Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The fallacy of loyalty

I came across a podcast the other day. 

It featured a legend of modern day advertising, pimping his new creative venture. I wish him all the best. Though he doesn't need my salutations. This is a guy who has enough award winning work for 10 portfolios. And, if you could measure how much additional value he brought to his agency's clients, it would easily be in the 10 figure range.

He wouldn't be hawking this new venture, if he hadn't been summarily told to grab a cardboard box, stuff it with his French trophy trinkets and vacate his seat at the agency's Long Table of Mediocrity™. Which, again, I hope turns out to be a blessing.

But as many friend and fellow blogger, George Tannenbaum, often writes, that while it's easy to wish good fortune on older creatives who've been shown the door, it's even easier to wish tsuris on the big ad agencies who keep finding themselves re-using staples and re-bending paper clips just to stay financially afloat.

And it boils down to a simple fact: while we showed them loyalty for oh so many years, they reciprocated the blood, sweat, tears and poorly digested late night pizza with pink slips and platitudes. 

Fuck Them.

How many times has an account coordinator swung by your desk at 6 PM asking, "Hey what do want for dinner tonight?" And then come around again at midnight,"Hey we thought we'd get some late night snacks, anything we can get you?" (yeah, get me outta here.)

How many Friday afternoons was there a pit in your stomach? Knowing your weekend plans, could at any moment, depending on the whim of some asshat with three homes and a driver, send out an email with the Subject: 5 Alarm Fire.

And how many end of year reviews went something like this:

"You've done a great job for us. You helped us land the Mahoney account. You helped us save Acme Flick Flacks. And you and your team have so many awards, we have to put up new solid gold shelving in our lobby."

"This is gonna be good,"you thought to yourself."

"Unfortunately, because of belt-tightening and holding company dictates, there are no end of year bonuses."

"What?" you blurt out.

"Yeah, and salaries have been frozen."

Cut to face of disbelief.

"But at least you're still working. At this great place. Some would call you lucky." 

Yes, lucky, that's exactly what you were thinking.

There's a chance this post will resonate with many of you. Because this is not just the story of the podcast guest. It is the story, or at least a variation of it, with all of us. We put in the hours. We made the sacrifices. We showed loyalty to companies that would not return the favor. Even if they could.

My suggestion to you younger folks: Get what you deserve. 

And get it before the changing free marketplace of ideas and innovation gives the ad agencies and their holding companies, what they deserve.

No comments: