Instability can be synonymous with agency life. You have days where you hop a flight to attend a fancy trade show, your client approves everything you put in front of them, or you kill it at a pitch you’ve been preparing for weeks, maybe win a brand new piece of business, and expense a glamorous dinner afterward. But agency life has its major ups and downs. The last several months have filled with incredible instability for my team members and me. We’ve lost business. I’ve had to let great people go 2 weeks before Christmas. What used to be busy weekdays filled with long lists of well-planned endless tasks has turned into hours tracked to “the transition period,” where the marketing programs we’ve developed and maintained for years are deconstructed and handed to another agency. This is obviously not the most enjoyable time right now. But it happens. And to view this phenomenon as a daunting and sudden surprise is foolish and irresponsible.
It can be sooo cool to work at an agency… fun office, big brands, food during your meetings, food after other people’s meetings… but what comes with the perks is the undeniable volatile nature of this business. Prior to the job I have now, the longest I’ve stayed at any agency, before moving onto the next one, is two and half years. The reality is that change is inevitable in agency life, and you need to be prepared to adjust and adapt.
New clients come into the mix that don’t necessarily understand or agree with what you’ve strategized with previous clients. Clients decide they want to diversify their vendors and not put all their eggs in one basket (your basket). Clients are presented with solutions from your competitors that may not contain all the pieces you offer, but are cheaper. The cruel irony is that you can be doing the best job in the world, and all of the above can still happen… I’m not trying to be a downer- my point is that you shouldn’t torture yourself and dwell on what you could have, should have, done. Because it can be completely out of your control.
During tough times in agency life (or any life), where things are far from rainbow sprinkles and donut fillings, it’s totally fine to give yourself some time to sulk. You need to. You’ve invested a lot of time and energy into your account and it’s absolutely understandable to be disappointed if you lose that business. Just don’t let it turn into an exhausting, overdone wallow. Or worse, an exhausting fit of anger and resentment. It’s not worth it and you’re not doing yourself, or anyone else, any good. It’s how quickly you recover, and react in a productive, professional manner, that’s going to make the difference.
Losing a contract, an account, a client… sucks. But it’s not the end of the world. Other projects will come, new accounts, new jobs even. It’s important to realize this quickly, so we can pick ourselves up and keep moving. And not just at work, we need to keep our personal lives moving as well. I know I always complain about not having good work life balance. When things are a little up in the air at work, instead of just waiting around for the dust to settle, this is actually the perfect time to reset – make time for some exercise, buy healthy groceries, go to a movie on a weeknight… take care of yourself, be cool and DO FUN STUFF.