Yesterday, a bunch of us from Well Done Marketing were sitting around the lunch table talking about some friends who work at other companies who weren’t having any fun. To a person, we shook our heads and made jokes at their expense. Not in a mean-spirited way. Actually, we felt sad for them.
Why? Because advertising is crazy and stressful. You’re only as good as your last ad or TV spot or web design. Deadlines are ridiculous–always have been, always will be. Your work will be compromised along the way because the budget’s too small or your client doesn’t quite see the concept the way you do. You’ll be rejected. The work you think is the best you’ve ever done will be met with a shrug. It’s frustrating and disappointing and insane.
So you might as well have fun.
We’re quite serious about our fun. We’re all trying to create, so our minds wander into weird territory, anyway. We play with words–rearrange them and shape them and make them up. We compete to see who can do the Jumble the fastest. (It’s not even close.) We make up ridiculous band names. We try to make each other laugh. Sometimes, we’re like the writers’ room on a comedy show: anything for a laugh.
And we laugh a lot.
We eat lunch together often; we all go out for lunch together on Fridays. At 3:37 on Friday afternoons, when most of the
workaday world is watching the clock and counting the seconds until the whistle blows, we get together for beers. Sometimes, we watch videos (and laugh). Sometimes, we sit on the front porch and talk about our upcoming weekends (and laugh).
We don’t have fun just in our office. We work with people we like. We’re thankful for our partners at St. Claire Group, our friends in the production community, our clients. We’re lucky to work with so many smart, talented people who take their jobs seriously–but don’t take themselves too seriously.
And, you know what? Our work is better because of it.
Life is too short to be miserable, especially when the work you do is so stressful and difficult. Stressful and difficult, yes–but no one’s going to die if we make mistakes, and we’re not digging ditches in the 100-plus degree summer heat. We have comfortable offices, and lots of freedom. If we’re not coming up with good ideas at the office, we go to the coffee shop. Or home. The creative muse is fickle. Sometimes, she visits us in the middle of the night. Sometimes, she visits us during 3:37 beers on Friday. Sometimes, we’re working crazy hours to meet those crazy deadlines, anyway. (As I write this, it’s 5 a.m., and I have work-related email from Well Done employees that came it at 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. At least four of us are up and working right now on projects that have to deliver today.)
The great ad man Jerry Della Femina once called advertising “the most fun you can have with your clothes on.” We try to live that every day. And, on that note: if you’re around Fountain Square this afternoon, please feel free to join us for a beer.