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The Do’s and Don’ts of Starting a New Job at an Agency

[lead]Oh hello! I didn’t see you there…let me introduce myself, my name is Jen Layton and I am the newest member of the Walk West (formerly Greenroom Communications) team.[/lead]
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I am very excited to be part of such an amazingly talented and delightfully hilarious team of people. I could go on and gush about them some more with an additional slew of adjectives and metaphors, but I’ll spare you.

Instead, let’s get down to why you’re here (assuming, of course, that you know why you’re here…there’s a good chance you just got lost down the Internet rabbit hole and ended up here.) Whether you’re setting out to find your very first ad agency job, switching career paths, or simply wondering about this #agencylife hashtag that you keep seeing on Instagram, you’ve stumbled into the right place. These do’s and don’ts don’t just apply to the ad agency world, however, they are also good to remember for many new jobs, especially those with a collaborative lifestyle. So let’s dive in, shall we?

DO – Ask a lot of questions. Just because you’re qualified for the job and were chosen for it, doesn’t mean people expect you to know everything right away. What they do expect you to do is speak up and ask questions if you are unsure about something, rather than trying to attack it blindly. Here’s some typically essential questions that I like to ask:

  • Do you have a particular format you like to use when sending content to clients?
  • Where is the bathroom?
  • Where do I access (or where should I save) the files for this project?
  • What are the good lunch spots around here? (Usually followed closely by: “Are you hungry?”)

DON’T – Worry too much if you make a mistake. Mistakes happen. Sometimes you send “Hi Boob” in an email to your client instead of “Hi Bob” (true story.) We’re all human. The best thing to do is to own up to the mistake right away and then work on a solution to fix it, that way your team can help you make it right.

DO – Learn how to use the coffee maker. No two coffee machines are the same. Just because you’ve made coffee before, doesn’t mean you won’t forget to move that one little knob that keeps the pot from overflowing into a giant puddle, forcing you to use up all the paper towels on your second day of work. Ask someone how to use the office coffee maker, and then watch how happy people are to come in and find fresh coffee ready and waiting the next day.

DON’T – Be afraid to share your ideas during meetings. Ideas fuel the world – especially the marketing world. A good company will never ostracize you for sharing an idea – they may stare at you blankly for a moment, but they aren’t going to call you a moron or anything! That’s because good companies never want to stop the flow of ideas. Think about it, someone once pitched the idea to have four giant talking turtles live in a sewer and learn to become ninjas from their father (who is a rat) so they can save the city. Oh and they’re teenagers and love skateboarding and pizza. Someone really pitched that, and it worked.

DO – Wear a lot of hats. One of the great things about agency life is your day-to-day job is rarely the same. You’re continuously taking on new, challenging and unique projects, and there aren’t cookie-cutter answers for them. Because of this, you’ll have the opportunity to wear a lot of hats and learn a lot of new skills – take these opportunities! My title may say “Social Media Manager,” but in the one month that I’ve been here, I’ve already helped stage a full-day photo shoot, been filmed for a reality show, recorded vocals for a song, and produced a city council campaign video. Never stop learning.

Got any more advice on agency life or starting a new job? How about a story that will make us chuckle? Comment below to share your wisdom, or connect with us on Walk West’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages for an even more inside peek into our crazy agency lives!

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