(Just the place that's right for you right now.)
This weekend was a beautiful one in Columbus. Out and about with dog leash (and poo bags) in hand, I ran into Columbus's cutest couple - KR and PK. They asked me the question I'm hearing from all over: SO, how IS the new job?
When I first announced my move from the downtown branding boutique to the far-flung healthcare empire, some of my friends tried to talk me out of it. They called it corporate and conservative and painfully slow moving. They said I'd be bored and underutilized and fall behind. In short: this choice was not a match for the entreprenuerial Leigh brand.
They said this up until the day before I started. Intimidating stuff.
I'm happy to report that following my gut paid off. I'm two months in and I'm doing some of the most interesting work of my life. I'm part of an alpha test team on this innovative customer insight tool that was cheffed up, built and funded right here. My clients are open to bold new ideas and my bosses are all about making them happen. I've got one group of bloggers up and ideastorming online and two more groups right behind them. I've never seen multidisciplinary work the way it does here - respectful, collaborative teams building on ideas (without any of the usual hangups about creative vs. account or insight vs. media).
It's not the place I would have guessed I'd end up, but it's an excellent place for me right now. What I thought I knew about this culture was totally wrong. It's creative, not corporate; liberating, not limiting.
But, that doesn't mean you'd have the same experience here. A girl friend of mine was here a few months before me and wasn't inspired by it at all. Not the right place for her - not then, maybe not ever.
I think about that when I talk to ad people who are new in town or even colleagues looking to jump to places I've been. There's no promised land. No one perfect agency that we're all trying to get to (no, not even you, Resource).
The shop I call a testosterone-driven train wreck is the same one I've heard other people point to as an awesome place to make a name from yourself working on national consumer brands. Maybe you say mom-and-pop; I say entrepreneurial and flexible. Sweat shop, award winning; old school, stable; design-driven, design leading. Who's to know where you'll fit in.
At least in this town, the employment marketing in this industry is opening back up again. Talent is on the move. When you think about whether to stay or go, here are three signs that tell you you're in the right place:
Do you feel:
- Energized: Instead of that Sunday night dread about the approaching work week, you actually feel good about heading into work every - ok, most - mornings
- Asked: You're valued for your ideas and perspective, not just your hours or super-human Flash tricks
- Involved: You have a personal stake in your work and you believe in the good of both your brands and your clients