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December 11, 2006


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That's great advice. I have had to excuse myself and head to the ladies room a few times when unwelcome tears cropped up. But if you're crying more than that, I agree you should look again at your agency. You might be in a toxic environment. I think you can be well-adjusted and still do great work.


I think it all depends on the situation. If a person is getting upset over not having their work picked by the client is one thing. If it's a campaign they've been working on for four months and it gets boought then unsold, it's another. Anyone getting upset for any reason in any manner should remove themselves because believe or not. It's seen by weakness by someone either in the agency or on the client side. It's called grace and it doesn't mean you don't give a crap about the work, it means you can do your job without letting your ego get in the way. I've done it all personally, from cry to put fists through walls (or at least attempt to). After a year, I was labelled a hothead and had my opinions basically dismissed constantly. Only after a mentor of mine explained how he could sit through meetings of torture without killing someone or himself, did I find how effective grace could be.

Try this simple exercise. If you're in a meeting and feel like your about to explode or get upset, stop talking, and without show disdain, look the people in the eye. For some unknown reason they either become very insecure and start to babble on and ruin their point or they end up trying to overcompensate and start yelling themselves. It doesn't work all the time but you'd be surprised. Then once they've made a mistake, speak. It looks like you really considered what they said and are giving a thoughtful, effective response. Then go back to your office and knock a few holes in your wall out.


once you've been in the biz for 2 or 3 years, been 'round the block with a few clients or at least had your chance at more than one account, you'll learn the difference between critiquers, criticisers, nay-sayers, and soul-crushers.

often, being quiet in tense meetings is best. when there are too many chefs in the kitchen, and too many egos in the creative soup, it can work out to your advantage to stay cool and calm and quiet. when others have blown off their steam, and you finally get a chance to speak your mind, it will be better received and your ideas will have a fighting chance.

some of the best advice i ever got was from a professor in my last year while working on my portfolio. she said this: 'don't make excuses and never apologize for your work.' that's good advice for all, but especially those who face battle against soul-crushing CDs. be true to you and do your best work.

in the words of sally hogshead (who i heard at HOW in vegas this summer; and sally if you're out there: you rock! and i admire you. keep it up.): "being in a crap job isn't your fault. staying at a crap job is." if it's really that bad, take your creative genius elsewhere.

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