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7 Things You Learn When You’re New to Agency Life

Somehow I’ve stumbled my way onto the agency scene post-college. Like most newbies do, I’ve found you have to jump right in and either sink or swim.. Most days I’m still trying to keep my head above water, but here’s a few things I’ve learned so far:

  1. There’s no such thing as too much coffee. …or Red Bull for that matter. Basically any and all caffeine. Agencies live off of caffeine, and BBR is no different. If you don’t make it to the coffee pot by 8:05 a.m., you’re making a new one. I’ve gone to the refrigerator too many times to find the Red Bull shelf empty and found myself mad at the person who took the last one and didn’t refill. Who am I turning into!? Agency life made me do it.
  2. Traffic is more than just something you try to avoid on your commute. When I first started working at BBR, I was extremely confused about why everyone I talked to kept bringing up the traffic process. Yes, the morning commute and 5 o’clock traffic were now a dreaded part of my daily routine. But that didn’t mean I wanted to hear about it all day. Then I quickly learned to love traffic. The traffic process is vital to our survival as an agency. Essentially, the traffic process ensures that each project makes its way through the agency, hitting the appropriate person’s desk for review or revisions and leaves the agency without blemish. As a project manager, I work closely with our traffic coordinator to know where projects are at all times. The traffic process is my best friend.
  3. Advertising has its own language. Digital advertising takes that language one step further. Thumbnails, Spec Work, Bleed, Responsive, SEO, PPC… Since I help with both traditional and digital projects, I had to quickly learn both languages. Half the time, I’m sure I sounded like I had no idea what I was talking about. As cliche as it sounds, “fake it til you make it” actually applied this time. Slowly but surely I think I’m learning to sound like a digital advertising wiz—I hope!
  4. Collaboration is key. BBR operates through separate departments to make our agency world go ‘round, but time and time again we’ve found that working together gives us the best results for our clients. I quickly learned that everyone has valuable information and input for a project, so don’t leave anyone out. You may not think that the Digital Department has much input on a print piece, but you never know what ideas they could have for a social media campaign to accompany it.
  5. There’s always a reason to celebrate. Someone’s birthday? An intern’s graduation? Friday afternoon for Beer thirty? BBR knows how to throw a party. At least once a week, we have a reason to give cheers in the agency. Like most agency employees, I now don’t think this is the least bit unusual. My non-agency friends joke about how we always find a reason to have a drink, but I think they’re just jealous. Hey, it’s all part of the company culture right?
  6. There’s never enough time in the day. No matter how much work you get done in those eight hours, you never seem to have enough. Sometimes you feel as though you’re going to drown in the paper and proofs that make their way to your desk. There’s no time to think or slow down, but we always manage to find a way (to celebrate, of course!)
  7. Timesheets – can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. Speaking of time, the concept of billable vs. non-billable hours was completely foreign to me before I entered the workforce. Now my day consists of tracking the time I spend working for clients vs. time I spend helping with agency tasks. No one likes the dreaded task of filling out timesheets, but fortunately, as with most things we do, BBR has found a way to make it entertaining. Timesheet Bingo for a chance at a day off? Timesheets have never been more fun! Wait, did I just say that?