I need ad agency career advice
March 15, 2012 12:11 PM Subscribe
Ad agency/career filter: I'm 24. Sometimes I love my job, sometimes it stresses me out so much that I want to leave. An opportunity to move on has presented itself and now I'm panicking.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I work in a non-creative role at a small agency in the burbs of a large major city. It is my first job out of college, I've been here for two years. A lot of people I work with are great; others, not so much.
It's a pretty poorly managed and disorganized shop - a lot of clients have dropped us in the last few months and a lot of people have been laid off. That said, I've gotten an amazing opportunity to learn a ton of things I probably wouldn't have learned at a major shop; conversely, there's also a lot of important things that I have NOT learned because we're so scrappy and unorganized (for instance, billing - pretty important, right? I understand none of it). On top of that, they pay me outstandingly well for someone with my low experience level - likely a result of poor management, and possibly as a way of trying to "trap" me here because they are so understaffed.
For the hell of it, I sent out my resume to some contacts that used to work with me and have gotten a response from another independently-owned agency in another suburb on the other side of town. They want to set up an interview. It's bigger and it looks like they do better work. Awesome!
...Except I'm not feeling awesome. I'm starting to feel trapped and anxious. Like leaving one small suburban agency to go work at another small suburban agency is being...really unambitious. Like if I leave this place, I need to leave for something big, like a big world-renowned agency in a big city like NY or SF.
1) From what I understand, the career path of people in advertising tends to be to start at big national agencies when you're young and get it on your resume, THEN move on to bigger/senior positions at smaller shops as your career progresses. Is it ever the reverse?
2) Should I even move to this other agency if given the opportunity? They do good work and have great clients, but likely won't pay me as well as they are at my current job. I'm trying to figure out if moving on to somewhere else "for the hell of it" (as opposed to following my dream of being at a big agency in a big city) is a good idea.
3) If the other agency made an offer, how bad does it reflect on me to my friend/contact if I interview and turn the offer down? How would one go about doing that? What if I accepted the offer but then decided to start searching for another job in, say, NY after a few months/a year if I'm not feeling it? Does the short stint look bad on my resume? Will large shops be put off by my only experience being in podunk agencies?
I really would love to hear advice from people who have worked in advertising longer than I have. I set up an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for anyone who would rather message me.