A few months back, I started a brand new Twitter account for myself, and I decided to call myself “real life mad man” (I have since shortened my handle to RLMadMan). The idea came to me when a friend asked if my office and the goings-on were anything like what Mad Men shows. “Well, not exactly,” I said. I thought I would try to create a Twitter account comparing my daily experiences with those of say, Don Draper. As I have discussed before, this modus operandi was not ideal for the Twitter world.
Now, however, seems like an okay time to revisit the idea. What are some things we do everyday that I’m sure would just make for a riveting television show?
1. We look through publications when we get them to make sure our placed ads ran properly and to see if there are stories of import
2. We explain to new contacts that actually invoices need to come to us, not to the client, and that yes, that is the client’s address but our company name
3. We take calls from companies that have now been trained to make us think they are our friends. ‘Heyyyy is so and so there?” “Um, who are you? “Oh, I’m George and I’m from SellYourSoul.com.” “Yeah, um…the president of our agency actually JUST got eaten by a pack of dogs. Sorry.”
4. We file. Oh the filing. We file magazines. We file job jackets. We file invoices. We file tear sheets. We file our nails. So much filing.
5. We sort mail and wonder why someone who left us 15 years ago is still in someone’s database.
6. We analyze BPA statements to compare key publications.
7. We monitor publication news
8. We monitor technology news
Not exactly made for TV, but…
These things may all sound very tedious, but let me tell you something about the life of a real life “Mad Man.” It is all of the little things that will make or break you. Yes, we write copy. Yes, we design ads. Yes, we take photos and make cool websites. Our difference is in the little things that illustrate our commitment throughout the entirety of a project. Our difference is our complete commitment to serve our clients’ needs in every way possible, glamorous or not. The little, boring, not good for TV things that we do, like making sure we have authorization from our clients before we order anything on their behalf, that’s our bread and butter.
My mom used to go nuts when my brother and I were kids. She’d spend a whole day cleaning the house, and inevitably, the family would be hard-pressed to notice. “I make things disappear,” she’d say. Where there was a mess, she took it away. Where there was a pile of stuff, there was now blank table space. Similarly, the little things we do make problems disappear for clients (hopefully). We rush in and strive to solve problems or, more often, we aim to prevent problems before they even think about starting.
Are you a “real life” something or other? What little things do you do that make you valuable? What bad for TV specialties do you illustrate as often as possible? Hang on to them, whatever you do. They may not be exciting. They may not be glamorous. However, they could easily represent the factors that make you memorable and unique. No matter how mundane some of your tasks might be, if they are for a greater good, hang on tight. It’s not made for TV, but it is made for Real Life.