7 Ways to Beat Demoralization in your Advertising Career

13 Dec

The advertising business is tough. Hours are long, deadlines short. Stress levels are high, salaries modest. Budgets are tight, especially when advertising tends to be the first place a troubled company cuts. Clients *never* seem to go for that great idea you’ve been nurturing. The learning curve is steep, and in this digital age, it doesn’t seem to ever flatten out. And we face all this to produce something that the general public usually ignores.

It’s easy to get on a pity party. Instead, try any of these:

1. Mentor a student. Their bright-eyed excitement about the business will remind you why you got into it in the first place.
2. Keep it relative. On the way to a previous agency, I’d pass by a temp agency with a long line-up of people outside, hoping for a chance to pound brick for a day’s pay. Doesn’t make that fifth client revision seem so bad.
3. Network. Facing a problem alone is daunting, and sometimes our spouses just don’t understand the stresses we’re facing. Talk to a colleague. Heck, talk to a competitor. You don’t have to share secrets to take a load off with someone who can empathise.
4. Volunteer. Take a break from selling widgets and put your marketing savvy towards helping a worthwhile cause. Volunteer Canada lists many opportunities for people with a communications background.
5. See great creative. Cannes Lions or other ad show winners will inspire and challenge you.
6. Use your holidays. Those five weeks you’ve got banked aren’t impressing anyone. And, yes, advertising will get along just fine without you for a while.
7. Contact NABS. The National Advertising Benevolent Society provides counselling and financial support for industry people in need. Call their 24-hour helpline at 1-888-355-5548 or visit their site for more information on how they can help.

Admit it, every now and then, advertising is as fun as you dreamed it would be. Cherish those moments.

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5 Responses to “7 Ways to Beat Demoralization in your Advertising Career”

  1. Renée December 13, 2010 at 2:56 pm #

    It’s too easy to overlook the need for re-energizing and keeping momentum. The advertising industry can seem so exciting and flashy and” happnin'” to an outside observer. I have to say that I’m really impressed that there’s an organization such as NABS.

    How easy is it for creative professionals to get hyper-focused, over-caffeinated, sleep-deprived, and eventually burnt-out? From reading this post, I’ve learned that it’s more crucial to circumvent that burnout (using a variety methods) than I realized.

    Sounds like you know how to work smart.

  2. dougbrowncreative December 13, 2010 at 2:58 pm #

    Reading this post was like throwing the windows open Shane. Nice one.

    Here’s a number 8 for your list:
    8. Buy your supervisor a chocolate cake.

  3. Shannon December 13, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

    Great post Shane! We work in a fantastic industry, with some really amazing people and even more amazing experiences.

  4. Shane December 13, 2010 at 3:51 pm #

    Thanks Renee. You’re right, it’s such a thin line between thriving on a fast pace and high energy environment, and being overworked and burned out. NABS is there when things take a turn for the worse, but it’s amazing what an hour at the gym or a drink with a colleague can do to ease the pressure. Everyone has their own way of coping.

    Doug, just make sure you don’t jump out of those open windows.

    Shannon – thanks and totally agree!

  5. asmaamethqal December 13, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

    Great post Shane! Thanks for reminding us why we love to do what we do!
    A little reminder is always nice!

    Regarding your #4, I totally agree with you about using our marketing skills towards a great cause but we shouldn’t forget about volunteering – from time to time – our other creative skills (dance, music, arts, …) to many community projects too. Another way to relieve the daily stress and keep enjoying the creative part of our job ;o)

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