Lemons - or Lemonade
Lemons - or Lemonade
What seems like a very long time ago, I walked into a small local advertising agency and asked if they were hiring. There was no job opening — so they created one! And the agency became home for the next 11 years.
I learned more in those bustling rooms than I could have imagined when I opened the door that first day. Having left the big NY agencies, the partners brought their own blend of remarkable savvy. But it was the kindness they brought that shone just as much. Yes, the creativity that bubbled over made believers out of some very big clients. But along with clever taglines and spot-on campaigns bloomed the culture of taking great care, not only of the client but of each person who helped make those campaigns happen.
Long before inside-joke agency pictures became Facebook postings, we had our own odd assortment of the sweet and strange. There was an authentic Wurlitzer jukebox near the reception desk, and an ironic Garfield fish tank residing next to agency awards. To mark a milestone agency anniversary, we hopped in a limo to celebrate —at a famed NYC drag show qualifies. We worked hard and fun was always part of the equation.
A nester by nature, I can’t say layoffs could ever be my ticket to ride but leave the nest I did. Leaving what we know to try things we don’t is seldom an easy fit but as we all know, even when multi-tasking is the norm, lift-off is more difficult when it’s unexpected. Still, at one time or another, almost everyone has been dropped on their head, in that proverbial lake and been forced to sink or swim.
Mostly, we swim. One day, we wake up to see the doors that actually DID open after that other one slammed behind us. We pack our knapsack chock full of experience, hope and sometimes just plain grit, and head off in a new direction – or maybe just a better version of the previous one. If we’re lucky, we’re changed for the better and the new door is wide open to us.
In the years since I ‘grew up’ and out of that first creative nest, I’ve honed my crafts, won my share of creative awards, worked at other agencies — and started my own. I expanded my capabilities beyond my expectations and partnered with my husband in our own advertising/public relations agency. His death brings me back to where I started, as a solo creative, but now with oh, so much more than I began with.
Much of what I do today, much of how I THINK today, began at that first agency address. I ran into one of the partners recently, happy to discover he's settled into the fully realized traditional artist he always wanted to be; not just captain of the creative agency boat. I was even happier to finally have a chance to thank him.
That little agency that could – did. They took a chance on me, showed me that business could be done with excellence – as well as fun, wonder and respect. They steeped me in guidance, showered belief that I was more and better than I believed myself to be. I’m sure there are many companies who bloom with the same values and legacy. I was just lucky enough to get my start in one of them.
Has your career been more lemon – or lemonade?