Saturday, September 24, 2011

The new job

I talked to my mom and stepfather mid-week and this is what I told them about my new job: Holy. Shit.

I remember when I first moved to Paris and was really surprised at the late hours everyone kept. You were ultra conspicuous if you left the office before 7. And then when we pitched the Louis Vuitton relaunch and actually had crazy deadlines for the project (which, by the way, that web site is finally supposed to launch on October 16—finally, some of that work will see the light of day), sure, I worked weekends and long days.

But then, for the most part, my return to Ogilvy/New York was pretty cush. No crazy hours. No mountains of deadlines. A few busy spells, but I was pretty spoiled; not a lot of work (which worked perfectly with my June 1 manuscript deadline).

I knew that when I started Lipman on Monday, it was going to kick off a new phase in which I’d be buried in work. But I had no idea. This week was total culture shock.

The agency is on fire. There are tons of new business pitches and wins, which means, tons of writing to do. The projects, people and environment are fantastic. There are perks that make me really happy. But getting thrown a gazillion different projects and working 10-hour days is something you have to adjust to (or at least I do).

The most surprising part, though, is this new culture of being available 24/7. Skype IM, email, mobile… where have I been? Everyone else is so comfortable being totally available to anyone, at any hour. I am having a hard time embracing that. But I know I must.

It was a fast and furious, up and down week. But I am psyched. In fact, haven’t been this excited about or inspired by work in a long time. Well, since the days of spying on Marc Jacobs and writing about Louis Vuitton’s 1854 origins. This could be good.

30 comments:

  1. Congrats on the new job! It sounds exciting and fun and a chance to stretch those creative muscles.
    I have to comment on what you called "the new culture of being available 24/7". I see it, too, and I don't like it. I like it when I need to get things done, especially when work involves a different timezone. And I understand emergencies happen. But other than that, the notion that you are expected to be available to work at any hours of the night or weekend is just insane.
    Friends of mine who were expated to the US for a few years enjoyed working less hours than the French do, and when they moved back last year, it was quite a shock to have to go back to the Parisian way of working. Now I understand that even though they work longer days, they consider their nights and weekends and holidays sacred in ways that we Americans don't. Work hard/play hard mentality.
    I don't know which is "better", but I do think balance is the key to anything in life. I hope you find your groove very soon!

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  2. Oh I hope it is Good ... super Good. Always Good.
    I am so happy for you ~
    besitos. C

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  3. Oh, the exciting start of something new. I hope the schedule evens out for you in a way that becomes manageable. In time for your 2nd book deadline...right???

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  4. I know, how does anyone really live when you are essentially on call 24/7? But how nice to have work that inspires you. I'm looking forward to your book!

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  5. From what my sister and other friends have told me, I gather that the majority of people in advertising are adrenaline junkies, so even the most minor things are treated as full-on emergencies.

    I guess it makes some people feel important to be on-call the way doctors, etc. are. It would make me feel like an indentured servant, but then again I am much older than the average ad agency worker, I bet.

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  6. Amy, I totally understand you. Four years ago I changed jobs and found myself being so frustrated by the crazy hours and the adrenaline rush. I think for the first month I literally cried every night, thinking I would not possibly get through it. But now four years in, you kind of establish yourself, become a part of something bigger, know better how to plan, know how to prioritize incoming tasks and by that you can definitely have a healthy work and personal life balance. Rewards also help, but the most important thing is the intrinsic motivation. Having amazing co-workers helps too. You can do it! :)

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  7. Breathe...just keep breathing and smiling. The bonus is that you find the work challenging and exciting! That helps counter balance the crazy schedules and the demands that the American work culture has now evolved to. Hang tight - you can do it:)

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  8. You guys are awesome - thanks for the smart thinking, happy thoughts and well wishes! xo

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  9. Ugh, reminds me of my years in high-tech where I'd leave the office at 7, go home then log on again. Email conversations would continue until midnight. If I didn't log on at home, it just meant there would be a huge backlog the next morning... Definitely very ego-driven, but at the same time you couldn't deny there was a need for speed. Good luck managing it all -- the silver linking is the challenging, interesting work!

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  11. VERY exciting! (And stressing and overwhelming...) And so very NYC fast-paced! Enjoy your moments of disconnect.

    You will be a star :)

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