Thursday, April 5, 2012
There was a great piece published by the SF Egoist recently. It's written by an art director, usually not a good sign, but in this case it's the exception.
The author, Mr. Linds, offers his unique perspective on life in advertising and the unusual demands it made on his now cancer-shortened life.
Thankfully, I'm in excellent health and therefore cannot muster the depth and insight of Mr. Lind. However I did spend many of my years working at Chiat/Day when it earned its moniker Chiat/Day/Night and have my own opinions on the matter of burning the midnight oil.
I simply didn't do it.
I worked late on occasion, sometimes until 7 or 7:30. And I came in on the weekends for new business pitches, particularly when Lee and Bob were there. But by and large I went home at a decent hour and spent time with my family -- though I'm sure there were times my wife and my daughters wished I had stayed the office.
Did this impede my career progress?
But truth be told I had no interest in palling around with upper management at 10 PM just for the sake of appearing like a good company man. And to be completely honest, I never developed the acquired taste for Kool Aid.
I prefer to believe that my slow advancement was due more to my opinionated opinions and the unfiltered expression of those opinions. In fact I'm sure there were times many of my colleagues wished I had gone home earlier.
But wait, there's more. You see I also happen to be a big believer in The Law of Diminishing Returns.
Working late never increased the probability of coming up with the big idea. In fact, it reduced it. Besides unlike other creatives, I don't mosey in to work at 11 o'clock in the morning. I get in at a decent hour and I make with the funny right away. I don't spend a lot of time cavorting or chatting up it with other employees like it's high school. I put my considerable nose to the grindstone and keep it there until 5. Or 5:30, depending on my caffeine intake.
In the end, like Mr. Linds says, it's all just advertising. TV commercials, print ads, websites, and mobile apps, that are utterly disposable. I've never conflated advertising to be anything more than that. It's simply a way to put food on my family's table. Never to be confused with anything lasting or meaningful.
That, I'll save for my novel. Which I plan to get back to as soon as I'm done writing some banner ads for a local colonics clinic.