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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > ask jancy >  Will getting into the ad biz kill my outside life?

Will getting into the ad biz kill my outside life?


I have been considering going into advertising since I graduated from college. I am really excited about it and will probably be going to a portfolio school this fall. My only concern is this: is there life outside of the agency? It’s so important for me to find a job that I love and I think art direction could be that job, but I don’t want to give up my life, friends, and future family in order to do well.
Do you think most people are satisfied with their lives outside of work, or must one make their work their life in order to succeed in this business?

intro Will getting into the ad biz kill my outside life?This is a topical question. Our industry is having a lot of debate about “life balance”, or lack thereof. When you look at the very top people, they often have this in common: a passionate and all- encompassing focus on advertising. They have spouses who can live with that and they think of it as a great way to spend their days and nights. They love it; it’s not a horrible burden (at least, not all the time). They can’t imagine life any other way. It is arguable that those at the top of any industry experience their jobs in a similar way.

You will find, well short of having “Global Creative Director” on your business card, that advertising seems to invite all participants to show similar devotion. Many creatives struggle mightily with trying to make marriage and family work. It isn’t easy. Do you have to live and breathe it yourself, 24/7? No. Different agencies have different expectations of how many hours it takes to get the job done. There are brilliant places that are sweatshops, and there are those that encourage their people to have a life to stay sane and have somehing to draw on. Being burned out isn’t a great state to be in when you’re trying to do great work. We know of an agency in Toronto that has a masseuse and a meditation session every week. As creative departments have shrunk but workload hasn’t, it’s becoming clearer that something’s gotta give. People are close to cracking up and smart companies have to address the stress levels. There is no rule how this can be achieved.

The life of an art director has to include long hours in our observation. Not all the time, but by definition there is a lot to look after—it’s a job with eight arms. It’s a great job but we won’t kid you on the trickiness of fitting in all the parts of life you value, with any kind of ease. It’s like anything, though—if you really love it, you figure out a way to make your life work.

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About Jancy

'Jancy' is Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Co-Founders of Swim, a unique “creative leadership training lab for advertising creatives and marketers.” Prior to Swim, Jancy was globally renowned as the Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, a position they held for thirteen of the twenty years they were a creative duo at the agency. Over the years they've racked up Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show pencils and CA credits, and have lead their shop to two Cannes Lions Grand Prix and a Grand Clio. They've judged CA, Cannes, D&AD, the One Show, the Clios and other prestigious award shows. Creativity named them two of the top 50 creative people of 2008. Known for their outspoken, no-bullshit style and a passion for mentoring juniors, they're ready to give you advice if you're ready to take it.

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