From Been There:
Q: The accounts I'm working on just don't seem to be getting the job done in terms of getting great work for my book. What's the best way to go about doing side assignments? In particular, should I talk to my creative director about it or try and do some things with my partner under the radar?
Talking to your CD about side assignments depends on how comfortable you are with having an open dialogue with him or her. Some CDs won’t mind as long as it doesn’t interfere with the work you’re doing for your agency. It’s a good idea to work on these extra projects off hours, even if you’re keeping it on the down low.
Remember to be respectful of the clients your agency has. For example, if your agency has a pickle account, it’s not cool to write ads for another pickle brand and sell that company your idea. I’ve seen it happen. It’s unprofessional and embarrassing for everyone involved and your reputation can be a huge factor with potential employers.
In some cases, a receptive CD may give you some feedback on how to make your side ads better. Who knows, maybe your CD will love the ideas so much he’ll help you produce it through your agency.
You also should ask yourself if you’ve explored all avenues to do great work where you are. Have you asked your CD if you can work on accounts with more of a creative canvas? Are there any accounts on your agency’s client list where you can carve out an opportunity? If you’ve tried all of this and you still need to do side assignments, you may want to think about moving on. I’ve been in a similar boat, trying to push great creative on my accounts, only to realize it’s been a few years and my book is mediocre. I felt so bummed out I thought I needed a different career. It turns out I just wasn’t at the right place.
If you’re ambitious, and it sounds like you are, I suggest you set goals for yourself and have a five year plan. It sounds cliché, and to be honest, I never did it but kinda wish I did. The industry is so competitive it’s important to do great work within the first 3 years in the business. So if need be, do your side assignments to improve your book, but be careful not to make a career out of it!
- Rose Sauquillo