Tuesday, 28 August 2007

It's Nice to be Nice...

Football's 'Mr Nice Guy'

Or, 'Why being an arsehole gets you nowhere'.

Picture the scene. You've managed to get into the industry, at long long last. And (quite rightly), you are dead chuffed.

Now, there are usually two reactions to this. You either 1) Become very humble, yet confident about your place in the industry or 2) Start acting like a little Hitler, believing that other people who haven't gotten in are inferior, and that you somehow have a God given right to preach mantras at others.

It's pretty obvious that the latter is only practiced by toss pieces. And I'm sure whoever that's reading this is thinking 'oh no, I've never acted like that'. Rubbish. We all have our little Hitler moments, when the ego's a little overinflated. The trick is to keep them to a minimum, helped out by recognising that we don't, in fact, know everything, and advertising is, after all, just a career, one of many - no more right or wrong than anything else.

But (and the reason for this post), you, Mr or Ms potential grad recruit, you should never ever act like option two before you get into the business. No, no acting like you know it all from the outset. You really don't know why that ad isn't very good - and why would you? It could have been client conflict or some form of agency self interest.

Be a pleasant person. There was an agency grad form of a few years ago which had a question about 'being on a train with someone', and how you'd keep fellow agency folk interested. Well, I'm not prescribing being the most 'interesting' person in the world, because God knows, enough supposed trendier agencies will make the mistake of equating trendy with good at your job. No, you'll be interesting by being a nice guy or gal, and by talking about what you're interested in - whether it's the Norwegian Leather Industry or the Gold Standard, or your Skydiving at the weekends.

And, God knows, this industry is small enough. I'm meeting people who interviewed me a year or so ago now; it's a damned echo chamber. Chances are, you'll end up working with those people. So be nice. It's always worth it in the long run.

NB: Being nice doesn't mean being boring though - be engaging, for God's sake. You don't want to get to interview and just nod and smile without getting your interviewer/s to talk. That's the worst thing in the world.


Jack Bauer said...

ahhhI was just halfway through writing a post similar to this before I went off to a meeting!

damn you and your free time Will!

I'll have to post it just for blog's sake though. sorry!

Will said...

Mwa hahaha...ah, the life of a freelancer.

Post away my man, post away.

Will said...

This was posted by Anon (not sure how it got deleted, but never mind):

"Having said that, this could equally go against you in many agencies that are aggressive in nature. Whilst many collegues are friends it's not why I'm here and many others for that matter, so to an extent I think it's misleading to sell this industry as a nice place for nice people. That simply is not true nor will it stand you in a good place to be everyone's friend."

Oh, I'm not saying be a wet blanket. Be confident in your own abilities - being wet is perhaps the worst thing you can be at interview.

No industry is exclusively staffed with nice people - and I'd refute the tag that the post sells it as a nice place for nice people - not true; there are arseholes everywhere. The trick is being nice whilst doing your job well.

Be on your guard when talking to people - of course. But that's true of life as well; and so's not coming across as an opinionated bugger.