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Day in the Life of an advertising director: “Instead of one boss, I’m dealing with 10…”

Glam and glitz. Oh yes, when you work in an advertising agency, there is glam and glitz and in-your-face stuff. But there are also always long hours and there is also sometimes an ultra-demanding clientele and those are hardly ever highlighted.

But for this advertising director, his job would be nothing without both sides of the advertising coin.

When, years ago, he was still in Form Four at Fatima College and had to pick subjects; advertising was the furthest thing from his mind. His dad was a civil engineer and the subjects he picked were very much in line with that career path.

Photo: An advertising department meeting.
(Courtesy iStock)

But it did not take long for him to discover that physics and add maths were not his cup of tea; by the end of the second term, his school report told him so in no uncertain terms. So he went in search of other options, and business subjects caught his eye.

As a “self-diagnosed ADD sufferer,” he is “easily distracted” and so the monotony of accounting environment turned him off after less than one year although he did stay in the position for all of 12 months.

At university, he opted to pursue marketing and advertising and, three out of the four times he came home from university abroad, he was fortunate to secure internships with the agency to which he is currently attached.

Before he returned home for good, he had a two-year stint with a newspaper in Atlanta. And before he settled down where he is today, he enjoyed another two more years at another agency. But, having worked with his present agency before, he knew his skillset meshed well with those with whom he would be working and he thought—correctly as it turs out—that he would be at home there.

Not surprisingly, he has moved steadily up the ladder and now occupies a seat as a member of the Board of Directors. Does that mean that he has found his calling and for him the sky is the limit?

“There was no reason for me to be here,” he says with a shrug, “other than that I liked it.”

Wired868 reveals what makes our advertising director tick:

Photo: An advertising graphic.

How long have you worked at this agency?

From 1995 to now, let’s see, 20 years.

What are your core duties? 

I guess most of my days are spent as a gloried AE (Accounts Executive), which is handling accounts, client accounts. I also deal with HR and some other functions of the business. So my core responsibilities are AE and new business; most of it is accounts service.

Is this an 8-to-4 job?

It comes and goes…It’s definitely not an 8-to-4 job. I come to work early, not because I’m bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I have to drop kids to school at half past seven so I am here half past seven to leave 6pm, 6.30.

What are the things you generally need to do between the time you get up and the time you leave for work?

To be honest, I don’t … not that I’m not a dad but my wife does [most of the morning chores]; she is very organised, organised to a tee …  Everything runs pretty clockwork, I mean, I have chores but I don’t have to worry too much and the kids are older now anyway. I don’t come to work very stressed, no.

Does your job generally allow you time for a proper lunch?

Lunch is organised; we don’t have to leave to go anywhere. It’s not an hour off per se; we just eat and come back and sometimes that takes two hours, depending on what you’re doing.

Photo: A clever advertisement for a fitness centre.

If I asked you for a single adjective to describe your job, what would that be?

It’s definitely challenging and it’s definitely exciting. Um, the good thing is this: if I worked for any one of my clients, all I would be doing is their work and that to me would get kind of boring. When I come to work, the phone is going to ring and it could be an ad cancellation or an ad change. One client could be happy, one could be angry; it’s a constant juggle.

It’s fun that it’s always different, whether it’s telecommunications or cars or insurance. You get to play with a little bit of everything and learn a little bit about everything. You get to deal with… instead of one boss, I’m dealing with 10 bosses and they all have different personalities. Marketing managers change. When these new marketing managers come on board on any of these accounts, I have to prove myself, ourselves.

It’s always new, it’s always different. Even when it is the same account, it doesn’t get old.

Do you allow the office to get in the way of your family life or are you able to keep the two in separate compartments?

I would say, yes. I’m sure if you probably ask my wife, she would say it could tilt a little bit more the other way. My daughter jumps out from the door whatever time I reach home and says, “Hi, Daddy.” And that’s a good start.

I don’t have de-stressing hobbies during the week and I don’t have them on the weekend so I’m pretty involved on the weekend and on the night I’m there. I don’t miss concerts and I don’t miss football games …

I think I’m there and we do an okay job with but it probably could balance a little more towards home… I enjoy doing [my job] but it’s not exactly saving the earth.

Photo: A satirical take on advertising.
(Copyright Mark Anderson)

If you had to do it all again, would you choose the same career path or would you want to change things? Why?

Um, I think so, I don’t know. If I had a choice, I’d probably pick something that maybe was a lil more 8-to-4. But, having said that, when you wake up in the morning to go to work, if you like going to your job, then you’re halfway there. That’s half the battle.

I would say I love my job nine months a year and the other three I could get by. You know, I’ll take that… that’s good enough. If that means yeah I’ll do it all again, then, yeah, I’ll do it all again.

About Crystal Guerra

Crystal Guerra
Crystal Guerra is in the final year of a Mass Communication degree at COSTAATT, where she is a part-time student. She works full-time with the Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago and also chairs the Credit Committee of a credit union but still ensures that she makes time for family and faith. Her interests include journalism, children’s rights, history and theology and she is also passionate about research.

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  1. What about A Day in the Life Of a TTFA President? Or Executive?