Richard Hal­abi: The dark side of work­ing as an ex­pe­ri­enced cre­ative

Many think that work­ing as a cre­ative di­rec­tor is an amaz­ing ca­reer path to take, a dream job for most… I mean, who wouldn’t want to work in a “cre­ative en­vi­ron­ment” where you can af­ford com­ing late, bounc­ing ideas, and see­ing the “big idea” rolled out on

ArabAd - - CONTENTS - BY RICHARD HAL­ABI A mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary media cre­ative with more than 15 years of ad­ver­tis­ing agency and pro­duc­tion ex­pe­ri­ence through­out the Le­vant, KSA, GCC, and North Africa.

Here are 10 DARK points I had to deal with through­out my jour­ney as an ex­pe­ri­enced cre­ative work­ing in “ad­ver­tis­ing agen­cies” across the Mid­dle East, the GCC, KSA and North Africa for more than 15 years…

1- FROM HERO TO ZERO IN ONE DAY

One day you are the ‘Hero’ of the agency; the next day you are a zero, just be­cause of in­ter­nal agency pol­i­tics.

2- YOUR BALLS AGAINST MINE

You have a big idea!!! Eureka!!! But know this… The ac­cep­tance of your ideas will greatly de­pend on the ego, mood and pol­i­tics of the peo­ple you work with, not the sci­ence and the data be­hind it.

3- THE BLAM­ING GAME

Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tors or Ac­count Di­rec­tors will leave you to present alone your ideas to the client. Not be­cause you are the cre­ative there­fore you are the best to pitch your idea, but in case the client doesn’t get to see it nor hap­pen to like it, they are safe and get no blame from the COO.

4- CRAPPY CLIENTS WANTS FAST CRAP

As a cre­ative you prob­a­bly need an in­spir­ing project you love to work on but at an agency, serv­ing the client comes first, so if the client wants a project to be done no mat­ter what or how, you need to get it done what­ever it is.

5- YOU ARE NOT A FREE MAN YOU ARE JUST A NUM­BER

At an agency, you are just a num­ber, thus ev­ery­one from the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor to the ex­ec­u­tive takes the credit for the sleep­less nights you sac­ri­ficed.

6- MEET THE GREEN EX­PEC­TA­TIONS

Man­ag­ing di­rec­tors tend to over­work their cre­atives so that their num­bers are al­ways green. Ac­count man­agers try to sell as many crappy cam­paigns as they can so their num­bers are green. Mar­ket­ing executives are very de­mand­ing so their num­bers are green. Cre­atives have to work end­less nights to try to meet the green ex­pec­ta­tions.

7- NO OVER­TIME

Cre­atives are of­ten un­der­paid com­pared to the long hours they work; no over­time, no end of year bonus how­ever, if they come late, it will be de­ducted from their salaries.

8- PRES­SURE

Cre­atives are ex­pected to come up with great ideas on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. This puts a lot of pres­sure, not ev­ery­one can deal with.

9- AGAIN NUM­BERS HAVE TO BE GREEN

In some so-called ad­ver­tis­ing agen­cies, cre­atives have to worry about find­ing clients, keep­ing clients and their fi­nan­cial oth­er­wise, the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor will come nag that the agency num­bers are in the red and con­se­quently he will have to ei­ther fire you or lower your pay just to keep the num­bers in the green.

10- THE WAIT­ING GAME

Once you de­cide to leave the agency be­cause you didn’t want to cope with the above, you re­ally have to wait a long time be­fore get­ting hired again. In­terns or fresh grad­u­ates are hired faster to fill the gap since they are cheaper and are not a threat to medi­ocre man­ag­ing di­rec­tors.

So, next time you want to ap­ply to an ad­ver­tis­ing agency as an ex­pe­ri­enced cre­ative, choose with whom you want work with and ask your­self why did the cre­ative be­fore you leave… Good luck.

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