“Fortune favors the bold.”
I’m not sure when I first heard that phrase, but it was either during a war movie or a BBQ potato chip commercial. You grow up dreaming of making bold decisions, but very rarely are you offered opportunities to make them. And even when you get a chance to make one, fear often rears its ugly head, forcing you to run away like a child dipping his or her toe in the ocean.
Just a few months ago, I was in the throngs of fear. After years of being unsatisfied in my career path, I reminded myself I was not a settler. Rather than be in a nice stable relationship, I wanted to be with a vibrant, energetic dreamer, someone who challenged and brought out the best in me. Side note: hopefully that’s the last time I compare jobs to dating.
Long before Matthew Weiner dreamed of Mad Men, I was drawn to advertising. It catered to my artistic tendencies, while employing my love of research. Also, have you ever met a boring person in the advertising industry? Even if they aren’t your cup of tea, you have to admit it’s a hell of a drink.
So the decision to pursue a career in advertising was a bold but easy one. But first, I had to figure out how to get my foot in the door. Obtaining an internship seemed like the best route. And that is when the fear hit me. I went to a family friend who worked in the industry, to tell him my intentions, secretly hoping he would set me straight. If my desire to learn the advertising industry was an itch, then he would throw me in a pool of Goldbond. Itch gone. Eternally extinguished.
“I think that’s great.” He said.
Great? The word used to describe Alexander of Macedon was being applied to me wanting to be an intern. Me. An adult (I prefer the term advanced Lost Boy). Forsaking a salary for a summer gig normally reserved for college kids. It would be like that movie no one saw, where Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson interned at Google.
But like I said, fortune favors the bold and nothing good comes without a little risk. And after my first month of interning at Fieldtrip, I feel absolutely fortunate. In his 1983 book Ogilvy On Advertising, David Ogilvy wrote this on advertising agencies, “I don’t know any other trade which offers such variety. The atmosphere is extraordinarily stimulating. Agencies are psychological hothouses. You will never be bored.” Hyperbolic as that sounds, it’s actually somewhat of an understatement. While I have grown accustomed to the sheer number of moving parts in this agency, I am still impressed with how well-oiled this machine is. Despite all the components, efficiency is still maintained.
How is that possible? It’s too early for me to tell, but I know it’s not possible without extraordinary people. And that has been the best part of my time here: being surrounded by people that are as passionate and curious as me. Everyone truly strives to be better, and when an entire company does that, everything clicks in a uniquely perfect harmony. For the first time in my life, I don’t dread going into work when my alarm goes off.
Ogilvy also said, “at the start of your career in advertising, what you learn is more important than what you earn” and I have already learned so much. While I am still in my honeymoon phase, I am excited to continue soaking up information, and prepare myself for the marriage (when apparently things aren’t as easy).