MAY CHAKER, a Leo Burnett Communication Executive, walks us through a typical work day at the agency, around her peers with whom she spends more time than she does with her families.
As my alarm rings on Thursday morning, I wake up and ponder for a moment, should I snooze? I so desperately want to snooze. No no, this will not be that kind of day. Today is going to be a good day. Breakfast takes a little longer than anticipated but who cares, it’s not like I work at a bank. I’m just going to be a little rebel and show up at 9:35 AM.
I get to the office and Nour is yelling at Samer for shaving, he looks like a 12 year old. We share a workstation so we call each other the ‘Islanders’ because it’s cooler to have nicknames. I take a glance at my emails and think, “Thank the mighty heavens, no emergencies.” I head to the digital department to find Tony at once, and he delivers the news I want to hear, the coffee is ready!
I return to my desk with the only mug my mother would part with: It’s an ugly Christmas mug. And now that I’ve mentioned Christmas, you should know that it’s August and I’ve been listening to Christmas carols all month because Nour’s Christmas brief HAS to launch in summer. I check my email again and of course the Client needs more working files. “What do they keep doing with all these working files?!” I wonder, but I cast the thought aside because I have bigger fish to fry. Alright, it’s time to trot across the hallway and go through today’s job list with the creatives. It’s not always rainbows and butterflies with those guys, but for the most part, we tend to love each other. One time a friend of a friend accused me of working at “that Agency where you willingly hang out with each other after work like you’re all in a cult.” I mean I can’t help that we’re so tight knit we spend more time with each other than we do with our families.
When I finish my rounds in the Creative department, I answer some serious emails and by the time it’s 11:30 I’m already starving. Of course that is when Raphael decides to order a disgusting three-cheese man’ouche with extra sesame and ham and gets the entire open space on board because I work with a bunch of gluttons who want to make me fat. I hold off until lunch only to find that Raphael has three slices of lasagna, a side salad, and extra cheese. No matter, I’m happy with my healthy lunch because I made it and I love to cook. I am guilty of
the crime of predominant food content on my Instagram, I’m not even sorry.
Post lunch is meeting time. We’re brainstorming with the team on some activation for some brand and with every sitcom reference and inappropriate joke we make we get closer to cracking a great campaign idea. And while we’re always amused by each other’s quirks and flamboyant wardrobes, we are the black sheep of the building, which is populated almost exclusively by banks and consulates, AKA people who judge us for wearing jeans all the time and taking the scooter into the elevator. One time, we kidnapped one of the creatives and offered to sell her to the Agency across the street. The bank people were not amused.
Now I need to focus on finishing some awfully long presentation. But don’t you dare call it a presentation, it transcends Powerpoint format to reach the far more illustrious form of a DECK. And by the time I decide I’ve had just about enough of my screen, Surprise! Our campaign launch is now four days earlier and here comes the drill: Is the visual done retouching? Can it be done in an hour? Ok. Can we finish AW tonight? What accounts are you working on? I’ll get Grace to push your deadlines. Prioritise this! I know we always say it’s an emergency, it is! Can the supplier deliver in three days? How about partial quantities? Work with me! I’ll wait for the proof just call him! Time for media. What is the latest we can give you the AW? Can we push that? The Client went home?! She can’t check PDFS on her
If I were to choose the one thing that makes our Agency what it is, I would always inevitably say the people.
phone! Send jpegs. Get approval. Launch printing. Sigh in relief.
Just in time, Nadia and Philippe stroll in from the creative department all packed and ready. Drinks in Mar Mkhayel are basically my birth right at this point and here we are yet again at the same bar ordering the same drinks and being as predictable as my friend’s friend accused us of being. We don’t care, we own it!
I get home at midnight, text everyone to make sure they’re alive, and I go to sleep happy because I love those guys, we are friends first and colleagues after. And if I were to choose the one thing that makes our Agency what it is, I would always inevitably say the people.
There’s a lighthearted vibe in the Agency, everyone is working but it doesn’t stop Samer from playing a little music. It’s Friday morning and life is good.
Over a Coffee
Tarek Atrissi, Designer, creative director and founder of Tarek Atrissi Design, the Netherlands, has been selected to take part of the international "Flags of Peace" project whereby top designers from every country will design their own take on how the peace flag should be visualised. Among the designers, prominent names include Milton Glaser, Wim Crouwel, Reza Abdeni, Helmi El-touni and many more. The results will be exhibited in the city of The Hague in the Netherlands during the International Day of Peace on 21 September.
Instagram feed @maychaker