‘Tis the season of office holiday parties and celebrating the season with your work family. Last weekend, I attended my first annual holiday party with my new department.
But I have to be honest. After the party, I ran back to my car and cried.
I know. This makes me sound like a total puss — and I could totally cop out and blame it on the fact that it was getting close to that time of the month. But because I’ve always promised to be completely transparent in my writing, I have to confess that I was completely horrified at this party.
Before you think that I work with complete monsters, let me just say that this group of people are wonderful. They’re so freaking nice, and for that, I consider myself very lucky…but I don’t think that I fit in with them. I feel like a chicken in a sea of flamingos.
Reflecting on my first few months in his role, I think that I’m starting to understand why I feel so out of place: this is corporate marketing.
I come from an agency background so it’s been a painful transition for me.
If you are unfamiliar, here’s a quick vocabulary lesson about the differences in the marketing industry:
There are two types of marketing environments — corporate marketing (client side), and agency marketing (agency side).
Client marketing is pretty self-explanatory; you work in the marketing department for one client. Typically things happen more slowly and small teams operate in a siloed, independent fashion with each member focusing on their specific areas of expertise.
The environment parallels with the traditional cubicle-style office where everyone is heads-down in their work. Because of this, the pace and workload are often much more stable and predictable — generally speaking. Although things operate smoothly and provide longevity and stability, it can sometimes lack variety.
On the other side of the coin, is agency marketing where you are juggling many different clients and their individual marketing needs. Often, those who work in this area work at a much faster pace (speed with purpose as my agency calls it), as you are focusing on many different priorities, often at once. This usually means slightly longer hours if you’ve got a full plate or millions of emails from your demanding clients.
As you can imagine, because of its busy nature, it’s far less predictable than the corporate side. What makes agencies different, however, is that the environment is often very casual, collaborative, and emphasizes teamwork. It’s also very common to welcome pets in the office, couches for lounging, and music playing throughout the office (and maybe even the occasional foosball table).
I talk a little more about my agency experience here.
So why is this important? Because this is where things get a little twisty.
I made the switch from the agency side to the corporate side this fall, in hopes that I would enjoy focusing on a single brand I love. I thrived in the agency environment and actually found joy in the chaos — I loved being busy and having many things to do to fill my day. But at the time, I wanted to dig deeper to see if I could find a specific niche that I excelled in (silly Millennial). So, here I am.
I had always been told that the two sides of marketing were very different, but how the hell was I supposed to know? Immediately after college, I took the plunge into agency life, naive to what the other side was like.
So I came to my new role with big shoes to fill — unrealistic expectations if you will. And between you and I, I’m completely crumbling under the realization that I’m on a completely different marketing planet. And the party was my breaking point…
That was a mouthful, wasn’t it? Let’s pause for a moment.
Stay with me as I continue unraveling my twisty carol in Part II. Pay me a visit tomorrow where I’ll be sharing the next part of the story with you.
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