I Survived My First Year in Advertising (And Got Married at the Same Time)

3 min read

This week, I celebrate my one-year anniversary at Well Done. One year since I stepped out of a career that I’d been preparing for since the first day of undergrad and into an entirely different industry.

Not that the two aren’t related, mind you. But I can admit that they do feel a bit different.

Soon after I started, I joked that the biggest surprise was that I seemed to walk into the only advertising agency sans ping pong table, Nerf guns, or keg-erator. I still haven’t found that darn ping pong table, but I have enjoyed making my way through this crazy new world.

In honor of my paper anniversary, I offer up these random bits:

1. No, I don’t feel like I sold out.

Some folks look at me as if I must feel a kind of darkness in my soul now that I work for a for-profit. It’s not like I’ve gone to work for [insert your own version of a giant, scary, earth-destroying corporation here]. I work at Well Done. Our whole thing is that we work only with clients who make the world a better place somehow.

And, besides, it seems as if most of the nonprofit advertising I admired back in the day was by Well Done in the first place.

2. I’m learning not to fear the “track changes” function.

I won’t lie. I’ve felt pretty smart and successful for most of my professional life. I was a decent writer, marketer, and social media user. I feel proud that I’ve helped to raise the profiles of various organizations, enabling them to further their missions, but I definitely kind of made it up as I went along.

Here, I am surrounded by professionals who have made their whole careers out of each particular piece. And it’s made me better. I’m no longer afraid when a document comes back to me with a bunch of tracked changes on it. I just know that I have access to different resources than I did before. And it helps me to be more successful in my role.

3. Pigging doesn’t mean what you think it means.

I get to meet with all sorts of people in all sorts of jobs in all sorts of companies. The various ways that people make their way in the world professionally are fascinating to me. I love hearing how people ended up on the paths that they are on and how they figured out there was a need for what they do. For example: Who knew there were entire companies dedicated to making machines that clean out food-production lines? (Seriously, it’s called pigging.)

4. Believing in what you’re selling is the most important thing.

I always said that I could never work for a nonprofit whose mission wasn’t something I personally cared deeply about. I wasn’t one of those fundraisers just out looking to win my next big gift, no matter where.

The same applies here. At the heart of it all, I’m fortunate enough to work in a place that I really believe in. I know that my colleagues are the best at what they do, and I get to say that to people every day and mean it. It’s not just a sales tactic.

Or maybe this is just a shameless reason to post a cute wedding photo.
Or maybe this is just a shameless reason to post a cute wedding photo.

5. Marriage is cool.

I got married in March. This is not relevant at all. Except that it is. It contributes to who I am at work every day.

Having a supportive partner at home while I’ve gotten to have this experience has made it even better and brighter than it would have been otherwise. (Thanks, Honey!)