Monday, April 01, 2013

Advertising – The place where ‘mis-fits’ fit

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, where we blog on one alphabet every day of April. 26 alphabets & 26 days (Sundays off). Starting with 'A' on April 1, 'B' on April 2 and so on and so forth. 






So, here goes my first post:

 
Many many years ago I decided to move out of my comfort zone of being a Chartered Accountant and venture into unknown. Simply because I was bored of working with numbers and didn’t think of myself doing it for a better part of my life. I had no idea of what I could do next and therefore, experimented with a couple of things before stumbling upon advertising in December 2010. 

When the person interviewing me learnt about my background of accountancy and my intention of joining an ad agency, he asked me whether I was the fourth idiot missing in the movie ‘3 Idiots’!  After joining the advertising bandwagon, I would very honestly admit, I received a sort of a cultural shock. Having seen the corporate, extremely business-like, formal, uptight and a little conservative work environment in CA days, ad agency on the outside was what MTV used to look like in 1990s – brash, in your face, casual and strange. I had seen women smoking in English sitcoms or may be some foreigners roaming in Connaught Place, and when I saw my colleagues holding their smoke breaks as sacrosanct, I was a bit shocked or whatever. I was learning each day. Learning not just the work but also blending in. 

As I made friends with people around, I started getting comfortable and realized that it is a world of very different inhabitants. And I found myself slowly fitting in the jungle. To my surprise, after having been in this industry for over 2 years now, I find myself to have belonged here all along. 

When I say, advertising is the place for the mis-fits, I say it because:

  • No other profession accommodates/absorbs an engineer, doctor, lawyer, college-dropout, CA, MBA or anyone who is crazy or thinks he doesn’t belong to a conventional career option
  • An advertising agency is full of people from all backgrounds, colors, regions and religions. This will sound stupid, but I met my first Muslim friend here and today she is one of my closest friends. And there are people from Assam to Kerala, from Bihar to Rajasthan, all with a common passion for advertising and having that ‘weird streak’ in them
  • Yes, we all breathe, eat, drink and sleep. But whats and hows of breathe, eat, drink and sleep differentiate us in advertising from the rest of the world. Breathing in a lot of smoke, eating at erratic hours, drinking..(leave it!) and sleeping for the sake of sleeping. That’s how the majority does it
  • We have a big social circle and everything but there are times we can’t sit through a normal conversation happening in the family/extended family/family functions etc. Not that we don’t love our families but simple topics like getting a bank account opened or buying a washing machine for home or shopping for a cousin’s wedding are some of the things where our minds take off on a different flight
  • We call names. We swear. We use cuss words. Most of us do. And this is one of the things which you try to control when you are outside your agency and are in the normal world. And in the normal world, nobody appreciates this rather brash quality of yours. Whether it is your family or ‘non-advertising’ friends
  • We work hard and we celebrate life in general.  But we have our ways or style to celebrate. Essentially involves booze, chicken, smokes, trashing the ads done by some other agency in a cramped office cabin or an aesthetically done-up house of a senior fellow and we celebrate
  • We never could fit in the usual 9 to 5 corporate hours and that’s why advertising is home
There are times when I feel disoriented and disillusioned from work, people and lifestyle. I think of leaving this all for something better. I know I will find something better but would that take me for the eccentric, crazy that I am, I am not sure. Advertising is fun, weird and mad and I am, for now, very ok with it.


P. S The opinions expressed in the post are completely from my point of view. It is just a light-hearted take on the profession and is not meant to offend anyone. So, read it just for entertainment please! J

49 comments:

  1. what a way to take off. Great.

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  2. Interesting change of career. You define who you are and what you want to do, that's admirable. Good luck! Have fun with the A to Z challenge!
    With great respect! Ambrozya

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    1. Definitely interesting! Going decent so far. :-)
      Thanks so very much for dropping by!

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  3. Interesting change of career. You define who you are and what you want to do, that's admirable. Good luck! Have fun with the A to Z challenge!
    With great respect! Ambrozya

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  4. That made for an interesting read! Have visited a lot of agencies (for those ' Super Urgent' works) during the brand management days and the work culture and a different kind of camaraderie between colleagues and even the decor of the agency always filled me with awe! And the dress culture... OMG!! :D

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    1. Hahaha!! Shilpa! The dress culture is one reason I am at home in advertising! :P
      Thanks for dropping by!

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  5. I think I want to switch over to Advertising !
    I work in a corporate environment with Japanese clients where its all seriousness and formal clothes and strict timings .. sigh !!

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    1. Come Ruchira! Advertising shall welcome you with open arms.
      And let me come to your side of work. Atleast I will get to travel to Japan and see Cherry Blossom!

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  6. Since you are okay with the weirdly mad fun world, what else matters? :)

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    1. Shail, and then...nothing else matters! :-)
      Thank you for dropping by!

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  7. from CA to ads- now taht sure is interesting and good for you to follow your heart.good start to the challenge.

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    1. Thank you Priya! And good luck to you too for the challenge!

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  8. Interesting. Your work place seems to be my type. Its good to be "Absorbed" in work some times. The final thing is U shud enjoy it after taking a plunge in to it
    Enjyed reading this Naina Madan

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it Afshan! For now, yes I am enjoying it. :-)
      Good luck with the challenge!

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  9. Wow! Didn't realized you had changed professions so dramatically, Naina. I love it when people follow their hearts. More power to you, lady!

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    1. Thank you Corinne! I usually follow what my heart says. There are times I regret my decisions, but that is ok! A little price.. :-)

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  10. Sounds like you've found your career niche. It makes work easier when you're around people who you enjoy being with. Enjoyed reading your first A to Z Challenge post!

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    1. Thank you so much! Hope to see more of you here!

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  11. Sounds like you found your niche! Changing careers was the best thing I ever did too, but for very different reasons.

    Good luck with the rest of the A-Z Challenge.

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    1. Would love to know your story too Kirsten!

      And thanks much for dropping by.:-)

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  12. Very interesting, Naina. I agree with your list - I worked in advertising for a couple of years and that helped me transition into sales and marketing.

    :-) Nice to meet you!

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    1. That's a very decent transition Vidya! Do tell me sometime about it.

      And, yes very mice to meet you! Good luck with the challenge!

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  13. Sounds very exciting and enjoyable!

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    1. It has its moments Roshni! :-)
      Thanks for dropping by!

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  14. An eye opener for me - about Advertising that is. And as I am also on the brink of a career change, your success from CA to Advertising gives me encouragement. Thank you.

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    1. Its a long road to success Suzy. I have just started. Its just the everyday moments that are nice. For now atleast.

      And what change you are looking at??

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  15. LOL. When I was young I knew I had to go into writing, teaching, or advertising. Surprisingly I went into the first two, but I've always wondered what that third career option would look like. Thanks for the glimpse!

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    1. Yes Crystal! That's how it would have looked like! :-)

      Thanks for dropping by!

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  16. I've worked in the advertising field as well, and it is one of the most exciting a creative jobs I've ever had. Great read!

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    1. Thanks Luana and thanks for dropping by!

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  17. Interesting... advertising was my first career choice which unfortunately I could never pursue :(

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    1. Thanks! Thats ok! Then you must be having some other exciting experience to share. :-)

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  18. interesting insights.

    I would love to know more about it Naina, like what made you to take up advertising, how did you prepare yourself and how you convinced the interviewers. :)

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    1. Well,in that case I guess we are meeting on 14th Indibloggers meet. See you then! :-)

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  19. What a coincidence ! I did my CWA , but always wanted to go into advertising although I lacked the courage to change fields :) Way to go girl !:)

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    1. Oh you did CWA? Good. And wanted to get into advertising? Coincidence Sridevi!
      Thanks for dropping by. It is so nice to meet you. :-)

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  20. Advertising sounds completely mental, I do hope you continue to enjoy it. :)

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    1. Madness it is Natasha. :-)
      Thanks for dropping by!

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  21. Thanks for giving us a sneak peek into a CA's early life :)

    Look forward to the rest of your challenge posts!
    Damyanti @Daily(w)rite
    Co-host, A to Z Challenge 2013

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge

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    1. Hey, thanks for dropping by Damyanti! I am looking forward to the fun and excitement myself!

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  22. Interesting. Good luck with the rest of the challenge.

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  23. A place for creative expression ..loved reading your post on advertising field Naina.

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    1. So glad you liked it Sharmila! Thanks for dropping by. :-)

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  24. An honest view of what you think about Advertising. Enjoyed this post.

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