Dec3

The Difference Between a Job and the Work

How many times have you been asked by family and friends “what type of work do you do?” And, how many times have you struggled with how to answer the question? How exactly do you respond in a way that they understand? Do you share the details of your daily job, the challenges you may encounter? Do you focus on the trials and tribulations of the daily routine? Or, do you express a sense of the work you are involved in-the mission you dedicate your life to each and every day?

The Eternal Pursuit of Unhappiness - courtesy of instagram.com/ogilvymather

If you’ve read The Eternal Pursuit of Unhappiness published by Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide in 2009, you know that it speaks to the 8 habits of creative communities. They include courage, idealism, curiosity, playfulness, candour, intuition, free-spiritedness, and persistence. The overall messages are geared toward how to turn bad habits, discontent, and sour attitudes into good. And while the book generally speaks to the corporate culture, the work, it also serves up lessons for how we can improve as human beings on a personal level, how to create better life experiences, the work.

Recent television news reports smack of intolerance, bully behavior, lack of teamwork, and lack of respect. If commentators, other “leaders”, and global influencers worked a bit harder at the 8 habits, wouldn’t we be in a better state of mind and actually do a better job at motivating and helping people instead of shutting them down and making them feel disillusioned, in a state of hopelessness, despair, and unhappiness? The “work”, in my mind, is the inner sense of positivity, of paying forward, of keeping true to yourself in an environment of negativity; of lending a hand, of championing an idea when it’s not popular, of having the courage to stand up for what is right regardless of who is advocating, and for defending the character of the effort, having someone’s back, especially when you know that they have given their time and made every effort to move the needle forward. Whether you are in the workplace or at “your home base,” being principled-at all times-is the work.

So perhaps when someone asks you again what you do, think a bit about describing the work you do versus the job you do. What is your contribution to improving healthcare in a positive way for our clients and the pharmaceutical industry as a whole? What eventually benefits the consumers? For example, helping patients who need financial assistance to gain access to the therapies they need to improve their well-being. The more we focus on the ideas and campaigns we create, the honesty and spirit we bring to work each and every day, the teamwork we encourage, the wisdom and passion we pass on to the junior staff, the energy we exhibit and the expressions of thanks we send out, the more grace we practice, the more we instill energy and pride in the organization, we create the place of happiness the book speaks about. In addition, there are many wonderful, positive, and impressive statements of work and demonstrations of community support (whether it be local, state, or global) that Ogilvy employees contribute to on a regular basis. To name a few, there are the personal mentoring efforts, the Chrysalis Initiative, YouEarnedIt, Community Service Day, AHA Heartwalk, Tunnel to Towers Run and Walk, Jersey Cares Coat Drive, and the Community Foodbank of NJ, and Dress for Success. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of similar organizations Ogilvy employees touch in hopes to create a better world.

So ask yourself ….. What line of work are you in???

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Also posted in advertising, agency life, Blogging, career decisions, Creativity, Culture, Great Ideas, Health & Wellness, leadership, Personal Reflections, Work-life | Comments closed
Oct30

Learning to Speak Agency

Learning to speak agency Thumbnail 130x130When I started at my first agency, after 10 years at a medical journal, I knew there would be things I would need to learn. I knew the work would have a different focus, and there would be more people and more steps involved in going from manuscript to finished product. But I was not prepared for the flood of unfamiliar acronyms and jargon I encountered. Sure, I understood what a word-for-word (aka WFW or W4W) was, I knew that “stet” meant I had been overruled, and I could expand NCCN without even looking it up. But what in the world did “PRC,” “AFP,” or “CTA” mean?

Fortunately, I had extremely helpful team members and colleagues who got me up to speed on all the new terminology, and within a month or two I was rattling off cryptic acronyms with the best of them. But as I gained more experience in the agency setting, with different accounts, different clients, and eventually different agencies, I realized that even within the insular world of agency life, there was incredible variation. It’s only been five years (and three different clients) for me so far, but I’ve already heard more than six different terms used to describe the committee each client has to review work for medical accuracy, legal risk, and regulatory compliance. And what do we call those hardworking folks who take our beautifully constructed print and digital pieces out into the field? No, not “reps”—they’re COSs, FMLs, TBMs, AEs, ARMs, and probably hundreds of other titles I’ve yet to come across.

There’s not much we can do to stem the tide of terminology that comes at us from clients, regulatory bodies, professional associations, and our own organizations. Each agency, each client, each branch of healthcare, each disease state, comes with its own lexicon that we must master. We are in the business of communication, and so it falls to us to absorb the unique language we find ourselves awash in, and learn to harness its power and beauty to shape our clients’ messages in a way that will captivate, educate, and effect change.

Still, language doesn’t need to be an impenetrable barrier, keeping out the uninitiated and insulating the inner circle from the rest of the world. Let’s make sure we’re taking the time to explain unfamiliar terms to new team members, keeping tools like style guides and cheat sheets up to date and easily accessible, and above all, talking to each other—across accounts, departments, and disciplines—about what has worked for us, what our challenges are, and what opportunities we have to explore new paths and keep growing as creative entities. And don’t be afraid to ask questions—especially if you’re new. We promise, we won’t laugh when you ask what a “job bag” is.

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Also posted in advertising, agency life, behavior change, Branding, Culture, Digital Advertising, Direct-to-Consumer, Great Ideas, Healthcare Communications, Marketing, Strategy | Comments closed