Keeping the flame of hope alive in advertising

Advertising industry isn't always as cool as in Emily in Paris. Here two tips to keep the hopeful attitude alive and well

We’d like to extend an offer for you to join our company.

Let’s be real. When you see or hear those words, you get some mixed feelings. Excited for a new opportunity and hopeful for the future. But you’re also nervous and scared; new co-workers, new environment, even a new city or country.

For those entering their first ever full-time job, after looking through countless entry-level jobs on LinkedIn requiring four years of experience, internships, and a gruelling ‘many stage’ interview process, the positive feelings can greatly prevail over the negatives.

Trust me, I know. I lived that experience just under a year and a half ago, when I first walked into a creative ad agency. The first couple of months in the industry are pretty cool; learning more about the agency and what people do, the fun work events, and most importantly, seeing the amazing work that’s been or currently being put out. Work that makes one hopeful to do the same, if not better.

Just one problem. Over time, that sense of hope seems to gradually fade away. And for good reason. The advertising industry isn’t as it seems. Every time I tell someone what I do, 80% of the responses I get (in my experience), are “Oh, so like Emily in Paris.”  

To them, I say:

  1. Re-evaluate your choice of Netflix shows (sorry, not sorry)
  2. Give them a reality check, because the industry isn’t always as glammed and easy as shown on the show

At the end of the day, we do work in an industry that is emotionally stressful. No matter how exciting the project or the pitch is, there’s a good chance of burning out and losing that sense of hope you had when you first started. But I’m an optimist. So here I am, with two tips for those at their first jobs (or even seasoned professionals) on what I do to keep that hopeful attitude in me alive and well.

No matter what, try to be curious and keep yourself informed

We’re in an industry filled with people from different ages, educational backgrounds, and cultures; and this isn’t just within the agency you work in. There are countless awards ceremonies, conferences, seminars, debates, etc. on different, cool, and relevant topics, attended and hosted by some of the smartest and intellectual minds you can think of.

So, try your best to engage with others at your company and go to those events. Talk to people. Ask them questions. Learn from their experiences. Gain new perspectives. Be curious.

There’s a quote that says, “Curiosity is little more than another name for hope.” So yeah, curiosity is worth it in the end.

Always remember that the work we do can have huge impact

While the whole point of our industry is to make sure our clients’ business succeeds through creative work, we’ve had a fair share of work that has impacted people, fought for change, and even potentially changed lives.

Our industry turned a hand gesture into a call for help from domestic abuse. Our industry fought to end virginity tests. Our industry came up with a solution to save lives from wildfires and other natural disasters. Heck, our industry came up with Dumb Ways to Die, which went from a simple song to a fun game, to, as of the date of posting this piece, its current tragic fate as a TikTok trend. Need I go on?

Now picture all that work and try to imagine yourself working on something like it in the future. Imagine yourself becoming an enabler of impact.

Now that’s hopeful.

Featured image: Projektov_Aleksand / Canva

Mohammad El Tayech, Strategic Planner, TBWA\RAAD

Upon completing his master’s degree in business & data analytics, Mohammad joined TBWA\RAAD as a strategist in 2021, where he brings fresh insights and perspectives as the youngest member of the planning department. In just under two years of advertising experience, he has acquired extensive knowledge in sectors such as telecommunications, banking, automotive, and healthcare, and currently works with leading brands in the Middle East, including MAX Fashion, McVitie’s, and Ulker

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