's a damn lot worse when you actually do. a lot of people just hold back all the frustration that builds up at work and erupt in volcanic splendour once in a while. you just have to understand that if people dont do that then maybe they might end up dead. everyone is entitled to a few seconds of frustration.
he hit boiling point that night when your cup was already running over. he's not an active volcano he's a dormant one. he only erupts when he's too full to hold.
advertising is not a glamourous industry as most percieve. it a lot more hard work than any field because it caters to diverse clients. one moment your thinking ideas for a candy bar and the next you gotta get people to sign up for shit raking in your neighbourhood. know all endure all...thats the rule of the game. tempers will fly high and relationships will shatter. not your fault, not mine either. that said i'd like to add that i would never leave this field, i wont be a quitter.

i hope you ain't one either.

lotsa luv

Chinmaye Bhave said...

i understand your frustration ... but dont blame ur profession for that .... its true for our level in any profession

no matter of professional work environment we talk about ... the tendancy of the system is to put blame on some small pawn in the whole setup

and i am afraid you will have to face many more days like this as long as u rise to middle level dont let it bother u so much ... and tell ur bosses politely ur side of the story once the temperatures cool down

cheers .... and hey kool layout

Mathanki said...

Hey hey hey,

completely empathize or sypathize with you servicing guys! I for one, being the in the creative dept, part of the 'Servicing=delivery boys' club have nothing to defend myself. I do confess giving them a hard time in delivering work at given deadlines while chatting all day long on messenger!

But then, you guys brought it up on yourself. I mean you chose to be a 'servicing guy' in advertising. I mean an agency afterall is know for their 'creative' and not how good their servicing guys are.
Atleast for the first couple of years- client servicing is a bitch, and so is creative. And believe be it gets so much better over time when u stop doing all the ops work.

But then our side is tough as well. I mean coming up with new ideas, punchlines, fresh layouts everyday is really not an easy task. Ideas really dont pop up out of thin air, and we have accepted the fact that we need to slog our ass off, late nights or early mornings, cos at the end of the day it is OUR work tht is gonna be kept on the table, and not someone else's we are just 'presenting', and its only US- the creative, are gonna be held resposible and accountable at the end of the day.

Anjaan said...

WHats ur Studio Managers Name????
**rolls up his sleeves**
The irony of an ad agency executives life eh??