Rhea Korban: My Life in Advertising
Account Manager at Y&R affirms that there is never a typical day in the life of an account handler. Everyday introduces new challenges, especially on Mondays. In response, she tries not to lose her mind by putting a confident and strong front, while trying to overcome real struggles by balancing some craziness with madness, which is what keeps her going! No wonder her preferred motto is, “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire”. Another, is a line from the movie Alice and the Mad Hatter, which reads: “Have I gone mad? I’m afraid so, you’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret, all the best people are.”
6:30AM: back to reality, wake up. I know it’s weird, but Mondays are my favourite. Before you call me all sorts of names, let me explain why. They are full of potential: they represent a week that has yet to be lived and endless possibilities on accomplishing great things. Mondays are the first day of a week of life—a week we’ll never get back. And for all the girls out there reading this article let me remind you that Benedict Cumberbatch was born on a Monday! After my morning routine that mainly consists of showering, playing dress-up and drinking my sacred coffee, I get to the office at 8:40AM to get a head-start on the week. 8:40AM: I have a brand new work week to make change and set a new course. I naturally start by taking a quick look at the week’s status report that was prepared on Friday night, skim through the priorities, read my emails; especially loving the ones that I received on Sunday at 1AM – lovely – then I jump into our regular 9:30AM internal meeting, briefing the creative team on their jobs for the week, setting the traffic and dividing tasks. Of course, things come up that you didn’t anticipate. It depends on your clients’ mood, if they had too much “arak” at their Sunday lunch, if they lost against their friend while playing “tawle”… all sorts of stuff. 10AM: Client check-in: my clients start to get tickly, it’s their time now. “I’m here”, this is how my regular Monday morning phone calls take their jump. I’m now going through the week with my clients, assuring them that everything is on the right track, setting our weekly meeting, managing priorities and taking on new projects. More importantly, telling them how amazing it felt to receive “urgent” emails on your day off that made me wake up with a stomach ache. 11AM: Grind By that time of the day, it’s the actual opportunity to have some real work done. My day is packed so I need to get the most out of these couple hours. I throw on my headphones and zone out into the land of Powerpoints, Word and Excel. Setting strategies, brand building documents, business boosters’ recommendations, communication plans: that’s the real beauty of advertising. That’s the part you look forward to the most; that feeling of taking a brand from one point to another by making it top of mind and setting it apart from the rest. That part doesn’t last as long as you would like it too because there’s always an annoying request that comes in out of nowhere or a bored colleague who “urgently” needs your advice on their fight with their boyfriend/ girlfriend. And everyone keeps wondering how I’ve gone mad over time… Surprising huh? 2PM: Team check-in This is the time of the day where I sit again with my team to check on the work flow, delegate new tasks and make sure that they’re as motivated as ever. Whenever the work load gives you time to breathe, I love giving them mindexpanding exercises that grow their knowledge and feed their soul – which they obviously hate to do but sadly they did not understand that despising me makes me want to do it even more. You got to love my sadistic side! 4PM: Afternoon latte This is where my day starts over as if it were 8:40AM all over again. So, I have a quick run to the nearest Starbucks, grab my second coffee and get all fueled up – this is what we call a coffee overdose. I like to sit in the nearest conference room to wrap my head serenely around everything; have a second look at my projects, presentations, upcoming meetings and business development prospects. 6:30PM: Start to wrap-up – or not. This is one of my favourite parts of the day. Everyone has gone home, my music is on, finally some peace and quiet. This is where I usually prepare for an early morning meeting or just want to get ahead and fit in the last bit of work. Balance is key, especially if you’re in love with your work. Being an account handler can be hard – to say the least - but when you treat yourself to a glass of wine after work and feel the satisfaction of what you’ve accomplished in retrospective, then this is the life I would recommend to anyone. Hmm, no, definitely not anyone, only the Mad Hatters out there! Then feeling proud of what I’ve achieved and realising how blessed I am to work in advertising, to do something I love.